Independence Day

Log Home Design - July 2007

Laurie and Doug Pooch are no strangers to log homes.  In fact, ever since she could remember, Laurie knew she was destined to own one someday.Ashworth3595

"I would get magazines and drool over how warm and inviting they looked in the photos," she says.  Despite her passion, however, Laurie hesitated.  Concerned about the maintenance and settling, she wasn't sure if she was ready to take the plunge.  "Then I read about half-log construction," she says.

Laurie and Doug learned that half-log homes are conventionally built and insulated, then the exterior is encased in logs that literally are split in half, while the interior walls can be covered in log or other materials, including drywall.  Laurie was intrigued.  To her, this meant she could live her log home dream with the design flexibility she craved but without the maintenance that she was unsure about.

With their zeal for log homes renewed, in 1992, the couple built their first half-log home, a two-story, three-bedroom house in Waukee, Iowa, that was well-suited for their young family.  But with their kids now grown, the couple dreamed of something different, and Laurie set to work sketching plans for a new house that would better fit their newfound empty-nester lifestyle.

That design consisted of a number of essential elements - particularly a master suite, laundry, kitchen, office, sunroom and greatroom all located on the main level; a loft; and two guest bedrooms as well as a family room on the lower level.  They were so satisfied with their first half-log home, there was no question that they would build that way again.  Laurie calls it, "The best of both worlds, because you can use as much log as you want."  This time around, they chose a handcrafted, kiln-dried log package from Oostburg, Wisconsin - based Expedition Log Homes.

"Often, people think of half-log construction as veneers.  That's not what we do," explains Jan Koepsell, owner of Expedition Log Homes.  "We start with a full log, which we debark and then cut in half, keeping the log's heart center because that maintains the integrity and strength of the wood.  The log is completed with a handcrafted finish using a drawknife to showcase its natural characteristics."  The Pooches chose pine logs with a consistent 8-inch stack height.  On the exterior, the corners are 10 inches in diameter and finished in the full-round butt-and-pass style.

Under the auspices of their newly established building company, Cabin Fever Construction, and as dealer representatives for Expedition, the couple broke ground for their new home in 2004 and never looked back.

Ashworth3612A Home With the Works

The Pooches' home is highly energy efficient.  Expedition's log packages meet the Energy Star requirements for Wisconsin, and combining the high thermal mass value of half-logs with R-30 insulated walls (R-40 in the roof) and Pella windows increased the home's efficiency.  Laurie and Doug also chose Energy Star appliances, as well as a geothermal heating-and-cooling system that uses buried lateral loops and a compressor to extract warmth from the earth in winter and coolness in summer.  The result?  Cabin Fever's first certified Energy Star Home.

Not only is Doug and Laurie's home literally warm, the design and décor is snug and inviting, as well.  "Some log homes have very tall ceilings and huge expanses of glass, but this home is open and sunny without going over the top," notes Jan.  "The flow is wonderful, and the home is very relaxing and livable."

But remember, this house was designed with visitors in mind.  It's spacious enough to host 40 comfortably, and the couple enjoys entertaining church and community groups as well as their family.  "Everyone wants to have Thanksgiving and Christmas here," Laurie says.  "This house has a cozy feel, but there's still plenty of room for everyone to stay."

Interested in seeing the Ashworth floor plan?  Click here!

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