Log Home Living - May 2008
Midwestern and Tuscan styles are about as far apart
aesthetically as, well, Iowa and Italy. But Greg and Melanie
Hicklin had a vision - or rather, dueling visions. "My
exposure to log cabins come from fishing in Canada, so I had
something rustic in mind," says Greg. But Melanie had other
plans for the couple's getaway home, a short drive from their lives
in Des Moines. She has thinking of Tuscany, and figured an
Italian country look could indeed work in a log home.
Some designers might have scoffed at the unlikely fusion of
styles, but country living in the great Midwestern plains and the
Italian countryside is founded on the same rural values of
practicality, comfort, casual style and a reserved but genuine
To that end, the Hicklins' log home brims with practical choices
starting with its relatively modest size: only 2,200 square
feet. It includes low-maintenance touches like laminate
flooring and almost no window treatments (in other words, no drapes
or curtains to catch dust).
But practical doesn't mean plain. Walls of windows give
the Hicklins' house a bright and airy feel, helped along by a light
rose-tinted stain on the logs and wood finishes.
Melanie, along with decorator Cheryl Wasson of Accents and
Interiors in Urbandale, Iowa, filled the house with exuberant
splashes of color. A rich red wall catches the eye in the
great room, and tropical-hued cushions give the wicker furniture in
the sunroom a festive air.
To bring their Midwest-meets-Tuscany vision to life, the
Hicklins relied on a personal connection: Laurie Pooch, a
former co-worker of Melanie's, owns Cabin Fever Construction LLC
(the central Iowa representatives for Expedition Log Homes) with
her husband, Doug.
The Hicklins were drawn to the flexibility of a half-log home
(Expedition's specialty), as well as the handcrafted look of the
company's logs. "We actually take a draw knife and put the finish
on every log," says Jan Koepsell, on of Expedition's owners.
"You decided all the textures you want," Melanie adds, "and each
log is unique." The Hicklins worked with Expedition and the
Poochs' on a custom design that expanded the master bedroom by
shrinking the front porch. The log package included 8-inch
pine logs with butt-and-pass corners.
Doug Pooch, who has been in the log-home business since 1991,
says one of the keys to the house's feel was placing it properly on
the lot. "It was a challenge," he remembers, "to get the
house positioned just right on the hillside in order to take
advantage of the views and have a walkout lower level."
The home pleases the Hicklins so much that they make the short
trip from Des Moines as often as possible, sometimes even staying
for a night in the middle of the week. Clearly, a little
touch of rural Italy in the Iowa countryside gets into your
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