Cabin Fever Cured by Mountain Log Home
By Claudia Johnson,
©Log Home Living Magazine
There are two kinds of cabin fever, and Gayle and Evan Peterson had the good kind – the kind that whispers a memory and teases of the future. A fever that starts low-grade, intensifying to the point that owning a log cabin is the only cure.
“Growing up, my family spent summers in a log cabin on a lake in New Jersey,” Evan recalled. “There were many fond memories of our summers in the cabin. Three boys sleeping in one bedroom can be entertaining if not restful.”
After marriage, Gayle and Evan, who had been sweethearts through high school and college, were drawn to lake weekend escapes with their own boys, boating and swimming just as Evan had done as a child. Some 40 years later as the couple contemplated retirement, cabin fever began to rage.
“Gayle had a magazine about log homes and suggested ‘that might be different and cool,’” Evan said. “In an instant the memories of the lake house came rushing back! What a great idea, but we knew nothing about building a log home!”
During their careers they had built four custom homes and were living in the last one in Texas with a second home in Florida. However, both homes were too far from their two sons – now grown with families of their own and living in the East.
“After a great deal of research, we flew to North Carolina to look at property and met a couple who would become our guides and our confidants for the next three years,” Evan said, referring to Honest Abe Log Homes Independent Dealers Darlene and Rodger Dawson, owners of Bear’s Den Log Homes.
That weekend they bought land at Grandview Peaks near Nebo, N.C., almost 1,400 miles from their home.
“Soon Gayle and Darlene started designing the cabin,” Evan said, laughing at the word “cabin” and remembering that over the two years spent developing a final plan, the house “grew, then shrunk, then grew again.”
Manufactured by Honest Abe Log Homes in Moss, Tennessee, the resulting 3,250 square foot “cabin” is a custom designed, three-bedroom D-log home with a heart-stopping view from any of the 18 windows that face the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“We sit on our deck in the morning having our coffee and watching the sun rise in the east,” Gayle said. “In the evenings we sit around our fire pit with a glass of wine – or two – and think how relaxing and quiet it is in the mountains.”
Evan and Gayle agree that the cabin has become far more than a retirement home. With their boat moored nearby, they re-create for their grandchildren some of the memories that stoked their fervor – and fever – for a cabin.
“It is a beautiful retreat,” she said. “The cabin has become so much of what we do and who we are. Every day is a vacation in a wonderful place. Living in nature is good for the heart and the soul.
The Peterson home was featured in Log Home Living’s March 2018 issue.
The Peterson home was featured in Log Home Living‘s March 2018 issue.
The Petersons split their time between Florida and North Carolina.
Floor Plan Design: Gayle Peterson, homeowner
Plan Drafting: Melissa Copas, Honest Abe Log Homes Design Department, Moss, Tennessee
Log Package Manufacturer: Honest Abe Log Homes, Moss, Tennessee
Sales & Project Consulting: Darlene and Rodger Dawson, Bear’s Den Log Homes, Honest Abe Independent Dealers in North Carolina
Custom Furniture Pieces: Chip Gerber of Steel Forest Furniture
Location of Home: Grandview Peaks Development, Nebo, North Carolina
Landscaping: Gary Gibson of Grandview Landscape
Builder: Carolina Builders Services, Inc., Franklin, North Carolina
A porch balustrade woven with mountain laurel under a heavy timber gabled pediment supported by 6”x6” posts on stone pylons invites visitors through the handmade doors of the Evan and Gayle Peterson log home in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Manufactured by Honest Abe Log Homes, the 3,250-square-foot custom home’s 8”x10” dovetailed D-logs are finished with Perma-Chink’s Ultra2 835 in Sequoia.
Luscious views of the Blue Ridge Mountains are savored by the Petersons in the home’s rear, which was designed for relaxation on three levels – a 210-square-foot upper deck spanning the main floor, a lower deck off the stucco-finished basement and gravel patio with a fire pit.
Perched on a mountain slope, the gravel patio is enhanced by a central stone fire pit and stabilized with a pressure treated retaining wall. Metal furniture was designed and crafted by Gayle’s brother, Chip Gerber of Steel Forest Furniture.
Spanning the main floor’s mountain-facing side is a 210-square-foot open deck that becomes a covered porch on one end and a screened-in sitting room off the other. Darlene Dawson, owner of Bear’s Den Log Homes, who sold the Petersons their home package and continued consulting throughout construction, says she recommends Anderson 400 double awning windows, which create an unobstructed view while providing ventilation with protection from rain when open.
Capturing views of mountain vistas and flooding great room with light, windows stretch from the vaulted ceiling to the hardwood floors. Flanked by the master bedroom suite and the kitchen and dining area, the great room offers access to a wide, open loft. To compliment the log interior the Petersons chose drywall painted with a custom-mixed light gray paint for all non-wood wall surfaces throughout the house. To capture a rustic feel, the couple requested that the staircase posts and trusses remain rough with only a light sanding applied. Another custom metal piece by Chip Gerber of Steel Forest Furniture, an originally designed table is positioned comfortably before a great room fireplace of cultured stone and warmed by a gas insert. Patio doors open into a screened porch. Wooden double entrance doors where custom crafted by the Petersons’ contractor, Carolina Builders. When opened from inside, the speakeasy ports provide visual access to the front porch with the iron grates lending security. Created by metal artist, Chip Gerber of Steel Forest Furniture, the foyer table holds a piece of hand-thrown North Carolina pottery. Even Peterson’s loft office was designed for maximum use of a small space. A baseboard window adds light and peeps through the front porch gable, while low bookshelves take advantage of knee walls in the loft. Gayle scoured regional antique shops, estate sales and festivals to find pieces for retrofitting. In the powder room is a vintage wire egg bucket she and Evan converted to a light fixture. A Victorian washstand was upcycled into a counter when a hammered copper sink, a gift from their log home dealer, Darlene Dawson, was installed.
The Master Suite
The master suite includes a full bathroom and a walk in closet separated by a handmade, space-saving sliding door. Honest Abe dealer Darlene Dawson says she advises using windows positioned near the ceiling in bedrooms to leave furniture placement options flexible. Evan and Gayle can unwind on a screen porch entered from the master bedroom through custom French doors or from the open deck that overlooks the Carolina mountains. Master bathroom’s gray-painted cabinets are topped by an accenting granite countertop with twin sinks. The 12” multicolored square slate tiles on the floor carry through to the walk-in shower.
Gayle’s choice simple gray-painted custom cabinets create a striking contrast to the natural log walls and wood ceiling. Additional storage is provided by a separate walk-in pantry. The center island seats six and has ample room for food prep on the 1/4” cold rolled steel countertop that matches the stove hood, both handmade by Gayle’s brother, Chip Gerber of Steel Forest Furniture. A breezeway off the kitchen connects to a 672-square-foot garage. The laundry room maximizes space with over-appliance cabinets, a clothes rod and a special area for dog feeding.
Basement Guest Quarters
A finished basement was carefully planned to accommodate visits from the Petersons’ sons and their families. There are two bedrooms, a full bath and a roomy common area for family activities that opens onto a ground-level deck overlooking a gravel patio and fire pit. A workshop and the home’s mechanical room are also tucked into the basement.