Log Cabin Dreams
Learn what Mark Davis found out after researching log cabins.
- By Robin Oliver
Filed under: Nautical Theme, Design Style, Home Types, Vacation Homes, Wood, Decorating Theme
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The living room of Mark Davis' log cabin is decorated in a nautical theme with sailboats and a stained-glass lighthouse that his mother gave him for a gift. He chose the nautical decor out of nostalgia for his time in the U.S. Navy.
A laptop sits in the living room of a Columbiana, Ala., home, scrolling pictures of magnificent views in such distant places as Russia, Lithuania, Ethiopia and the Ukraine.
Mark, the owner of the laptop and an inspection instructor for the nuclear power industry, has been all over the world to see these extraordinary urban landscapes.
But none compare in his mind to the view from the kitchen window of his 1,500-square-foot log cabin on Lay Lake near Birmingham, Ala.
For more than 30 years, Mark has dreamed of having a log cabin and five years ago he decided it was time to live the dream.
Planned as a vacation home, Mark and his wife, Ann, spend nearly every weekend at the cabin, which serves as both a peaceful sanctuary and a serious party house. On cool mornings, the couple relaxes with coffee on the upstairs deck. On a lazy afternoon they might enjoy a book in the hammock off the back porch.
After dark on a Saturday night, they might invite some friends and turn up the music for dancing on their cypress wood floor. Guests can take a break on the deck where several two-chair table sets make their home. In case of a major spillover, they might also enjoy refreshments at the plank-style bars under the gazebo.
Mark said he researched log cabins online for six months and discovered dozens of companies offer log cabin kits for sale via the Internet. He made his down payment in 2000 and put delivery on hold while the couple shopped for property.
The spot they found was rough and needed clearing, but the location on an inlet called Paradise Cove was perfect. At the end of the lane, the cabin offers a view of the inlet and, from the upstairs balcony, a view of the lake itself.
The kit, which cost $55,000, arrived on three tractor trailers. Somewhat of a build-by-number, the kits come with each log labeled as to its intended location.
Mark hired a crew to have the cabin pieced together up to the tar paper on the roof. It took three weeks and another $18,000. By the following spring, Mark had his dream.
To achieve the smell of fresh-cut timber, Mark spent hours upon hours sanding rather than sealing the interior side of the kiln dried logs. That was only the beginning of his efforts to customize the home.
The couple altered the design of the loft upstairs, shrinking the bathroom/closet and making the bedroom larger. They also added more windows, including one in the kitchen that Mark cut himself and two octagonal windows accenting the pitched roof.
They extended the second-floor deck off the upstairs bedroom to make it less of an overlook and more of a sitting area. Then they also added a large deck the length of the home on the back, with a walkway to a gazebo by the water and a pier where they park their pontoon boat.
To set off the interior, Mark chose cypress wood flooring and added a wooden staircase that mimics the round-post railing of a pier.
Ann said watching the sunset over the water can bring contentment and resolution to any tough day.
"We plan to retire here in another 10 years or so," Mark said. "We just love being at the cabin. ... It's like my own personal paradise."
The highlights of this project are a new kitchen and a guest house.
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