Country's Best Log Homes
The perfect building lot in New England can be a rare find. Established communities, especially near ski areas, offer very few opportunities for new building.
Larry and Amy Sinsimer’s love of the outdoors, and especially skiing, often took them to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where they bought a condo for weekend getaways. As their children grew, it seemed as though the condo began to shrink and the urge to move to a larger home was mounting. Their dream was to build a log home closer to the ski hills. They turned to Keith Farrar of Lobo Construction, who was in the process of building a log home near their area of interest.
Farrar had experience building in the area and knew that mountain lots were few and far between. However, the Sinsimer’s were lucky enough to come across an older mountain home for sale that was on a double lot. Before long, the Sinsimers owned the home and the bonus land, where they planned to build a new log home.
The older home had multiple uses: The Sinsimers bunked there on weekend skiing trips during construction; the building crew bunked there during the week (helping to keep down mileage and lodging costs); and the garage was used to store the logs, windows, doors and equipment for the new home.
The Sinsimers re-surveyed the entire lot, created two pieces of property, and eventually sold the older home.
The remaining one-third acre proved to be a building challenge, as many mountain sites are. Farrar, also a dealer for Rocky Mountain Log Homes, tailored the Rocky Mountain Manchester plan to create a chalet-style home that offers great family space, comfortable amenities, and the essence of a ski lodge.
One of the biggest challenges was to site the home to create good drainage down the hillside and provide views from the first floor — with the older home located to the side of
the new lot.
Building up the foundation, moving boulders, and backfilling was a test of Farrar’s engineering skills. “We had to shoehorn the home into the space to adhere to setbacks requirements,” says Farrar. “We also created a swale along the driveway to slow down and divert the potential runoff. The neighbors paid close attention to our development and were unsure about what us newcomers were up to.”
The results were even better than predicted. “The neighbors are very pleased with the way the log home fits in its environment and on the lot,” says Farrar. “Working in an established neighborhood can be tricky, but can also be rewarding.”
The home itself is built of dead standing Western white wood, a standard for Rocky Mountain Log Homes. The logs have been killed by bugs, fire or disease, and work very well for log homes. The damage to the outer layer of the tree is completely eliminated after being milled down to the heartwood. The trees have stood for many years and have dried into a very stable wood, eliminating shrinkage and warping.
The home is topped with a traditional green metal roof that boasts an R-40 energy rating and handles the New England winter snows and spring rains. “This part of New England is considered a temperate rain forest, which means dense vegetation and increased precipitation,” says Farrar. “This roof is perfect for this environment and the deep overhangs help to protect the log walls and the deck.”
The deck surrounds three sides of the home and is accessed through doors on each side. The driveway encircles the home making the loading and unloading of skis and equipment a breeze. A garage was built after the home was complete and is tucked into the hillside; the back wall is underground and the loft can be accessed from ground level for easy access to storage.
The Manchester model includes a sizeable great room that combines the living, dining and kitchen into one large connected area. Amy was instrumental in making sure each area was functional and comfortable. Her choice of colors, materials, furniture and even rugs visually tied the rooms together for timeless resort feel.
“We really love the open concept and have now found other homes to feel boxed in and remote,” says Amy. “The great room seems to keep us in touch with each other and what is going on. With people coming and going, the open concept makes it easy to keep on top of the action.”
Other unique features of this log home include the open full scribe stairway that leads to the loft and master suite, an arched doorway in the foyer, and a tongue-and-groove ceiling that gives the home its rustic character.
“We really love the home and plan on living here full time in the near future,” says Amy. “The relaxed feeling you get as soon as you walk in the in the door is priceless. We wouldn’t change a thing.”