Mountain Log Home Feature: Family Affair
Three generations — and crew of skilled craftsman — fulfill a couple’s lifelong dream of owning a log home.
By Karen Marley | Photography by Allen Mowery
This house is really a love story. One whose happy ending was fueled by a dedicated work ethic and patience. When Reed and April Henderson married, they found a suitable piece of property for the Pennsylvania mountain log home of their dreams. They even purchased floor plans. Life, however, took over. As entrepreneurs running their own businesses, the newlyweds focused on their careers. Working hard and raising their two boys filled the years, and the dream home never materialized.
When their older son, Tristan, was 17, Reed and April found themselves reminiscing about the plans they had formulated long ago.
“We asked ourselves, ‘Why haven’t we? Why not?’” recalls April.
With new resolve, they dusted off their nostalgic ambitions and, once again, got to work — but this time the dream — and the job at hand — centered around a log home.
At this point, the Hendersons’ lives had changed along with their vision for their home. Local talent, meticulous craftsmanship and traditional rustic style with unique character all topped their must-haves. They chose Timberhaven Log & Timber Homes as their log producer. Timberhaven’s national sales manager, Brad Mercer, won the couple over by prioritizing their wish list and vision for the house to see if he could make it happen.
“With Timberhaven, we never felt like it was about the sale. Plus, we liked the fact that they were a local business,” says Reed.
For two years, the Reed and April poured over details with Brad, attempting to adapt the framework of their original plans to a log home. They added a massive front porch, an expansive great room, an impressive entry, a loft, two offices and an open dining room. By the time construction began, the original layout was obsolete. What remained, however, were the core values of family and hard work, along with a love for traditional rustic decor with distinct pops of personality. This set the stage for the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house that was to come.
Built with Timberhaven’s premium, engineered 6-by-8-inch, tongue-and-groove, D-shaped logs manufactured with a special lamination process, checks and fiber separation are virtually eliminated.
While some may argue that uniformity diminishes a log home’s personality, the Hendersons’ home struts its stuff through an array of special touches.
Hand-peeled 10-to-12-inch white pine roof rafters provide the irresistible charm of full logs. Likewise, hand-peeled loft and stair railings, posts, balusters and half-log treads bring mountain magic on a human scale, where people touch it every day. Character posts, complete with roots, separate the dining and living spaces in the great room creating an indoor forest feeling.
“Our logs are milled with an exacting profile,” Brad says. “The specialty products contrast and complement the engineered logs by injecting the rustic look with distinct and naturalistic features.”
The organic textures and elements continue with a rough-sawn hardwood flooring, granite counters, hinged and sliding barn doors, antler lighting and hunting trophies. Contrast is also provided in the color scheme between the blond-wood D-logs and tree-posts against darker stained beams, railings, flooring and window casings.
For all its rustic decor, the home serves up a rare element in log homes: vibrant color. Jewel-toned maple cabinets, red in the kitchen, green in the dining room, blue in the boys’ bathroom and purple in the master bedroom effectively turn each space into a visual treasure.
“From the very beginning, I wanted color!” April exclaims.
There is another, less-visible element contributing to the home’s heart and soul: its construction. From one end to the other and from concept to completion the Hendersons used local craftspeople — including themselves.
“We wanted an intimate connection to what we built,” explains Reed.
While Timberhaven was milling the logs, the couple brought son Tristan and his younger brother, Elijah, to watch. An Amish gentleman crafted the logs, and Reed often worked alongside him. A trio of local Amish brothers took care of many of the log details. One specialized in building furniture and crafted log tables and beds for the home. Custom cabinetry was also done locally by a friend.
The incredible, hand-cut, fieldstone fireplace and matching stone-wrapped pillars are the work of April’s father, Fred Fortney, a retired stone mason. April and Reed laughingly say they pulled him out of retirement, but Fred wasn’t about to be in this alone — he turned around and did the same to his old work crew. It was a labor of love. Tristan served the crew as an apprentice. Elijah, for his part, helped clean the work site regularly.
Completed in June 2017, the home delivered everything the Hendersons had been planning and hoping for after decades of waiting. And now, the family’s dream home is a place where they are finally living the life they’d always envisioned.
This Mountain Log Home article – Family Affair – is reprinted with permission from Log & Timber Home Living magazine.