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"A Log Home, But Not a Lodge"

Country's Best Log Homes, Buyer's Guide 2010


Custom Log Home in ColoradoArchitect Matt Franklin knew a conventional square or rectangular home wouldn't give Michael and Becky Poisson what they wanted. The retired couple had asked him to design a home that "brought the outdoors in." A box shape with living areas around the perimeters wouldn't integrate the outdoors with the interior spaces.


So Matt, lead architect with M.T.N Design, the design arm of PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes, chose a different angle. "Instead, we stretched the house into a U-shape with a courtyard so that al major rooms visually connect to the exterior on two or three sides, with fantastic views from multiple directions," he explains.


The Poissons' second request was that the home be "log, but not lodge." So on the outside, the home evokes Frank Lloyd Wright. A shed roofline rises to more than 14 feet along the 36-square-foot courtyard formed by bedroom wings on two sides and the connecting entry hall in the middle. Guests in the courtyard can see through the foyer and great room to a breathtaking panorama of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado.


The architect started with PrecisionCraft's Hermosa Vista model, which has a Southwest feel and formed the basis for the greatly altered, customized design. "This was not the most cost-efficient way to design, but it is the best design to relate to the outdoors," Matt says. "We tried to keep the form of the house clean and simple with a Southwest flair that uses a lot of courtyard space."


Dining Room with Nana WallInside, the Poissons have included a combination of new and old furniture pieces that range from formal to rustic to reflect their travels and their individual personalities. The kitchen, Becky's favorite place and where Michael indulges his love of cooking, features grape-stained cabinets that compliment the mauve faux-stucco walls and pink tones of the concrete, apron-front sink. The island, where "cook's helpers" sit on tractor seats, was built with reclaimed barn boards.


The kitchen's rustic feel contrasts, but does not clash, with the formal elements in the dining area, including a classic woven silk rug from India, a substantial 18th-century oak table that seats 12 and a chandelier of hand-blown glass made in Hawaii.


The main level includes master and mother-in-law bedroom suites - Becky's mother lives with the couple - and a step-down great room. A lower-level walkout houses Becky's 1,200-square-foot quilting studio, a guest bedroom and a media room.


All of this multi-styled approach is found inside a log structure. The package of 10-inch-diameter, D-shaped cedar logs was provided by PrecisionCraft and built by Mark Stamper Construction. To tone down the overwhelming look and feel of wood throughout and to create a more contemporary appearance, the Poissons added framed, rectangular columns with a stucco look. The architect agreed with the approach. "Log is versatile, and this design shows you can mix it with other materials so that the logs are a part of the home and not the only element you look at," Matt says.


Southwest KitchenThe great room features unusual, accordion - style, NanaWall glass doors that open to the deck for an unobstructed view. A freestanding, two-sided fireplace went through four rebuilds before the homeowner and builder found a size that wouldn't overpower the room. It divides the sitting and dining areas. The fireplace pays homage to Michael's passion for fly fishing and to the couple's last name: Poisson is the French word for fish. So the tile is a design by interior designer Jan Neiges that features a fossil fish.


"The home is extremely eclectic, a showcase for the Poissons' diverse interests," the designer says. "We even designed nooks and niches to highlight their Inuit art and Becky's handmade quilts."


The couple's overall goal for the home was that it be a reflection of them, their values and their tastes, "as well as warm and inviting," says Michael, a longtime Californian before he retired to Colorado. The home mixes what Becky calls "smiley" colors with different textures and materials, from polished concrete floors in the foyer to adobe half-walls with cedar columns in the great room. Artistic touches include an adobe Mountain View mural in the great room and a tiled trout mural that hangs below Michael's collection of olive oils in the kitchen.


"Becky and Michael are very creative," Mark adds. "They let this home morph into a truly custom home."