"A Breath of Fresh Air"Log Home Living, March 2011
Living and working in Connecticut, the couple cherished refreshing jaunts up the New England coast. They decided to try to find a place there to call their own. "We took roughly a year to locate the property," says Glen.
Kate had driven by a lot in Woolwich, 40 minutes northeast of Portland, but didn’t have time to stop. A few weeks later, she and Glen visited Maine again, and she suggested they take a look at the property. The couple arrived at the heavily wooded lot just before dark to find it covered by snow. "The view of the lot from the road wasn’t important," Kate recalls. "It was the view of the tidal river at the rear of the lot that we were anxious to see. So we put on our boots and trudged through the snow. When we finally made it to the river’s edge, we were bedazzled by one of the most beautiful sunsets we had ever seen."
Unknown to Kate, Glen had picked up an engagement ring right before they left and brought it along, just in case the opportunity to propose presented itself. "When I sensed that she loved the property as much as me, I pulled out the ring and asked Kate to marry me," Glen says. "The next day we put down a deposit on the land, and we were on our way towards creating our dream home."
The idea of building with logs originated with Glen, who fell in love with a log home while visiting friends. He showed pictures to Kate, who had never considered a log home but was drawn to its warmth and coziness. "At the end of the day, that was what sold Kate on a log home," Glen says, "the warm, natural beauty of all the exposed wood."
Their search for a log company took them all the way to Idaho. They liked the milled logs offered by PrecisionCraft Log and Timber Homes, but what ultimately sold them was the company’s in-house architectural team. "We had a vague vision of the home that we would build," Kate recalls. "We wanted something unpretentious, inviting, warm, comfortable for adults, children and pets. Spacious enough to have many guests but cozy enough for just the two of us." They also hoping to blend the home into the landscape of sunset views over Nequassat Stream and the tidal waters of Hanson Bay, which borders their property.
PrecisionCraft’s architect helped firm up their ideas. "We designed this home from the inside out," says Kate. "We puzzled out the room layout, tweaking and tweaking until it felt just right for our lifestyle." The result is an open, spacious flow of foyer, living room, dining and kitchen areas, which are flanked by the master suite on one end of the house and the guest rooms on the opposite end.
"Natural wood is prominent throughout the home," says Steve Hooper, the couple’s builder. "The main structure is 5,600 square feet, built of western red cedar logs with Douglas fir framing timbers, some of them as great 28 inches in diameter and 34 feet long." The fir timbers provide support for a vaulted western red cedar ceiling, 28 feet tall. The interior smells like a cedar chest.
The house features hand-scraped hickory flooring and Honduran mahogany trim throughout. The interior doors are solid mahogany with hand-carved nameplates. A highlight of the home is the 5-foot-wide, 7-foot-tall, hand-carved front door, inspired by the homeowner’s love of butterflies. Hooper’s brother, Dan, crafted the cabinetry for the home out of oak, maple, mahogany and rosewood. The couple decided to let the exterior log surfaces age naturally and fade to a soft silver patina, typical of the cedar-shingled homes in the coastal area.
The home also showcases abundant natural stonework: four fireplaces, stone veneer on the foundation, a flagstone patio complete with fire pit and outdoor grilling station, and a covered entry portico with stone pillars. Natural fieldstone flows from the entry portico into the home’s foyer. Marble, granite and travertine stone tiles grace hallway and bathroom floors, backsplashes and custom bathroom showers.
A screened porch, accessed through the great room, opens onto the patio area, which stretches along the entire rear of the home and is oriented towards the tidal waters. Theses outdoor living spaces are where the couple enjoys unwinding. "We both have very busy schedules with our careers," Glen explains. "It is such a joy to be here in this peaceful, quiet place, and we find ourselves relaxing within minutes of arriving here."
Preparing meals for family and friends is another way Kate relaxes. "The kitchen design started with an aubergine Aga stove that I knew I wanted," she says. "The Aga requires time and attention, allowing the cook to slow down and savor the creative process of preparing a meal."
The couple measured and laid out several rooms and living spaces to accommodate furnishings they chose early in the design stage. They also interjected color into their interior spaces with a bold use of deep warm paints on some of the non-log walls: rich indigo in the dining area and maroon for the master bedroom and bath.
As many second-home owners do, Glen and Kate named their getaway: "Anam Cara." According to an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition, when two people are open, appreciative and trusting of another, their souls flow together. This deeply felt bond with another person means you found your "anam cara," or soul mate, and have arrived at the most sacred place of all: home.
After Anam Cara was completed in December 2008, a small regional publication featured an article on the home. It no sooner hit the newsstand than builder Steve Hooper received a call from L.L. Bean, located in neighboring Freeport, asking if he thought homeowners would make their home available for a catalog photo shoot. The couple agreed, and a crew of 30 people appeared with truckloads of L.L. Bean products. "It was a major production and very interesting," explains Glen. "But I was mainly there to make sure our home survived the experience."
Glen and Kate spend most of their vacation time at their getaway. Since each season in Maine offers its own special natural beauty, they try to spend at least one week there each season. "Maine," Kate notes, "is literally and figuratively a breath of fresh air."