Friday, January 17, 2014

The Start of the Little Log House on the Hill

In the beginning it was to be just a simple log house.

Our dream house.

The last one and the first one we would ever build together. Sounds easy, right?

Somehow, someway, our little log house grew. And grew. And changed. And morphed into something a bit bigger than we had planned. Who is to blame?

Let me start over. My name is Sherri. My husband's name is Perry. We live on a farm in central West Virginia that we have named Raven Rock. We've got ravens in the air and lot's of rocks in the ground. The name was easy to come up with.

 In 2009, we were married on a mountain in Pocahontas County called Black Mountain. It was a hot June day and if I wasn't pushing 40 something that year, I would say I was a blushing bride. We had met when I was 12 and he was 13. Or was it 11 and 12? Anyway, we got married and decided immediately that we wanted to build our dream log house.

 "We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout." Don't you just love Johnny Cash? HA!

We looked at many plans but Perry, my "Engineer Husband", was dead set on building a log home he "dreamed up". I was intrigued and thought well....maybe this could be pretty neat.
 It would be a one of a kind design, right?

That was my first mistake. 

Perry said he was going to make one floor "pop" up thru the roof line and be all windows.


In 2010 we attended a log home show in Indianapolis. We talked to several builders and Perry explained what he wanted to do. We had drawn up some plans and several of the log home producers were scratching their heads. It bothered me that my husband was having to explain the building process and the span issues to the people who may be hired to build it for US. 

That should have been my first clue. This house was to be described as a bit....ummm....different.

I actually had some issues trying to envision Perry's dream house. I am more of a visual person and needed some help with Engineer Perry and his little design.

I left for a trip out of state one weekend for my haunted tour company and when I got back, Mr. Engineer Husband had built me a wooden log house and to scale as well! It was like a little doll hosue except I didn't have a Perry or Sherri doll to go inside.

 I did get busy cutting out furniture cut outs I had found online and spent the next few days moving furniture around in the little log house.

Perry's little house model he made for me

Some of the little furniture cutouts I found online.
 This is the kitchen/dining room and yes, that is a pool table in the dining room,don't ask.

After the model was built, we had several log home companies come and speak with us about building the home for us. At every meeting, and there were a few, I would haul the little model house out to help them "see" what Perry's dream looked like.

 To Perry, this was a simple house and a simple design but a few of the construction guys were a bit puzzled when it came to spans and supports etc.. 

I trusted Perry.

One night as I sat at home and looked at this simple sketch of the house, I got out my calculator. I knew we were going to have a basement, a first floor and a second floor but what about that little room that "popped" up thru the roofline? Was that a third floor? If so, I could throw away my stair stepper, hot dog!

I started to ask Perry the dimensions and that is when it sank in. 
With the aid of a calculator, I hate math and multiplying is not my biggest attribute in the world of numbers, I began to add and add and add and then I multiplied.

I was sorry at this point that I asked for a small darkroom to develop photos in. And what about that theater room? Did we really need that?  Do we really need space for a pool table in the dining room? Did the Great Room have to be that size? Could we do without a bedroom? Do we really, really need 5 toilets?

Needless to say, the plan has not changed. Except we added another garage and a train room above it. See? What did I tell you?

Our little log house had somehow exploded a little bit.  When people ask what the square footage is, I am not sure what to say.
 Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I just act dumb.
 Lets just say the basement is around 4088 sq feet. You do the math!

After the plans were "set in stone" , we began.

The house site up on the hill. You can make out the level area where
 the dozer striped away brush and trees.

Perry had found the perfect spot on our land for the house site.
 He had it dozed and leveled a bit in the summer of 2009, right after we got married. The view from the Great Room would be perfect, he told me.

The road needed to be put in and we would have to work on developing the site plan.

The "new" road being put in. 

My son Mason handles the chainsaw while Engineer Perry watches. This was a secondary access road he put in.

 On nice summer evenings, we would take chairs up there and sit and watch the sun go down. Some days we would hop in his jeep and drive up the hill with a cold beer or a cup of coffee and just sit. 
This went on for 2 years.

We knew it would take some time.

We could not wait to begin the journey!


  1. Wishing you luck sweetie, can't wait to see the finished product :)

  2. We couldn't wait. It's amazing how these monumental things start as mere externalized figments of a mental process. Our mind is spontaneous; there's lots of directions it can go. Though there are ways to systematize this now, and fully integrate the process of physical modeling and templates and blueprints, along with spurs of the moment. The most efficient one of course is software, so that is something we can pursue.