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This relaxed dwelling is no cabin

By LauraMarie Carmody
Materials and furnishings make the Rutledge house a log home rather than a log cabin (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
Log structural beams called purlins also are a decorative feature (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
The dining room is nearly outdoors with a great view of nature (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
The ceiling soars over the great room with its large fireplace (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
The kitchen adds a contemporary design feel (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
The natural beauty of logs, and log ends, is celebrated (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
The round shapes echoed in candle holders (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
An upstairs landing offers a bird’s eye view of the great room (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
A log wall enhances a bath room (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
A year-round porch (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
The entrance walk welcome nature to the home (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
Landscaping by Planscape includes a solar-heated pool. An Airstream trailer serves as the pool house. (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
The log building material emphasizes the horizontal, while roofline and windows add vertical elements to the exterior. (PHOTO BY NEAL BRUNS)
Phil and Peggy Rutledge have lived along a small lane just off Zubrick Road for 20 years. Their lot, 10 acres of trees and gently rolling hills, was the first of six properties sharing the tree-laden lane. It was the perfect setting for Phil’s ideal residence — a log home.

“It was my log home dream, but Peggy went along with it,” said Phil. “We had to have the right setting, and this was it.”

The setting was only the first step in making this dream a reality. The Rutledges designed their home, then hired an architect to “fine tune” the plans. Revised plans were sent to the Colorado company charged with constructing the log home.

Once the drawings were approved as structurally sound, the house began to take shape one log at a time. Every log was hand hewn rather than mill finished, making each one unique. The house was actually erected in Colorado, inspected and disassembled. All the logs were then loaded onto trucks and carted to Indiana. The load weighed a total of 78 tons.

After reaching the Roanoke job site, the logs were reassembled in just 15 hours. However, there was still a lot of work to be done. Workers used chainsaws to make cuts in each log, a technique used to dry out the logs. Openings were created for windows and doors, eliminating the home’s initial resemblance to a fort and providing a stockpile of firewood that lasted years. A synthetic version of chinking, which expands and contracts with weather changes, was used as filler between the logs. 

Designing the home took one year and building it took another 10 months. When everything was finished, the 3,400-square-foot home included four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a great room, a kitchen, a dining area and a screened-in porch, as well as a walkout basement.

The backdrop for the Rutledges’ log home is warm and inviting. A gravel drive curves through woods and opens to a combination of mature trees, green lawn and professional landscaping done by Phil’s company, Planscape. An outbuilding housing Phil’s office sits to the right of the driveway, while a polyhouse occasionally used to store plants, trees or bushes for landscaping is tucked in an opening to the left. A pergola surrounded by bushes and flowering plants forms an entryway across the sidewalk leading to the house.

The home’s log exterior, earthy tones and architectural design foster a symbiotic relationship between nature and the man-made building. Long sections of horizontal logs are coupled with shorter sections. Interlaced log ends are visible at the corners of the house and wherever else cross support is required, adding interest and dimension. The chinking, lighter than the logs, provides an accent.

The structure’s horizontal design is capped by a deeply sloped roof and accented by a front gable that juts out at the far left end and a dormer to the right of the front entrance. Each has a large, arched window that softens the peaks.

There is an inviting wooden bench perched on the front porch next to the door. A wide sidelight offers a glimpse of what lies beyond the entrance. 

The charming ambiance of this home continues inside. An open staircase to the upstairs master suite is on the immediate right, while a view of the great room unfolds straight ahead. Two of the three guest bedrooms are located to the left.

Most of the walls are natural log with chinking, providing a neutral, relaxed backdrop. These walls are masterfully balanced with those made of drywall. The drywall introduces a different texture, as well as angles that offer added depth. The majority of the floors are covered with neutral-colored carpeting. 

The ceilings feature purlins, which are structural beams, or in this case logs, that provide support and an intriguing dynamic. The great room and master bedroom have high ceilings, while the remainder of the rooms feature nine-foot ceilings.

A carved log staircase with hardy log posts leads to the master bedroom. The landing at the top provides a bird’s eye view of the great room. Three of the four walls in this long room are made of logs, and purlins accentuate the ceiling. The arch-shaped entrance to the walk-in closet is directly across from the bedroom door. The bathroom, which features one of the arched windows visible when looking at the home’s facade, is to the right. The majority of the bedroom, including a bank of three windows overlooking the backyard, is to the left of the doorway.

Back downstairs, the great room, a focal piece of the house, has a stone fireplace surrounded by comfortable couches and chairs. Glass doors on the far wall usher in light and invite visitors to stroll onto the deck for a closer view of the expansive backyard. The warm, earthy tones of the furniture are reflected in the remainder of the décor, which embraces a mix of traditional and contemporary style that continues throughout the house.

“We wanted a log home rather than a log cabin,” said Peggy. “We tried to combine traditional features because we didn’t want it to be cabin-like or rustic.”

The great room also encompasses a high log wall stretching from the front to the back of the house. It incorporates the staircase and the upstairs bedroom door before continuing its path. It breaks again at the opening to the dining room, which is positioned next to the great room. A purlin and a log post subtly differentiate the two spaces. Log ends jut out in various places, again reflecting both support and dimension. 

A light wooden table with straight-back chairs is positioned in the center of the dining room. There is a wall of windows along the back of the room
and French doors lead to a four-season porch on the right. The Rutledges converted the porch from a screen room to a year-round porch a number of
years ago. 

The dining area flows into the kitchen. Physical space and a three-stool breakfast bar distinguish these two areas. The kitchen features pickled hickory cabinets, black appliances and windows that offer a view of the lane and front yard.

A second kitchen is located in the walkout basement, which was actually finished by Phil and his foreman. The entire space is designed for relaxing and entertaining.

“We have a lot of company and do a lot of entertaining,” said Peggy. “We want family and friends to know they can hang out and have a good time.”

The full kitchen and bar area includes a large neon shamrock on one wall, as well as a number of other items that are an ode to Peggy’s heritage. Three stools belly up to a bar featuring stamped tin panels. The refrigerator was actually painted at a body shop to match the stamped tin and décor.

The ceiling beams, pipes and wiring are exposed, although everything was painted gray to mesh with the rest of the space. The result is a casual, pub-like feel. The side benefit is access to the home’s infrastructure if needed.

The lower level also includes a pool table, an eggplant-colored piano, a large semicircle couch and entertainment area, a bedroom, full bath and workroom. There’s also plenty of natural light from the doors providing access to the backyard.

Once outside, a large, tree-lined backyard comes into full view. Above right is a spacious deck that extends out from the enclosed porch on the first floor. It includes casual seating areas, a covered pergola, a hot tub and lush landscaping that extends the casual, comfortable feeling of the Rutledge home to the backyard. The log theme is reflected in the design of the pergola and the deck’s support beams.

A solar-heated pool, complete with decking and landscaping, is located at the opposite end of the backyard. A sleek, silver Airstream travel trailer serves as the pool house. It even has an awning, table and chairs for anyone seeking a few minutes of shade during summer pool parties. 

“I grew up in a rural area and wanted a private spot,” said Phil. “We live out here and do our own thing. There are trails in the woods and a bridge over the creek. We see deer, heron, foxes and lightning bug displays in the backyard. We watch the snow in the winter. Nature is important, and we enjoy it.”

“We are casual people,” adds Peggy. “This is a fun house in a tranquil setting. It is our paradise.”

Posted: Fri, 09/09/2011 - 2:59 pm
Last updated: Wed, 05/23/2012 - 3:13 pm