This New York Arts and Crafts log house is located on 47 acres in the Catskill Mountains, bordering a lake and a 35,000 acre Boy Scout camp. When Lois and Arnold Melman decided to build themselves a weekend home, they sought a secluded building site convenient to their primary home in New York’s Westchester County. That is when they found 47 acres in the Catskill Mountains.
The wooded property prompted Lois to recall her city-dwelling father’s desire to retire to a cabin building in the mountains. Her father passed away before he could fulfill his cabin building dream, but the couple committed to building a log cabin building in his memory. They took his wood cabin dream a step farther. Rather than building an ordinary wood cabin, they decided to build an Arts and Crafts style wood cabin.
The couple chose Greene and Greene’s Blacker House as inspiration. The California home built-in 1907, wasn’t logged but used wood extensively on the exterior. In researching cabin building designs, the couple discovered a 1995 Arts and Crafts-style log house they liked that Seattle architect Bob Hoshide had designed. They contacted the architect, and he agreed to design their log cabin retreat. Hoshide visited the property and took inspiration from the surroundings, using as the starting point the Blacker House and Greene and Greene’s Gamble home design. The cabin building process took about a year, with ideas passed back and forth through email.
A notable feature of the cabin building is its wide overhangs. They emphasize the low profile of the home, which mimics the silhouette of the Blacker House. The Arts and Crafts log house have no upper level, so they added a 1,000-square-foot guest house just steps away from the main log house that functions as a second story. The guest house is connected by a breezeway and angled to provide a view from the main log house.
The architect told the owners that they would want to be able to look at the guest house when they were sitting in the main house kitchen and see what they had designed. The log house also influences architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright believed that whatever you build, you are communicating with nature. So, by having the log house on one level, with plenty of windows and having a couple of outside areas, the log house is one with nature.
The New York Arts and Crafts log house sit on top of a 1,200-foot mountain, accessible by a half-mile driveway that winds up through the woods. The Melman's looked at several nearby log house companies before settling on Estemerwalt Log Homes, which is located just across the border in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. They chose the log house company’s eastern white pine logs, which were milled to full round at 12-inch diameters. The logs extend into the log house to define interior spaces but without enclosing any while leaving everything else in the home wide open except for a framed wall that forms the laundry/pantry and another for the entertainment area that is located outside the master bedroom.
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