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Why We Love Our Log Home

One couple's dream is built log by log, stone by stone
By Gina Chiodi Grensing
Published: September 1, 2007
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The Schuler’s getaway which was designed by Beaver Creek Log Homes, borders the Black River.
Photo by Beaver Creek Log Homes and the owners
The dream of owning a log cabin is high on the wish list for many people. Attaining that dream can be an ongoing endeavor or right around the corner. For Dave and Barb Schuler, it’s an ongoing labor of love – one log and one fireplace stone at a time.
   
The Schuler’s log cabin is at the foothills of the Adirondack Moun­tains in the Village of Forest Port, N.Y. – approximately 25 miles north of Utica. Being built in stages, mostly on the weekends, it has taken over two years to get half of it completed –  though they purchased the property in 1998, researched cabin builders and worked with a log home designer until the building began. As they pause to reflect upon their evolving retreat, they share some of their most cherished parts, both in the structure and in the process – the fireplace, the foundation, the ceiling fan and even the financing.
   
“I love our cabin because we don’t owe any money on it,” says Dave. “We knew it was going to be expensive, so we worked out how to do it and meet our financial needs. With each stage, we spend some time thinking.” This has given the Schulers the opportunity to budget and plan for the next step – a process that might take awhile, because, as Dave says, “we need to agree as husband and wife.”
   
That’s the reason it took them two years to agree on the fireplace stone. “Dave wanted more conformed stone,” says Barb. “I wanted boulders that looked chipped.”
   
They eventually found the perfect stone right in front of their noses on the exterior of their hometown bank. Luckily, the Schulers found a distributor. “The fireplace turned out so beautiful,” says Barb of the finished product. “I just walk up and stare at it.”
   
“Because we are able to plan each step of our log cabin together makes it even more special to me,” adds Dave. “The process has made memories that I recall when I walk around the room.” And there have been many lessons learned. Last winter, for example, the Schulers purchased a ceiling fan after undergoing their usual lengthy research. However, after assembling it, Dave realized it was too small for the space. More research led to a specially ordered fan, which Dave installed over a weekend.
   
Dave also has been fortunate to work alongside the contractors – in just about every trade, including those of Beaver Creek Log Homes. That, he adds, has given him a huge sense of accomplishment. He even worked alongside the mason who set the foundation and witnessed the process of why a large rock is now part of their wine cellar at the bottom of the basement stairs. “It just wouldn’t come out,” says Dave. “After trying so hard and breaking machinery, the mason decided he’d have to work around it. We expect it to be a conversation piece now.”
   
Handcrafted of full logs and boasting a metal roof, the 32 x 40-foot cabin will eventually be the Schuler’s retirement home. Because the cabin is tucked into the natural landscape with a steep decline from the road leading to it and no other development in view, preserving that area’s natural integrity was foremost to the Schulers. “Our property begged to have something rustic, quaint and simple on it,” says Barb. Its open great room, consisting of the living room, kitchen and dining room, holds a special spot in Barb’s heart. “I just love the layout. And we got an added surprise, because we thought the loft was going to be just storage space and not usable. It’s actually a good size room up there.”
   
With 17 windows, including four that are large trapezoids, the Schulers have added the views of  the surrounding forest and nearby river to their “I love…” list.
   
Some of the 100 or so people of the Village of Forest Port have kept the coffee shop buzzing with talk of the log cabin and have come to peek into its windows – as evidenced by nose prints, relates Dave. They can still talk and peek for awhile as the Schuler’s cabin will be a work in progress for a few more years. But as Barbara points out, “some people build a house and then wish they would have done things differently. We know that everything will be perfect when we’re ready to move into ours full time. We won’t regret a single step, and that’s the thing we love best of all.”

Gina Chiodi Grensing, who loves stone fireplaces, believes the adage: “Good things come to those who wait.”
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