This Louisiana log home was built to stand the test of time and to provide immense enjoyment and pride of ownership.
by Bridget McCrea i photography by KJC Photography
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A typical Sunday afternoon at Larry and Sandi Lott’s log home feels like something out of a classic movie that’s set in the South. Sipping sweet tea and enjoying a beautiful, 360-degree view of Cyprus Black Bayou Lake, the Lotts, along with their friends and family, relax and unwind on a one-acre peninsula where the couple built their log cabin home in 2009.
The Lotts, who are both retired and the owners of several homes, built their three-bedroom Benton, Louisiana, log home with the intention of replicating the time they’d spent together at Big Cedar Lodge, a popular vacation spot located about 10 miles from Branson, Missouri.
“We were eating dinner at Devil’s Pool restaurant and Sandi mentioned that she just loved this style of living,” recalls Larry. “Being raised in Louisiana, and as an avid outdoorsman, I felt the same way. So we decided to pursue building a log home.”
The Lotts didn’t just jump into the project. Instead they took their time doing the proper research and reconnaissance before deciding on where and what to build. “We must have contacted over 15 different log home companies, and looked through dozens of log home magazines, before finding the right floorplan and design,” says Larry, who eventually found the right fit in a magazine’s home feature layout. “We fell in love with the home, and wanted it.”
After talking to the log producer for that home, Wisconsin Log Homes, Inc., of Green Bay, the Lotts worked with the firm to “start breaking down the original design and revamping it to meet our needs,” says Larry. Key elements the Lotts wanted to incorporate were an oversized great room with a lake view, an abundance of windows (“there’s not one curtain in the house,” he says), and a 25-foot-high stone fireplace in the great room to serve as a focal point for anyone who is in the home’s dining room, kitchen, or sunroom.
The Lotts also wanted to maximize the home site, which is situated on a “finger of land sticking out into the lake,” says Larry. “We wanted a home here that was compatible with the surrounding terrain, but that wasn’t too ostentatious.”
The home’s construction was also important, says Larry, a retired engineer who took a hands-on approach to all of the planning, design, and building that started in 2008 and wrapped up in April 2009, when the Lotts moved into their new home. “I didn’t want conventional, Lincoln Log construction,” he explains. “I wanted a design that would endure our hot, southern summers and help ward off insect infestation.”
Wisconsin Log Homes produced the logs for the house, which was constructed by Lipovsky Building Company of Harrison, Michigan. A third-generation contractor that had successfully built hundreds of log homes, the company came highly recommended and met the Lotts’ high standards. “I wanted a master craftsman to build this house,” says Larry, “and that’s not easy to find.”
Intent on incorporating as many green elements as possible into the home, Larry and Sandi insisted on addressing the environmental issue early in the game. They selected a DuPont Tyvek® weatherization system; R-39-factor insulation for the walls and ceilings; tankless water heaters; and a two-stage, variable speed air conditioning and heating system (the latter operates on 90 percent LP gas).
Those early decisions have resulted in a home that’s “incredibly inexpensive to heat and cool,” says Larry. In the home, all fixtures are water-efficient and all commodes are low-flow. One of the Lotts’ biggest points of pride is the 102-year-old pine lumber that was salvaged from a demolished school building, and then used as flooring for the home’s first floor. Hard as steel and impossible to replicate, this one-of-a-kind floor is one of the first things guests notice when they walk in the door.
“This is wood that would have normally gone into the demolition pile, or been burned,” says Larry. “Instead, it stands as one of the most beautiful aspects of our log home.”
Larry and Sandi expect that the care and time they put into designing their beautiful, green log home will ensure its existence for the next century, or longer. “We tell our kids all the time that they’ll be getting a real heirloom when they inherit this home,” says Larry. “This log home won’t ever age or go out of style; it will be just as beautiful in 100 years.”
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