Grow To­gether

Log Home Living - - 2018 ANNUAL BUYER'S GUIDE - story by Ryan Ne­w­house pho­tog­ra­phy cour­tesy of Pioneer Log Homes

As the fam­ily be­long­ing to this Mis­sis­sippi Delta re­treat ex­panded, so did their hand­crafted log home, show­ing just how ver­sa­tile log con­struc­tion can be.

As the fam­ily be­long­ing to this Mis­sis­sippi Delta re­treat ex­panded, so did their hand­crafted log home, show­ing just how ver­sa­tile log con­struc­tion can be.

It all started in 1996, when John and Linsa Archer re­ceived their fam­ily prop­erty on the shores of Lake Chicot from John’s fa­ther, who had owned it since 1977. In the same year they be­came prop­erty own­ers, the Archers trav­eled to Bran­son, Mis­souri, for leisure and were taken aback by the log cab­ins and lodge at Big Cedar Lodge Re­sort.

Big Cedar Lodge and its stun­ning cab­ins were built by Pioneer Log Homes in Vic­tor, Mon­tana, an Amer­i­can com­pany with a very se­lec­tive ap­proach to sourc­ing its logs. “We don’t bull­doze,” ex­plains Rob Ridg­way, head of sales for Pioneer Log Homes. “We find tim­bers that have al­ready died and go in with a sin­gle chain­saw to fell them. We don’t be­lieve in rip­ping out live trees. That’s not part of our en­vi­ron­men­tal ethic.”

With that at­ten­tion to de­tail, the Archers were in­spired by what they ex­pe­ri­enced at Big Cedar Lodge and de­cided they wanted a Pioneer Log Home for their Lake Chicot prop­erty. The next week­end Rob and the Archers were shak­ing hands at a builders’ show in Louisville, Ken­tucky. Shortly there­after, John sent Rob his plans for a log home, and work be­gan at the Pioneer fa­cil­ity.

“Each log for the hand­crafted home was fit, and notched, and fit, and chis­eled, and fit again be­fore they came to­gether per­fectly.

It’s al­ways an art,” Rob ex­plains. The Archers’ log home was built in Vic­tor first, be­fore each log was num­bered, dis­man­tled and trucked to the home site on the shores of Lake Chicot, ac­com­pa­nied by the fore­man who built the struc­ture in Mon­tana.

“There is no lim­i­ta­tion to where we can build a log home,” says Rob. “Since ev­ery home starts in our yard, it’s just a mat­ter of get­ting them to the site for re­assem­bly. And we like know­ing that ev­ery struc­ture we build can be said to be ‘Made in Mon­tana.’”

“It was truly a ‘barn rais­ing,’ as our fam­ily and friends gath­ered for the day and watched the house go up be­fore our very eyes,” re­calls Linsa.

Lake Chicot is a nat­u­ral won­der, and a log home has a fit­ting aes­thetic for the largest oxbow lake in North Amer­ica, which mea­sures about 22 miles from end to end. The lake was formed about 600 years ago by the me­an­der­ing Mis­sis­sippi River. A case for irony could even be made for hav­ing a lake­side log home here be­cause Chicot is French for “stumpy,” so named for the many cy­press stumps and trees along its bank.

For a fam­ily home, what the Archers asked Pioneer Log Homes to build was per­fect for many years. The home had two bed­rooms, two bath­rooms, a sleep­ing loft and a com­bined kitchen and liv­ing room. As their chil­dren out­grew bunk beds and

be­gan to marry, the first amend­ment to the home was to turn the stor­age house to a guest­house. Then an out­door kitchen and pa­tio were added. Each time the Archers called on Rob to “send more logs.”

The el­dest of John and Linsa’s three chil­dren, Ellen Mozingo of Jack­son, grad­u­ated from Auburn Univer­sity with a de­gree in in­te­rior de­sign, so she was al­lowed to re­design the in­te­rior into a dressier cot­tage style, fea­tur­ing color­ful fabrics, win­dow treat­ments and lots of lo­cal art.

A few years ago, John called Rob once more and ex­plained that grand­kids were now in the pic­ture. The Archers needed more space, so Pioneer de­signed and sent over three more bed­rooms to add to their log home.

“That’s the beauty of hand­craft­ing a log home,” says Rob. “We know ex­actly how to add to them in ways that fit the ex­ist­ing struc­ture. We can do that be­cause we build ev­ery struc­ture one log at a time, whether it’s a gazebo or a re­sort lodge. They’re all a col­lec­tion of the right logs for the right pur­pose.”

To em­pha­size the nat­u­ral beauty of the logs, the Archers brought in a land­scape ar­chi­tect to work around the home’s in­fin­ity pool with wa­ter­fall, hot tub, pa­tio, docks and tow­er­ing pecan and oak trees. “We lit­er­ally en­ter the drive­way, close the gates and have our own pri­vate get­away,” says Linsa.

No log home on the lake is com­plete with­out large win­dows. Note how the logs frame the 180-de­gree win­dow treat­ment.

TOP: The kitchen plays on lines, with the ver­ti­cal cab­i­netry jux­ta­pos­ing the hor­i­zon­tal log walls.

ABOVE: The quaint side en­try­way leads from the stone pa­tio (com­plete with bub­bling foun­tain) through the screened porch to the great room.

OP­PO­SITE: The great room blurs the line be­tween in­doors and out with its two-story win­dows and nearby door­way to the in­fin­ity pool area.

FROM TOP: Stone, wood and steel come to­gether to pro­tect the Archers from the el­e­ments and fly­ing pests in this screened-in liv­ing/din­ing area.

The mas­ter bed­room of­fers a pri­vate porch and am­ple nat­u­ral light through the glass doors and win­dows.

Cool stone bal­ances the warmth of the hon­eyed hand­crafted log walls in the mas­ter bath­room.

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