Six bedrooms, seven baths, 7,000 square feet of space. That sounds like a lot of house for a couple whose children are all out of the house and scattered across the country.
And, it would be, if Jim and Doris Anderson were the only ones staying in the house, which overlooks a lake, less than an hour from Madison, Wis. But, Jim Anderson says the home was built with entertaining and hospitality in mind. Yet it was the family log home he’d always dreamed of.
Jim acknowledges, “I’ve wanted to build a log home since I was a kid.” Once he was in a position to have that log home, he wanted to be able to accommodate family and friends. Hence, a very large family, and friends, oriented log home.
The Andersons still have their in-town home in the Madison area, but you’ll find them in their Wisconsin log home most of the summer and many weekends during the remainder of the year. You’re likely to find other members of their family at the home at various times during the year.
All three of their sons have gone off to pursue their own lives, two in the Chicago area, one in Massachusetts. Only one is married right now, but Jim says the house was built with future visits from kids and grandkids in mind. And, even before there are any grandchildren, the Andersons sons come to the log home getaway both for family weekends and with groups of their own friends.
Hence, sleeping accommodations for as many as 16 and bath facilities to match. Two bedrooms are on each of the upper two levels. The lower level of the three-level log home includes two rooms with pairs of bunk beds, perfect for a group of young people. “If all the kids come home, there’s a place for all of them to stay,” says Jim.
But it’s more than sleeping accommodations that make the Andersons log home a perfect getaway for family and friends. The nature of the home — built of logs and with interior log walls made possible through the insulated wall log home construction technique originated by his manufacturer, Wisconsin Log Homes makes it a warm, inviting place for the families to be together. Jim now has fulfilled his long-time dream of a log home, he says.
The great room on the main level is a massive 34-feet-by-40-feet with a soaring 25-foot ceiling, creating an ideal place for entertaining. The rustic log interior of the design makes even this large space a cozy, warm place for friends and family to gather.
The main floor features the great room, which includes an 8-foot long custom-made rustic pine dining table, a large kitchen ready for cooks to prepare feasts for both intimate and large groups, the master bedroom and another guest room.
Also on the main level is a bar room, complete with a walk-in cooler, keeping refreshments cold for family and friends. A custom-crafted elk horn lighting fixture hangs above a 54-inch round table, perfect for a game of cards.
On the lower level, the tile-floored lake room has access directly from the outside, making it easy to move between the inside and the lake shore — another example of the flexibility in design created by Wisconsin Log Homes.
Both the lake room and great room have massive fireplaces that provide a central point for social gatherings. Yet, Jim says, “the rooms were set up so, even if people break up into smaller groups, everyone can see everyone else.”
Just how big is the house? Well, Jim says, an open house for those involved in building the home, held after its completion in 1998, was attended by more than 200 people, spread among the lower and main levels. And, a reception after the wedding of the Andersons middle son was attended by some 250 people. More frequent, though, are the gatherings of 12-20 family members and friends.
The total process of choosing a site, selecting Wisconsin Log Homes of Green Bay, Wis., to design and manufacture the home and then having it completed, took about five years. Jim says he looked at the log home designs of close to half-a-dozen manufacturers and was ready to look at more.
But when he saw the methods used by Wisconsin Log Homes, he ended his hunt. Jim said he was most impressed by his visit to their headquarters and factory. There he was able to see first hand both the personal touch used in preparing each log and the use of technology with computerized milling systems to make exact, clean cuts for fitting logs together in construction.
For Jim, one of the features which set Wisconsin Log Homes designs apart from others was the companys exclusive use of insulated 2 x 6 framed walls. Their patented design system allows for a tightly sealed home without the settling and shifting problems of solid log designs. It also allows the homebuyer to choose various styles of interior finishes. The Andersons chose a rustic, round log look, but the smooth finished walls used in conventional construction can also be created or, as is common with many of the homes created by Wisconsin Log, a blend of the two styles.
Jim Anderson says he knew he had found what he wanted, the capability to design and manufacture a completely convenient home, yet the wood-filled log home of his dreams. And, he’s very pleased that he was able to build a getaway log home spacious enough to host as many kids, grandkids and friends as will accept his invitation.
“It’s fun,” says Anderson, “I like having the kids and their friends here.” And as to the future of gatherings in his southern Wisconsin log home, there’s not only fun for Jim and his wife – there’s fun and a warm, cozy log cabin” atmosphere for his guests too.