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Rustic flair

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The owner's request was simple – build me a log house. This vacation lodge is a comfortable marriage of rustic architecture and cozy interior design

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A vacation home in the mountains needs to respond to its dramatic setting as well as offer a relaxing and comfortable retreat for family and friends. In this case, says the architect, George Acock, the decision was made to build a modern-day log house.

With more than a passing reference to the designs of renowned Arts and Crafts period architects Greene & Greene, Acock says he referenced historic home styles and building techniques when drew up the home's plans.

"We took the traditional log house design and updated it into a contemporary home," he says.

The sloping site varies up to 70 feet, so Acock built the wooden structure on substantial, rock-faced foundations. Spruce trees were used for the house's construction, which was built as modules in Canada and reassembled on site.

Designed to function as a ski-in, ski-out vacation lodge for large groups of people, the interior spaces had to be welcoming and comfortable. In sympathy with the outside siding, the interior of this home also features wood and stone as the main elements.

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For Boston interiordesign company Bierly-Drake Associates, this home presented the first opportunity to work on a log house. Rustic and welcoming are the themes, says Lee Bierly. To achieve that goal, the project became a continual story of texture, with the use of quiet, mellow coloration.

"In a house like this, you want it to be mostly about the views and feeling comfortable and relaxed. So the interior is focused on texture, rather than decoration and that is how we approached it," says Bierly.

The main entrance opens directly into a large open-plan living area. The interior structure is rustic, dominated by exposed log walls, an open ceiling with massive beams and a fireplace faced in stone. Details include a wrought-iron balustrade in a branch design, inspired by the local forests. Furnishings were selected for their comfort, and upholstered in compatible textures and muted colors. Fabrics include country plaids, soft velvet, and tapestries used as coverings for the large and chunky furnishings. Toss pillows are covered in the same materials, with the odd splash of raspberry as an accent.

"The main living room is an inviting area where family and guests can sit down and put their feet up in ski clothes or jeans, and feel totally comfortable," says Bierly.

The country theme continues through to the open dining room area. The floor is covered by a hand-knotted Romanian rug, An antique wooden table is accompanied by chairs in dark rich tones. A hand-forged, wrought-iron chandelier is suspended over the table. The fixture is in the same design as the single-arm wall sconces.

"Part of the rusticity in this room was achieved through different materials. To bring interest and texture to the wooden interior, we added shingle sliding, combined with copper and brass accent pieces for a bit of sheen."

Bierly says the bedrooms continue the theme of well-worn comfort and luxury.

"One bed was made by an old company in Massachusetts in antique style – complete with a horse hair mattress. The dust ruffle, in a new Ralph Lauren print, adds a touch of color as does the country bench painted in milk blue."

Across from this bedroom is a bathroom with a vanity made from an antique chest found in Aspen.

"The carved wooden chair next to the tub is a perfect example of ‘tramp art', made by itinerant hobos during the 1930s," says Bierly.

The master bedroom features another of the home's many fireplaces. Its decor was conceived around an old fashioned French toile that Bierly found in Quadrille.

"The idea was to turn the room into the sort of cozy and inviting small hotel room you would find in France."

Crisp white brightens this room, while the linen carpet and large armoire enhance the French country theme. A Normandy clock and other antiques were sourced in Europe on one of Bierly's many shopping trips for clients.

One bathroom attached to the master bedroom features a large, pure glass mirror mounted on a steel band, so it "floats" above the sink. The vanity in which the sink rests was originally a 19th century French buffet. A large tree trunk has been used to support the vanity, and it conceals the sink plumbing.

"We've made every detail appropriate to the nature of this log house - very rustic, very strong, but also very welcoming," says Bierly.

First published date: 26 May 2006

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Credit List

Architect Acock Architects. Project manager – Pete Confar
Interior designer Lee Bierly and Christopher Drake, ASID, Bierly-Drake Associates (Boston, MA)
Main contractor TJ Barham Construction
Metal working Luna Bronze
Millwork Premier Woodwork & Design
Marble and stone European Marble & Granite
Media systems Newcome Electronics
Flooring Stark Carpet
Lighting Chandeliers – Loyola Designs, Dennis & Leen. Lamps – Blanche Field
Living areas Furniture – Minton Spidell, Collection Reproductions, Paul Ferrante, Chelsea Antiques, Kneedler Fauchere. Upholstery – McLaughlin Upholstering.
Fabric Brunschwig & Fils. Toss pillows – Finelines, Karen Gilman. Fabric – Fontill and Grey Watkins
Dining room Sconces – Dennis & Leen. Dining table – Loyola Designs. Chairs – Formations. Fabric – Scalamandre and Hinson. Dining chairs – Dennis & Leen. Fabric – Hinson and Henry Calvin
Family room Furniture and upholstery – McLaughlin Upholstering, Collection Reproductions, Loyola Designs, Milling Road, Paul Ferrante, Chelsea Antiques
Bedroom Bed – Leonards Antiques. Flounce – Finelines. Fabric – Ralph Lauren. Bedside tables – Antiques on Five. Bench – Woodland Furniture
Bathroom Sconces – Paul Ferrante. Vanity – Danish Country. Antique chair – Spivack's Antiques
Master bedroom Red and white toile chaise – McLaughlin Upholstery. Ladderback lounge chair – Charles Pollock. Antique armoire – Anthony's Antiques. Pyramid tables – Fred Brown. Italian bench – Minton Spidell
Master bathroom Mirror – Pioneer Manufacturing. Blinds – Karen Gilman. Pendant and sconces – R Jesse & Company