Log cabin makes every day feel like a vacation.

Story by Stacey Freed
Photos by Perry Mastrovito

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Near Magog City, at the base of Mont Orford in Quebec, sits a small cabin in the woods. “It’s paradise,” says its owner, Andre Boisvert, who built the home in 2003 as a weekend retreat and moved in full-time five years later.

Andre, who owns a swimming pool and chimney installation business in Sherbrooke, Canada, was approached by a sales representative from a log home company who wanted to sell him a sauna. Andre was so taken by the beauty of the company’s homes he decided to work with the company to build them.

pmh2936dvCUPR0244At Home in Nature
Looking for inspiration for a model home, Andre picked up a copy of log home designer Robbin Obomsawin’s book on small log homes and chose “Camp Dancing Bear” as the floor plan. (See “Book Smart” on page 56.) Obomsawin is construction manager and general contractor at Beaver Creek Log Homes in Oneida, N.Y. After building the model and four other houses, Andre left the business but not before purchasing that first model for himself. “It has a lot of nice character, gable ends and logs up to the roof, a lot of wood,” Andre says. “You can build three regular houses with the wood we have in that house.”

In fact, Camp Dancing Bear is one of Beaver Creek’s most popular models. “Sometimes when I design a house everything just happens; everything falls into place and it’s magic,” Obomsawin says. “With other houses you have to work to make it flow and function. Camp Dancing Bear was one I really enjoyed doing.”

With its high roof and natural materials, the 2,000-square-foot home (including the basement) makes Andre feel like he’s “on holiday all the time; it’s rejuvenating.” He loves to ski in the national park just across the road and does a lot of road biking. It was important to him to have a home that reflected his love of the outdoors. “You can’t build a log home and put in cheap things; you need to be sure the interior will match the exterior,” he says.

Glorious Wood
With great attention to detail, the exterior’s scribed white spruce logs are topped by scissor trusses just under the roof. On one side, a gabled window sits atop three log ends. “We use a scriber to fit every log perfectly,” says the home’s builder, Simon Auger, principal of Chic Shack Maisons de Bois Massif in Eastern Townships, Quebec. “It’s more like sculpture.”

Inside the three-bedroom home, it’s all about the warmth and comfort of the wood – on the walls, floors and ceilings. Great structural timbers lift the dining room ceiling, and curved logs define all the spaces. The centerpiece of the living room is the spiral staircase designed and built by Jean-Marc Tétro of Créations Tétro.

pmh2950nvCUPR0244A tree trunk rises through the center of the staircase, starting from the basement through to the loft level. Iron rings wrap around the trunk, each one connected to a hand-forged steel step topped with wood. Tétro says this design was “quite a challenge. The floor is not square and it’s not easy fitting everything in.” The wood takes about four years to dry, and as it does it shrinks. About once each year for the first several years, Andre had to tighten the bolts on the stairs to account for the shrinkage and settling.

But the staircase, handrail and decorative forged and hand-cut ironwork in place of balustrades, “is light and organic and keeps the same natural spirit as the wood,” says Tétro who faux-finished the steel using a mix of black, brown, gray and yellow paint to create a patina that mimics rusted metal. He wanted it to echo a “bridge outside so when that rusted after 10 years they would be the same color.”

Recreation & Relaxation
Andre loves to have friends and family over to enjoy his piece of the woods and surrounding nature – and to watch hockey, of course, on the 100-inch screen in the media room above the barn-like garage.

But when the guests are gone, it’s his bedroom that’s his favorite spot. He loves the ceiling’s huge logs and the freestanding bathtub. “It’s my place to relax and have a peaceful moment.”

Stacey Freed lives and works in Pittsford, N.Y. She and her husband enjoy spending time at a family cottage on Keuka Lake in New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes region.