Carl Stoesz grew up looking at books of old post-and-beam-style houses. He finally has his very own in the from of this 2000 square foot timber dream home in the Blue Ridge Mountains that he shares with his wife Helen. They couldn’t be happier and have named their new baby Dancing Oaks Lodge.
The journey to get here was long and winding. He actually spent years in the Houston suburbs working as an engineer. During that time, he stopped thinking about his childhood dreams of living in a timber home. His lost dream was re-ignited when he tripped across a copy of Timber Home Living one day.
With a rush, his dream sprang back to life. He and his wife promptly began making plans ditch their 1950s rambler and arrange to build a timber home in a secluded wooded locale. They searched for suitable properties on the internet, finally settling on a five acre plot in Virginia.
With a plot picked out, they then spent two years working on the design for the home itself. Helen wanted old house character with plenty of room for guests. Carl was all about good function and efficiency. They would obsess about the details for a time, then set it aside, then come back to it again. This allowed their ideas to germinate and grow over time.
Ultimately, they agreed on a three bedroom, two bath place with few interior walls, a loft upstairs and windows galore. They wanted to get the largest windows they could get without having to pay extra for special safety glass. It’s all about the views.
They wanted to keep the timber elements simple. One design choice driven by this desire is an upstairs loft with a single-layer floor system. They were able to pull this off by using soffits, chases and even a utility closet to conceal wires, pipes and ducts.
They added visual drama and additional usable space for cheap to the upstairs by going with 8-foot gable dormers instead of 4-foot ones. They also bumped out the kitchen by two more feet to get a cook’s dream kitchen. It was totally worth it. Today, Helen spoils everyone with her great cooking, facilitated by a great kitchen.
They stayed within budget by doing some things themselves. Helen did the backsplash work and Carl did the counter tops, though he had a lot to learn to make it happen. They chose white cabinetry, concrete counter tops and stainless steel appliances. These very modern looking pieces were contrasted with traditional warm wood floors.
Carl is an inveterate tinkerer, so their home continues to be improved. However, it is now perfectly serviceable and they can kick back and relax in it as much as they want before being struck by the next project inspiration.
Some touches that give this new house the character of an older house with lots of flair include:
- The loft bedroom has a salvaged window with wavy glass.
- The guest bath was fitted with a pedestal sink and Talavera tile.
- Heat is provided by an energy-efficient wood-burning stove.
- The master bedroom has French doors instead of sliding glass doors.
- They added character by changing a closed stairway to an open wooden stairway with floating risers.
Carl is quite smitten with his new home. He says if he won the lottery, he would stay right here. Although he likes tinkering and doing projects here, he doesn’t think another house could be a better place for him.
He’s found his happy place. He and Helen spend lots of time here.