New-Build Showhouse Puts Log Cabins on Mainstream Map


Mention a log cabin to some, and images of a dark, rustic home done in a forest animal motif appear. These are homes that are found deep in the woods, and offer only the bare essentials for living, believe many.

Well, those misconceptions will be gone forever when consumers view today’s version of the log cabin home. Bright and airy with all of the best amenities, log homes are being designed and built by Golden Eagle Log Homes of Wisconsin Rapids, WI that change the way Americans view log dwellings.

Golden Eagle’s 2006 Home of the Year, located in Lake Petenwell, WI, provides 5,572 sq. ft. of luxury living that includes a large, open-plan kitchen and several large baths plus a powder room. It also has numerous windows that provide sweeping views of the lake.

Combining some of the most popular design elements used by the company in its previously designed homes, this showhouse features three levels, with the main level comprised of exposed full logs on the interior and exterior of the home.

Designed to showcase the latest trends, technology and design in new-home construction, as well as educate prospective log homeowners about the design and construction process of a log home from start to finish, the home has been open to the public since March. It has also been used as a fundraising vehicle for the University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital.

The home was designed to incorporate the rustic lifestyle, but also have modern-day conveniences. “It’s kind of ‘Gucci rustic,’” offers Scott Rouleau, a representative for Golden Eagle Log Homes.

The home itself was designed for owners who do a lot of entertaining, and have a big family. Recently, the home was sold to a family that fits that description.

Three master suites – one on the main floor and two on the upper level – each face the lake, with the upstairs rooms offering two balconies each. Two Great rooms – one on the main level and one in the basement – provide ample room for entertaining. A theater room on the lower level provides a haven for large-screen viewing, while next to the theater room, a wine cellar/wine tasting room provides storage for 450 bottles and features a Shaw Pantheon tile floor that resembles castle stone. A fourth bedroom on this level provides additional room for guests.


In addition to the master bedroom suite, a foyer and Great room and a living area, the main level includes an open-plan kitchen and dining room, with an additional breakfast nook/sunroom tucked into an octagon-shaped alcove.

In designing the space, Janet Felton, senior kitchen designer for Golden Eagle Log Homes, notes that she was definitely going for the “wow” factor.

“We used some color in the kitchen, which sets off the wood nicely, making it pop out even more,” she states. In addition, a little bit of a furniture look on the island produces a richer appearance.

While most of the log homes that Golden Eagle builds feature rustic hickory cabinets, this home incorporates custom-designed and -built solid, knotty alder cabinets in a natural stain from Bertch in the main part of the kitchen. “It [introduces] such a nice, warm wood tone to the room,” Felton comments.

To make the wood tones of the cabinetry stand out, Felton used an aged ebony stain on the island and topped it with 3"-thick wood butcher block. She installed Uba Tuba granite countertops in the remainder of the kitchen, which are black with a hint of green.

Jay Parmeter, president and co-owner of Golden Eagle Log Homes, notes that this kitchen features 9' ceilings, which provided more flexibility with cabinet options. “Many of our other homes have 8' ceilings, and that limits the cabinetry,” he reports.

In addition to high style, Felton wanted the space to offer great functionality. “We used appliances that not only look good, but are convenient and smart,” she explains.

An established work triangle features a Mansfield piecrust farm sink along the wall, finished with an oil-rubbed bronze Moen Vestige faucet. Dishdrawers from Fisher & Paykel are featured here, as well, and sport a wood panel that matches the cabinets. Directly across from the sink is the island, which features a 36" Wolf gas cooktop and an arched decorative wood hood, plus a microwave.

On the opposite side of the island is a Sub-Zero refrigerator with a glass-front door, with a freezer drawer below. On that same wall the microwave/convection/electric oven and warming drawer are all within easy reach of the island. Sub-Zero refrigerator drawers are featured on the side wall, across from the far end of the island.

“We spaced everything out so that there is room to work,” offers Felton. “We always make sure that the different work spaces offer good areas in which to move.”

In lieu of tile, faux finishing was done on the backsplash in a herringbone pattern. Oversized Shaw Pantheon tiles measuring 19.6" sq. complement the real knotty hickory wood flooring used in the dining room and breakfast nook.

In addition to recessed cans in the ceiling, pendant lights that complement the dining room’s chandelier were placed over the island. “The big help in the kitchen with regard to lighting is the undercabinet lighting,” says Felton. “Ambience lighting from Sea Gull Lighting, which features a transformer cable system with xenon bulbs, really lights up the counter. It lights up the work space and accents everything nicely.”


The primary master suite, situated on the main floor of the house, features a giant master bath that includes an oversized walk-in shower and a whirlpool tub.
“The doorless sunken shower, which measures 6'x8', is Shaw Baja porcelain tile and features a heated floor,” comments Parmeter. Following requests from female consumers, it features a bench at the right height for shaving legs. The shower faucet, Moen Kingsley in oil-rubbed bronze, features four body jets.

An Aker corner whirlpool tub that fits two people also sports body jets, and is situated in one corner with logs above. A hand-held shower is also included.
The bath cabinets are a beaded inset knotty pine from Bertch in a warm toffee finish, with matching mirror frames above them. Porcelain tile is seen on the countertop, which incorporates a hand-painted, ceramic porcelain Mansfield sink with a pine motif. “The toilet matches the sink bowl,” she notes.

Moen Kingsley widespread faucets in oil-rubbed bronze, with matching accessories, finish the look.

A powder room on the main floor is entirely tiled – “just to offer something a little different,” notes Parmeter. “We tiled all four walls and the floor with brown- and beige-toned Shaw Pantheon tiles in some unique shapes and sizes. A border at approximately wainscot level tops diagonally placed tiles.”
The room features a Mansfield Victorian porcelain pedestal sink that provides an Old World feel, paired with Moen Monticello faucets in oil-rubbed bronze, with matching accessories. The toilet matches the sink’s style.

The sink is flanked by two tall linen closets from Bertch. They feature a custom beaded, inset door style, in a khaki stain with a worn, crown glaze finish. “The bottom drawer of each features a painted farm-style motif with flowers,” describes Felton. A framed mirror matches the cabinets.

Overall, because of their luxury amenities and warm ambience, log homes such as this one are
a growing percentage of the custom-home market today, with about 30,000 log homes built each year. These homes are emerging from the woods and finding their way into mainstream neighborhoods, changing consumers’ minds as they go.