Tim and Daphne Livingstone don’t have to change their latitude to change their attitude these days. All they have to do is make a right-hand turn onto the road where their log cabin home is located to enter a “stress-free” zone where natural surroundings, a tranquil setting, and a 2,632-square-foot log home join forces to create a sanctuary for good living.

“Since moving into our home my whole temperament has changed,” says Daphne, an events coordinator at the California University of Pennsylvania. Tim, who is a heavy equipment operator by trade, has also experienced a significant lifestyle change since moving into the couple’s custom-built log home in 2002. “We’re a lot more relaxed and stress-free,” he says. Daphne enjoys the tranquility of her three-bedroom, two-bath home from Expedition Log Homes of Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, so much that she relishes the moment when she turns toward home in Perryopolis, Pennsylvania, after a long day at work. “I even shut my car radio off and just soak up the surroundings and the quiet as I approach our home,” says Daphne. “Being able to get away from all the day’s stress is a wonderful feeling.”

The Livingstones are especially fond of the privacy that their log home affords them. In fact, when the structure was completed in 2002, Daphne says there were times when she wished not so many passers-by would stop to inquire about the two-story abode and it’s expansive, open front porch. “I guess seeing us sitting out there enticed others to say, ‘Oh wow, I need to go sit on that porch with that homeowner,’” Daphne recounts. “After allowing a number of people to do that—and to come in and see our home—we got a little bit more selective and even slightly selfish about those requests!”

Don’t blame the Livingstones for their desire for privacy. After all, this hard-working couple had been planning their venture into log homeownership for more than 10 years. Originally intent on building a log home for retirement, the pair sat down one day and said, “We already have a piece of property so why not make the move now and enjoy a gorgeous log home in the country while we’re still young?”

And with that the Livingstones kicked their dream into gear. After sending away for the catalogues that were advertised by log home companies in magazines, the couple started culling through their options. A visit to a local home expo led them to a neighboring Expedition Log Homes dealer and the rest, as they say, is history.

“We really liked the traditional feel of this log producer’s homes, and we wanted to steer clear of the more modern looks that were being advertised in the magazines at the time,” recalls Daphne, who along with her husband spent the next few months reviewing options and selecting a floorplan for their home. To build their home, the Livingstones chose long-time family friend Roy Horrell.

“Roy had never built a log home but he was a premier contractor in our area,” says Daphne. “It was kind of a leap of faith, but we figured if anyone can handle the nuts-and-bolts work of building a log home it would be Roy.”

When selecting the features for their home the Livingstones say an open floorplan was a must. Such a plan would easily accommodate the family’s dynamics and frequent entertaining. With two adult children and four grandchildren, Daphne says most gatherings include anywhere from 12 to 15 people. “We knew that if we didn’t go with an open plan there would be kids in the basement and people in the kitchen, and neither group would be interacting,” says Daphne. “There wouldn’t be that ‘get together’ feel that we wanted in our home.”

The Livingstones’ home was built with all handcrafted logs and is a hybrid in that part of its structure comprises 2X6 stud walls. “This is truly a half-log home,” says Jan Koepsell, co-owner of Expedition Log Homes. As such, the home is extremely energy efficient and includes R-38 high-density insulation in its roof. Other green features include R-21 wall insulation (compared to the more traditional R-19) and Pella-made architect series windows.

Other key features of the home include a large porch and a back deck for outdoor grilling, more socialization, and even some quiet time. The Livingstones incorporated a second-floor loft into their plan with an eye on creating an openness and flow from the downstairs to the upstairs of the home. A vaulted living room with double cathedral ceilings complements that architecture and helps to rank that room as Daphne’s favorite part of the house. “I absolutely adore our living room,” she says. “It’s where we always end up even if it’s just to enjoy a quiet dinner.”

When the home was completed in 2002 Daphne’s interior designing sense kicked into gear. Going for an “earthy look,” she says she selected ceramic tile, a stone breakfast bar and fireplace, and interior paint colors that reflected the home’s natural surroundings. Interesting features include a log bed that was purchased from Expedition Log Homes, furniture adorned with homespun quilts and tapestries, and an antique scale hanging in the kitchen.

To maintain their home the Livingstones wash the exterior and apply fungicide on a yearly basis. And while the routine doesn’t differ much from what they had to do with their previous house, Daphne says the home’s location on a wooded lot does create a few unique challenges. “We really are fighting the elements and Mother Nature here,” says Daphne, who adds that birds and boring bees tend to be the biggest culprits. “Robins just love the corners of our home, and I’m constantly battling to deter them.”

When talking to folks who drive past their beautiful log home and decide to pull over and admire it up close, the Livingstones say they usually offer up a simple, consistent piece of advice: If you want to live in a log home don’t put it off. “The younger you are, the more you’re going to enjoy it—even the times when you have to climb the ladder to reapply stain to your home’s exterior,” says Daphne. “It’s a complete experience and one that we absolutely love taking part in.”

Photography by Roger Wade Studio