Rick and Mary Hollstein have very little down time. Owners of a highly successful commercial roofing business, the couple operates at a pace not many individuals could keep up with. “Back in 2003,” says Rick Hollstein, “we decided as a family to look for a getaway home that would make us feel like we were really on vacation, even if it was just for the weekend.” The Hollsteins found and purchased a log cabin on Pine River Pond in Wakefield, New Hampshire. “Quickly hooked on log home living in the north woods” Rick continues, “several years later we discussed how nice it would be to build a brand new home on a larger lake.”
Rick had attended Bridgton Academy in Bridgeton, Maine, during the late 1970s. “As a young man there,” he recalls, “I developed a passion for the area with its many lakes and feeling of wilderness.” He and Mary began looking for property near Bridgton, specifically along the shores of Long Lake.
“I think we spent a full year looking at nearly every available property on the lake,” says Mary, “and eventually we found a perfect parcel with a gradual slope down to the water.” With their lakefront property purchased, Rick and Mary began to research log home companies. “We had been so enchanted with our first log home,” says Mary, “that there was no question our dream lake house would also be log.” After six months of diligent research and product comparisons, the Hollsteins decided to contract with Expedition Log Homes, based in Oostburg, Wisconsin.
“We began the design concept for our home with Expedition’s ‘Hill View’ model,” says the couple, “but the design morphed considerably over a period of three months.” Expedition Log Homes’ Gregg Grimes assisted Rick and Mary with the design changes, interpreting their wishes via numerous telephone conversations. The final design has found its way into Expedition’s current model offerings, and is seen on their website as “The Palisade.”
The homeowners selected Expedition’s 8-inch half log with Swedish cope corners to get the “log cabin” feeling they were after. They initially wanted stacked full log walls, but in the end were convinced the hybrid style was the best option for them. It enabled them to use spray foam insulation that keeps the home warm and cozy during Maine’s cold winters. The Hollsteins also upgraded from pine to cedar exterior logs, which they feel was well worth the money.
Gregg Grimes says, “During my first phone visit with them, Rick shared that he and Mary owned a full log vacation home in New Hampshire. During and after his log home was built, Rick often said his half log home was ‘more of a log home’ than his full log home ever was. Some of our full log customers look at half log as a compromise, ‘less than’ or ‘fake’ … sort of an artificial Christmas tree versus a real tree. We’ve never felt that way, nor do our half log customers. I just found it very interesting: here’s a client who has had both, but feels his half log home is more authentic.”
To build their log home, Rick and Mary went with local general contractor Wayne McInnis, recommended to them by Expedition. “We had several discussions with Wayne,” says Rick, “and his apparent knowledge and experience in building log homes won us over.” The Hollsteins turned the building process over to Wayne and his son, Ben. Wayne made recommendations for all of the subcontractors, who Rick and Mary interviewed and then hired. “From that point on,” recalls Mary, “Wayne and Ben supervised all phases of the building process. Rick and I felt very secure putting the job in their hands.” The father/son team installed every piece of wood in the Hollsteins’ home, from framing to finish.
The property’s slope to the lake lent itself perfectly to the creation of a daylight basement, to be used as an entertainment area. The basement walls were raised to 10 feet to achieve a spacious ceiling height. With the addition of sliding glass doors and several large windows, all facing the lake, the space doesn’t feel like a typical walkout basement. “We added stone retaining walls to both ends of the house,” explains Rick, “so the exterior elevation was consistent from one end to the other. We also installed patio pavers. This area of the home has great access to the lake and is the main gathering place when we are hosting family and friends.”
Rick reports that the building process went much smoother than he had anticipated. He says, “Wayne paid close attention to detail and didn’t rush through any portion of the project. There were things that needed to be modified during the course of construction; some were our changes and some due to Wayne’s recommendations. We really appreciated his willingness to accommodate our ideas and also offer his own. It was a very collaborative endeavor and particularly rewarding to Mary and me because we are in the construction business.”
A three-hour drive from their home in Marshfield, Massachusetts, Rick and Mary manage to retreat to their Maine getaway three out of four weekends a month, year round. “It’s so worth it to us,” says Mary, “for the benefits of destressing from work. We head up after work on Friday afternoons and turn around on Sunday to go back home. During holidays and long weekends, no matter what time of year, you will always find us there with family and friends.”
There’s nothing the homeowners would change about the design or location of their Maine getaway. Nor do they feel a burning desire to take on a building project like this one again. “It’s exactly what we envisioned for ourselves,” say Rick and Mary. Once the log home was completed the couple hired Wayne to build a woodshed, then a detached garage with living quarters above. They continue to try to come up with a fitting name for their retreat but so far the only one that feels right to them is “The House That Wayne Built.”
“Wayne McInnis is one of our local field reps, and a log home builder with 30 years of experience under his belt,” says Gregg Grimes. “Throughout the design and construction phase Rick and Wayne developed a strong bond. They’re both very professional but refreshingly down to earth. Even with the best client-builder relationships most owners are happy to see their building project completed. Not Rick; he kept looking for ways to keep Wayne busy with additional projects on the property. You get the point; what began as a customer-builder relationship turned into much more than that: a solid friendship, built on respect and trust.”
Photography by Roger Wade Studio