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October 25, 2014
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Simple but elegant; The log cabin all grown up

Between the log house in the background and a vegetable garden in the foreground, a hint of summer’s bright colors can be seen in what is an extensive backyard flower garden.
Photos by Amanda Reed

By Jane Bollinger

Building a new house is always an adventure, and for Paul Plumadore and Jim Tindell of Milanville, PA building their home on River Road has been the adventure of a lifetime.

Plumadore had been coming to Milanville since 1983, weekending in a “funky little cottage” on the property. But everything changed in 2007, after a two-decades- long dispute over his inheritance of the riverfront parcel was finally resolved, and Tindell, who’d long been saving money to invest in real estate, made an offer. “It was then that we decided to invest right here where we already were,” Plumadore said. “The question was: build what?”

What they decided on was a log house, and for this, they turned to a well-known Beach Lake, PA company that specializes in custom-built log houses, Estemerwalt Log Homes.

“We wanted to create a house that was something between a rustic log cabin feeling and something more modern,” Plumadore explained.

Tindell joined in, “It’s laid out a bit like a barn. Having it look like a barn was a conscious decision.”

From day one, the design process was definitely a collaboration. As Plumadore tells it, he sketched the original floor plan and took it to Kurt Propst and Elizabeth Reece, Estemerwalt’s principles, who represent the fourth and fifth generations respectively in the family-owned lumber business. “They kept making drawings for us,” Plumadore recounted. “We kept tweaking.”

Still holding down jobs in New York City, they spent weekends in the country planning their house. “Paul loved the process,” Jim reported. “Mondays he’d be there at Estemerwalt—every Monday.”

“It was the most fun I ever had in my life,” Plumadore said. “I loved it. I was involved in every single step of the design.”

The main living quarters are laid out entirely on the ground floor, including master bedroom and full bath, kitchen, living room, screened-in porch, mudroom and garage. Offices and media room are upstairs, and perched on top of the house—from the outside it looks like a square tower—is a sitting room/observation point that overlooks an extensive flower garden and the open field that extends all the way to the Delaware River. By way of explanation, Plumadore confessed, smiling, “I always wanted a tree house.”

“You can see the river from here,” he said, “or watch the eagles. It’s like an observatory, especially in winter when there’s a snowstorm, or when there’s lightening. It’s great to observe the sky.”