Eye on the Environment
A log home in Nova Scotia honors the concept of conservation
Story by Stacy Durr Albert, photography by Brian Vanden Brink, published in Log Homes Illustrated, November 2000
When you come across two people as environmentally conscious as Judy Pearcey and Christine Crueger, it's obvious that their passion for the natural world is more than just a hobby. In fact, it's a lifestyle. The Nova Scotia residents have incorporated their enthusiasm for the great outdoors into the design of their dream log home. "Living in a forest setting seemed like the natural thing to do," says Judy. "It's a very environmentally friendly house. It is solar efficient, and we also put in a wind generator to provide wind power."
The idea of a log home evolved long before Judy and Christine set foot in the offices of Heartwood Log Homes in Margaretville, Nova Scotia. After looking through the brochures and speaking with the company, however, the idea began to seem a little closer to realization. They drafted up some basic plans and then brought the sketches to an architect in Halifax. After finalizing the design with Heartwood, Judy and Christine were eager to get the project started.
Finding the right plot of land was easier than they expected. Judy and Christine spotted a sign advertising land for sale just outside of Bridgetown when they were driving off of a main highway. The one acre they selected was away from the road with wooded fields filled with deer, birds and other wildlife. "We wanted to ensure that it wasn't on the main highway," says Judy. "We wanted a place that was set back in the forest."
The site proved to be a perfect fit for the home. The only challenge they had was that the forest area contained a lot of water, requiring them to bring in truckloads of soil before building. Despite this small obstacle, the building process went very smoothly. Though Heartwood provided the log package, the stud-framed construction was done locally.
The resulting home offers approximately 2,400 square feet of living space. Pine was used both inside and outside. The layout of the home is geared to practicality. The main level houses most of the public living space, including the living room, kitchen, dining room, bath, bedroom, entry area, computer room, weight room and a woodworking shop. A cathedral ceiling draws the eye up toward the loft level, which contains the main bedroom, bath and a sitting area. An outside porch gives the owners a place to reflect on the beauty of the natural surroundings.
"Our views range from natural gardens to open fields to the forest," says Judy, explaining that the landscape was left in a pretty natural state.
Inside the home, custom furnishings lend a note of distinction. The fireplace in the living room was actually custom built in Europe. Judy had seen a picture of the fieldstone unit in a magazine and knew that it would be perfect for their home. The handsome pine bed in the main bedroom was made by a talented craftsman just a few towns away in Nova Scotia. Heartwood Log Homes constructed the staircase in the living room.
The overall decor reflects the homeowners' taste as well as their travels. While living in Europe for five years, Judy and Christine acquired some treasures from all over, particularly Germany, France and England. There are also many local accents that reflect the owners' Canadian heritage.
When visitors enter the home, Judy says they feel very comfortable. "They get a feeling of warmth. It's a very relaxing atmosphere," she says.
When Judy and Christine have free time, they spend much of it working in the woods. We cut our own wood," says Judy. "We do a lot of natural landscaping and gardening. We also enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Though there are many things that Judy likes about the home, one of the best features is that it requires so little upkeep. "When you build this type of home, you really take away from the maintenance of a regular home," says Judy. "It's virtually maintenance-free!"
Looking at the picture-perfect home, it's hard to believe that Judy and Christine don't spend every waking moment polishing each log. Then again, with two people so focused on the environment, maintenance is probably yet another thing that seems to occur naturally.