Walter and Diane Koon moved into their brand new 4,660-square-foot home in Heber Springs, Arkansas in March 2017. Their yard, which covers an impressive 3-acre parcel, is home to giant maple trees.
Walter says, “Outside, it looks like a park.” “Inside, it looks almost like a museum!”
Southerners were no exception. They adopted the “Cowboys and Indians” theme. “We’ve got a glass case on the wall that holds a circle of arrowheads — all of which I found on our farm in southern Arkansas,” says Walter. Walter also found broken pieces of pottery that he displayed.
The interior design is amazing, but the most important structural part of the home is its roof system. This makes perfect sense, considering Walter owns and operates a roofing company. Walter installed R-30 insulation on the roof and a sheet of plywood on top before laying shingles. It results in a much cooler upper floor, which is critical considering Arkansas gets many 100+ degree summer days.
Walter says log cabins can get extremely warm at the top. But a good R-30 insulation between shingles and the exposed ceiling is a huge help. Walter also loves the green roof’s aesthetic. “The unique hexagonal pattern of the shingles’ tabs really set off our cabin.”
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The log home is structurally constructed using a contour log profile measuring 8 inches in diameter, made from eastern white Pine. This log profile is borate treated to preserve its integrity. The home is designed with two wings that extend in the front and back. Bob Lewis, builder of Lewis Log Homes, describes the home as a “cross”. “The roof has different valleys, but all connect to the same central ridge. Mathematically, it was impossible to cut the roof because one side is higher and wider than the other.
As a result, the process had to be done one rafter at a time with a crane and then slid into place, each log individually scribed — a time-consuming process, but one that created exceptional results.
Another challenge was the staircase in the home. Walter was unhappy with the way the landing protruded into his living room, taking up a lot of space. Bob was asked to remove the stairs and rebuild them next to the wall.
Bob says that Walter made a great choice. “That made the living area much larger.”
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John Harper, a New Hampshire-based representative for Real Log Homes, sold the home to the couple. He said that his clients knew exactly their needs and didn’t change.
“We started with a standard floor plan called the ‘Stonington’ and expanded on it,” John explains. “The standard Stonington measures 3,256 square feet while the Koons’ home is 4,664 sq feet.”
John’s team removed the Stonington’s rear porch and re-allocated the square footage to increase the kitchen and dining area. To take in the Little Red River views, they added a large, gable porch at the rear to the kitchen/dining area. This will give you more space to relax outside. Upstairs, the bathrooms were reconfigured and moved. The stairs were reoriented on the spot to give the home more of a grand entry.
John states, “We made changes for Walter’s needs, as we do for all of our customers,” John adds. John also mentions that Real Log Homes has built approximately 35,000 homes in the past 55 year. John, himself has been a builder since 1981 and has represented Real Log Homes for 13 years — experience that allows him to fully understand and interpret his customers’ wishes.
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The Koons own two other residences in central and south Arkansas, but this place was built primarily to accommodate their large crew which includes four children as well as “a flock grandkids”.
Walter says that he built it large enough for everyone to come together. “We started a Christmas tradition here where we gather and decorate the place top to bottom. We put up a huge Christmas tree at the bottom and made a big fire in our wood-burning fireplace.
The couple enjoy hunting for deer in the woods, and looking for bargains at antique shops. They also release brown trout and enjoy the beauty of Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Walter laughs, “I haven’t gone home on weekends in over twenty years,” Walter adds. “Though it feels more like home now than anywhere else,” Walter said.
Square Footage: 4,660
Bathrooms: Four full bathrooms
Log Provider/Builder: Real Log Homes