We live “down a sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country”
When our daughter was in her toddlerhood, nothing would keep her raptly attuned to reading than stories in the Berenstain Bears series of childrens’ books: Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Li’l Bear “lived down a sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country,” and the tales-with-a-moral were integral to our early parenting.
A few years later, the dozens of Berenstain Bears paperback books having been passed along to friends, the early part of our retirement planning was put in motion with the purchase of a rural homesite in the Berkshires… definitely “Bear Country,” but certainly not “deep” therein. That was 1999.
Next: What to build there? In search of answers, we attended a “log home show” not far from our Brooklyn NY residence. There, what stood out among the many vendors of log packages and accoutrements, was the stunningly-produced Lindal Cedar Homes exhibit—not really “logs”, but so much more… Thus began our focus on the look and feel of the signature Lindal product, deemed perfect for Bear Country.
Most bearlike, as time brought us closer to decision making on retirement locale, Western Massachusetts simultaneously was deemed “not deep enough in Bear Country” for us, as well as “too cold” (like the other 3 Bears’ porridge). Result: the hills of Western Massachusetts were traded for a 3800’ elevation site on a sunny dirt road in Western North Carolina, where “We Support the Right to Arm Bears” is a favorite T-shirt slogan. Next job: fit our living requirements to a location affording 20 mile mountain views with a southeastern exposure—a floor plan and elevation custom- designed for the site, bearing the classic look that is so very Lindal.
Converting this evolving situation to reality became the job of Atlantic Custom Homes, our local Lindal dealer. Following our initial consultation with the Lindal design chief (including his site visit to our land in Waynesville and production of the initial conceptual design), the job of turning our dreams to reality fell to the team of Greg and Jan Buhler, principals of ACH. Focusing on conversion of the architect’s rough-but-stunning ideas, they worked with the Seattle-based design crew to create a cost-effective, finely detailed design customized to the realities of the exposure and the mountainous terrain. Among other things, the Buhlers’ strong endorsement of radiant heating during the design phase (supplemented by standard HVAC) has been a notable element of our satisfaction with the result of the design-build-live process.
Timed to our relocation from the New York area, three full-size tractor-trailers of house (per the manifest: “144,000 pounds of house” [not including windows]) was rail-piggy-backed from Washington State to Charlotte, then staged in two-hour intervals to arrive in Waynesville. Jan and Greg supervised every aspect of the unloading, checking each of many hundreds of items against the manifest as the materials were transshipped up the mountain in convoys of smaller trucks, all without incident or missing or damaged goods. Over the next ten months, competent teams of craftspeople erected our dream home “on a sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country.”
The dirt road has since (and thankfully) been upgraded to asphalt, but the sunniness remains intact, and the bears tend to keep their distance (while leaving occasional physical evidence of their presence.) From house planning to house building, the degree of trust and confidence that we placed in the Atlantic Custom Homes team was at the highest level: We always had the sense that Jan and Greg kept our satisfaction 100% in mind, and our expectations have been exceeded. We enthusiastically recommend them for their ability to deliver “on time and as promised,” their wise and timely counsel on our every question, and the friendship that never compromised their professionalism. They are always our special houseguests when occasion brings them to Bear Country.
Lewis and Dianne Goverman