AN OPEN GATHERING PLACE
The lower Hoor of the 2,400-square-foot structure features a bathroom, a bedroom, and the utility areas, llie main living space is on die upper level, where a vaulted great room encompasses a living room, a dining area, and a kitchen against one long wall. Curved trusses designed by Altobello support the great volume of open space. Furnished with clean-lined, traditional furniture, the room is oriented toward a large fireplace and a chimney built of the same stone that forms the building’s exterior.
“Even though it’s on seven acres, most of that acreage is forested and set at a fifty-plus-degree angle up to the ridgeline 170 feet above and behind the Kibbin, Larry explains. We are so tight against the mountain that our builder, Larry Gibson of Clayton, Georgia, said that it was the hardest site he had ever worked with.’
A vaulted ceiling gets support from structural timbers with decorative curves.
The dining area is cozy next to the fireplace.
The owners hosl many family meals on the screened porch until it gets too cold to sit outside.
“I wanted a room where everyone would be together” says Dana. “We all sit in that room, reading, talking.”
At the fireplace end of the room, a Dutch door leads into a screened porch. ‘I his spacious indoor-outdoor room is also oriented around a stone fireplace. The back-to-back fireplaces share the chimney.
“We eat outside until it gets too cold,” Dana says.
Also on this level is die master bedroom; a staircase leads to loft bedrooms.
At first, we talked about installing a spiral staircase,” Altobello says. “But we realized that it’s not so easy to negotiate circular stairs with a basket of laundry in your arms. Instead, we decided to make stairs that are an architectural element. They also balance the big stone fireplace opposite.
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Alrobello’s design places four tall windows on rhe great room walls. Additional light pours into the room via four skylights. “They line up with the big windows,” he points out. “Natural light is very important to that big living space. There are also windows above the fireplace. The shutters opening to the great room from the upstairs loft are left open during the day, bringing light into that area.”
Larry and Dana come here for weekends, vacation, and holidays.
“I love that it’s so remote; we have great family time here,” Dana says.
Larry says that one of their year-round activities is to hike in the surrounding old-growth forest.
“But our very favorite thing to do,” Larry adds with a smile, “is to sit on the porch and listen to the music of the creek.” Now that is cabin living at its finest.
The great room fulfills the owners’ desire to have a space where the whole family can gather.
This Maine cabin is enjoying its second life. Originally a Swedish pioneer’s homestead cabin, it was rebuilt log by log by the pioneer’s great-grandson and his wife.
Driving along die narrow, sparsely wooded roads that lead to Maine’s coast, roadside interests include makeshift berry stands, the odd sailboat for sale even lichen-encrusted boulders from far-off lands dropped in by glaciers. But at the end of one finger of land stands something truly unexpected: a nineteenth-century, handhewn Swedish log cabin (with beginnings nowhere near its current site on the Gulf of Maine). The short answer of how it came to be there has something to do with the Homestead Act of 1862 and Maine’s early self-promotion, but the longer answer is all about family.