Evan Walsh, a real estate broker with William Raveis in Wellesley, dreamed of living in a log cabin. He even had his eye on one — for six years. When the listing price for the cabin, located on 2 acres in Medfield, dropped sufficiently, Evan pounced. Never mind it was just days before he got married.
“I told him, ‘I’m just going to trust you,’ ’’ said his wife, Stephanie, an elementary school teacher.
The home inspector didn’t have quite as much confidence. “He said to me, ‘The first call I’d make is for an excavator and then a truck to haul it away,’ ’’ Evan recalled. Instead, the couple cleared the large trees surrounding it, nervous they might crush the cabin in a storm. “You couldn’t even see the house it was so overgrown,’’ Stephanie said. “It looked haunted, like something out of a horror movie.’’
The 1,300-square-foot cabin was on the small side for the couple, who now have a 4-year-old daughter, Bridget, and a rescue puppy, Olivia. When their first inclination to build a log addition presented obstacles, they turned to architect Caitlin Struble, principal of Medfield-based Winslow Design for a more practical solution. They decided on an addition reminiscent of a barn. “We wanted something that spoke to the log cabin aesthetic but updated for modern living,’’ Struble said.
The result is a modern farmhouse with a touch of quirky charm. The front façade, painted a crisp white, features a farmer’s porch that transitions from the log cabin to the home’s new front entry. The entry, marked by a standing-seam metal shed roof, connects the cabin to the barn-like addition. The board and batten siding, run vertically, is in juxtaposition with the horizontal logs of the cabin while speaking the same rustic language. “We wanted a material that would mimic the logs in texture and scale but in a modern way,’’ Struble said.
Standing-seam metal shed roofs and barn-style wood details accent the front of the house as well as the back, where a deck is nestled between the old and new structures. “The deck acts as a courtyard that connects the cabin and the addition,’’ Struble said. “It is accessible from both sides.’’
The front door opens into a shiplap-lined mudroom with a ceramic tile floor that resembles old bricks set in a herringbone pattern. Names of cities are etched into random pieces. “As soon as you step inside you see the Boston brick,’’ said interior designer Karen Corinha, who worked with the couple on the fixtures, finishes, and furnishings.
Across from the built-in bench, a powder room is tucked behind a pocket door, conveniently located just steps from the back door. The vanity is topped with a piece scored from a neighbor, who invited Evan to rummage through his family’s storage shed. He turned up a marble countertop and porcelain sink from the 1800s that they had polished and retrofitted for modern-day plumbing. “It’s like it was made for this spot,’’ Evan said.
To the right of the entry, an antique door connects the mudroom to the log cabin. Its first floor is now a spacious guest suite. A doorway to the left of the entry opens into the kitchen of the large addition. The rectangular form was easy to build and suited the couple’s needs perfectly. “We wanted an open-concept layout with a kitchen, dining room, and family room that ran front to back,’’ Evan said. The open layout mimics that of the log cabin but “expanded in size,’’ Struble said. It’s also an entertainer’s dream.
The color and material palette — welcoming white accented by rich woods — is consistent throughout the home. Knotty hickory floors ground the light-filled addition. “They’re the roughest-looking boards we could find without doing reclaimed ones,’’ Evan said. Shiplap painted Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White’’ is everywhere. There is also a multitude of reclaimed antique beams with quite the backstory.
Intent on incorporating reclaimed lumber, Evan contacted a friend he knew had some. He did not, however, know their provenance. The beams, which the friend gifted the couple, were salvaged from Paul Revere’s Copper Rolling Mill in Canton, the future site of the Paul Revere Museum. “His generosity was incredible; it means so much to have these parts of our country’s history in our house,’’ Evan said.
Beams framing the kitchen’s trio of front-facing windows create a focal point that is echoed on a smaller scale on a side window. Old wood also trims the range hood. Copper plumbing fixtures and hardware take cues from the beams’ origins. The 10-foot-long walnut island, which boasts X-details like those found on barn doors, allows ample prep space and a place for family and friends to gather.
The dining area features another piece of history, this time personal. Evan’s great-grandfather Evée LeBlanc, for whom Evan is named, handmade the Chippendale-style dining chairs more than a century ago. LeBlanc was a well-known captain who pioneered rod-and-reel tuna fishing in Nova Scotia. “Being surrounded by things from my ancestors has always been a part of my life,’’ Evan said. The couple even toted a chair to the furniture store when they went table shopping to ensure the right look and feel.
The vaulted ceiling in the family room, delineated with reclaimed beams, soars to nearly 20 feet. Large windows on all three walls frame the rural landscape, where the family spot fox, deer, and other wildlife. “There’s a sense of transparency across the house,’’ Struble said. “Light passes from one end to the other very easily.’’
Two sets of French doors topped with transom windows flank the fireplace, which has a fieldstone surround that ties to the fireplace in the log cabin. The couple considered a fieldstone chimney, but opted for shiplap, a more budget-friendly material. Ultimately, it made the perfect backdrop for the antique oxen yoke that had been sitting in the basement of Evan’s parents’ lake house.
An Oriental-style rug adds color and warmth underfoot, and is as durable as the leather sofas. “I tell clients to splurge in the family room because it’s the space that gets the most wear,’’ Corinha said. As for the wrought-iron chandelier, it had to be delicate enough to see through but substantial enough to hold the space. “I told them, ‘When it arrives you’ll think the size is crazy, but that’s what we need,’ ’’ she said.
Switchback stairs to the second floor double as an overlook, complete with bar-top rail, during Super Bowl parties. Struble recalled that during the design process, the couple envisioned their daughter pausing on the landing on Christmas morning, awed by the presents under the tree.
A pass-through office and laundry lead to the log cabin, where the second-story loft has been transformed into Bridget’s playroom. Stephanie calls the sun-drenched master bedroom, which is located on the addition side, her “Zen den.’’ She is drawn to its minimal simplicity.
The couple’s favorite place is the porch swing, which was a wedding gift. It’s where they talk, look at the woods, and make life decisions. “This house represents a fresh start for us,’’ Stephanie said. “To be here in our dream home, in our dream spot, we feel really lucky.’’
Architect Winslow Design
Interior Designer Corinha Design
Contractor Darrick Ferguson Builders
View additional photos of the home below:
Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at StyleCarrot.com. Send comments to Address@globe.com. Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @globehomes.