Planning a Florida Log Home | Sunshine State of Mind

A couple creates their own version of home on the range—a log home built on a cattle ranch in central Florida.

Sunshine State of Mind

  1-florida-log-home-garden Take a seat on the front porch of Kelly and Alida Fore’s Osteen, Florida, log home, and you’re instantly greeted by the sound of wild turkeys, while white-tailed deer graze in the distance. The setting is so pastoral, it’s hard to believe that the frenzied world of Disney theme parks is just an hour’s drive away.

Ask the Fores’ six grandchildren, however, and they’ll assure you that despite the seemingly removed setting, Mickey Mouse and all his friends really are that close by. Built on a parcel of land dubbed Turkey Tracks Ranch, the couple’s dormer-style house offers sweeping meadows views in every direction.

It’s a rural landscape familiar to Kelly, who grew up on the land and tended cattle there with his father until he retired. In 1986, Kelly and his two brothers each inherited a share of the property.
“My husband’s dream was to live in a log cabin on his family’s ranch,” recalls Alida. “Every time we drove along Interstate 75, he’d point out one particular model log home and tell me ‘that’s the house we’re going to live in one day.’ But it took nearly 20 years before we felt the time was right to build our dream house.”

In December 2003, with their two sons grown and married, the couple finally decided to find out more about that log house along the highway. After arriving at Suwannee River Log Homes in Lake City, Florida, they learned that the house Kelly coveted was Suwannee River’s Manatee model. They took the time to research other floor plans and tour model homes, but after looking around, they found that the Manatee was their first, true love. One of the things they admired most was its open floorplan. Before deciding to take the log home plunge, Kelly and Alida lived in a house where every room was separate. Because of this, they really love the main level’s free-flowing spaces.

“It makes the place seem more homey,” Alida says. 5-wooden-front-porchWith the help of Suwannee River’s design team, Kelly and Alida tweaked the near-perfect design slightly, moving the master suite from the second floor to the main level (a smart universal design move for the future) and expanding the home’s square footage from 2,083 square feet to a little more than 2,300. According to David Miller, vice president of Suwannee River Log Homes, the couple also added 2 feet to the depth of the house and a 6-foot deck on the dining room side, creating a wraparound porch. They eliminated a door from the back porch into the kitchen to create a larger cooking area with a double-sized window.

For the logs, Kelly and Alida chose 6-by-8-inch cypress D-logs with a saddle-notch corner style. Using logs milled flat on the inside allowed drywall to be added in some areas of the house. “I didn’t want the place to look like a lodge. Many people don’t like drywall in a log home, but we sure do get lot of compliments,” Alida proudly notes. “On our property, we have a large pond stocked with catfish, bream and bass,” she continues. “Our grandchildren love to fish there and we get great food for our frequent fish fries. It’s so nice to finally have a place to spread out and enjoy each other’s company.”