PRETTY AS A PICTURE
Reclaimed 19th Century Hand Hewn Logs Turn Dream Into Reality
By Barbara Canetti | Photos by Jefferson Carroll Photography
Thirty years ago David and Cheryl Snell purchased a print of a cabin in the woods by artist Terry Redlin. For years, David looked at that picture in his home and in his office and always dreamed of having a cabin like that.
Fast forward to 2017 as the Baytown couple was watching a DIY Network show, Barnwood Builders, and Cheryl suggested they try to contact the show’s lead, Mark Bowe. They found an email for him, told him what they wanted and then expected to wait. However, the next day they got a call from Bowe, who said he was interested in a Texas project and the Snell’s property near New Braunfels sounded like something they could do.
Hence huge logs from a 19th century cabin in West Virginia were harvested by Bowe’s team and shipped across the country to the Snell’s property where their weekend home was, on land that also had three ponds and room for a guest cabin and a party barn.
Plans for the 900-square-foot cabin were developed and construction began. The guest cabin, which faces one of the ponds, was designed with one bedroom, a loft, a kitchen-dining-living room, and a long front porch facing the water.
The interior walls in the bedroom and bathroom are shiplap wood; the large open living and eating area are the old logs, chinked professionally to seal the joints with a synthetic mortar. The logs are each about 30-inches wide, stacked on top of each other for a smooth surface.
“Mark said these are the biggest logs he had ever seen,” says Snell, adding “everything is big in Texas.” They used 32 logs for the exterior — eight on each side.
“They finished the frame pretty quickly and then we started on the inside,” says Snell, a retired oil and gas professional. “We had been accumulating neat things for years and had no idea we would have a use for them someday.”
The bedroom is decorated simply with an old iron bed on an area rug and a small bench nearby. The room’s ceiling is made from a recycled rusted tin roof that has been turned upside down. They added a set of double doors out to the porch and an ensuite bathroom. A vintage double sink was installed in the bathroom, along with old style mirrored cabinets over the sink.
The kitchen also has a vintage sink and a Direct Action stove from the 1930s. Snell purchased a period reproduction refrigerator but, “everything else in that room is old and as period correct as we could be.”
The comfortable living room faces a stone fireplace and is surrounded by a leather couch under a circular metal chandelier. Recycled windows give the room lots of natural light and a view of the pond outside.
Snell said the cabin is just for guests, but thought there should be a place on his property for larger gatherings. So, along with Barnwood Builders, the Snells had a large 3,000-square-foot party barn constructed adjacent to the cabin. The wood for this structure came from a barn in Canada built in the 1700s. Snell had a kitchen, bar and bathroom built in the barn, which was designed with 18-foot-high walls. One side of the barn is all glass doors, looking out onto another pond and cabin. The interior is an open space under the massive beams. A bar, with seats for six guests, is fully stocked and ready for a party.
Over the course of the construction, the Snells took Bowe and his team to nearby Round Top to the antique show.
“Gears started turning and Mark and I set up The Boneyard at Round Top to sell old cabins, barns and wood to the public,” Snell says, explaining that Bowe’s West Virginia headquarters is also called the Boneyard. From that original location, Bowe has reclaimed and sold more than 500 pioneer-era structures.
In addition, The Boneyard at Round Top will offer 18,000-square-feet of rental space to vendors, many with international ties, who want to participate in the antique festivals.
“I thought it would be cool to build a cabin on our pond, and I was right,” Snell adds.
574 Main Street West, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
The Boneyard at Round Top
1465 North State Highway 237, Round Top
Jefferson Carroll Photography
10614 Macmora, Austin