Kelley McGuane’s large log home in Co Meath is notable for having been built twice in two different countries. It was first built in Canada before being dismantled and shipped to Gilbertstown in Co Meath and rebuilt at its current location.
Elley and her husband Aidan always wanted a log home. And more of an authentic Canadian version than the sort of “log effect” houses sometimes seen in Ireland.
“We wanted to build something different. We didn’t want a standard brick or concrete house and were looking for something that would create a beautiful environment for us and the kids, a space we would enjoy spending time in. After traveling in Canada and visiting a few log homes there, we realized that if we could create a blend of log home engineering with a contemporary flair, we could have something special. I think we succeeded.”
In order to fulfill her wish, she had to travel to Canada. On their journey to Mountie country, they met their favorite builder and chose a design. The first version of the house was built in Canada to ensure it would fit together correctly. Then all the logs were numbered, it was disassembled and shipped here. The construction team of four men and two women traveled from Canada and reassembled it at the McGuanes’ 1.21ac site in Gilbertstown, Longwood in Co Meath.
In August 2008, their new 3,714 square foot home was completed. And the total all-in costs were just as high as a new building of the same dimensions with conventional materials would have cost.
“We did a lot of research,” says Kelley. “In the process, we came across a Canadian home builder, Brian Roberts, a master craftsman who built to his clients’ specifications.
“We traveled to Ontario to meet him in early 2007 and fell in love with his cedar homes. We chose the type of house we wanted and he designed it. When we returned home he kept us updated on the progress of the house and sent us pictures of each phase.”
The pictures he sent showed how the wood was selected, cut to the required lengths, tapped, treated and installed. The logs for the walls are 16 inches in diameter and are mortised, or “scored,” before being placed one on top of the other.
“All the trunks were numbered and fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle.” The Canadian portion of the process took about eight months and in November 2007, after Brian Roberts and his crew were satisfied that everything was a perfect fit, they dismantled and packed the house for shipping to Ireland.
When the house arrived, the crew followed and construction began immediately. “The logs were laid out on the lawn according to their number. They all had holes and channels for plumbing and electricity. White cedar logs were used for the walls while red cedar was used for joists, structural support and the roof.”
The floors, doors and the rest of the furnishings were sourced and installed by local craftsmen. Kelley recalls moving in in August 2008.
“We didn’t have the floors or doors done, just the walls and roof, but our daughter started the local school in September, so we had no other choice.”
And then, for the first time, they experienced an unexpected feature of a new log home. “I’ll never forget how the wood kept making cracking noises as the house warmed up and the logs settled in. It was kind of scary at first, we didn’t know what was happening, in fact it took a couple of years to settle.”
The McGuanes have never regretted their choice, and their “fully lettered” log home is one of only 12 in the country. “The wood gives a nice feeling. It’s just a beautiful place to live and it’s a natural happy home.”
Arranged over two floors, it is accessed via a porch that doubles as a shoe room and leads into an open plan area that includes a kitchen/dining area with smoked oak herringbone parquet floors and a double height living area. This is known as the “great room” with wood-beamed ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The kitchen features a U-shaped Tipperary sandstone island with a quartz countertop. Double doors lead from the kitchen to a raised terrace whilst a conservatory with hand crafted wood paneling is also accessible from the kitchen. The master bedroom is on the ground floor and has a walk-in closet, toilet, shower room and French doors leading to its own terrace.
Upstairs is a loft area overlooking the living room with three tall windows. The front attic is used as additional living space, the rear attic as a gym.
Three en-suite bedrooms and the family bathroom are also on the first floor where all rooms have exposed beams. Two of the bedrooms are doubles and one is single. The family bathroom features a bespoke quartz washbasin and a pebble shower floor.
Mature trees in her garden include Canadian maple, red oak, sequoia and alder. There is also a single garage.
Cedar Lodge has been a source of curiosity for friends, family and passers-by since it was built. “We had so many callers in the house,” says Kelley, “and so many people came to look around and ask about it. Often they can’t even speak because they’re so taken with it.”
After many happy years at Cedar Lodge, it is time for the McGuanes to move on. The Co Meath home is now for sale for €725,000 through Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes, Farms and Estates.
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/see-inside-the-log-cabin-first-constructed-in-canada-before-being-rebuilt-in-co-meath-41937587.html See the log home that was first built in Canada before being rebuilt in Co Meath