When Carole and Mike Schoen reminisce about how they came to build their home, they recall a series of events that brought them to their mountain home. The tale involves good friends, good luck, and good sense.
Carole and Mike had been looking for a piece of land along the Delaware River for a couple of years and were interested to learn that longtime good friends, Dan and Diane had purchased some land in Northern Pennsylvania. The land was on a small mountain, but the Delaware River was less than five miles away. They came for a quick peek and became intrigued. The site was a field of weeds, but the view was breathtaking. They were dubious about the choice but were interested in the whole process that followed.
Dan and Diane had to decide on so many things; style, builder, contractor, etc. After a lot of research Dan and Diane decided on a nearby home builder; Beaver Mountain Custom Log Homes with a plethora of choices and options to fit their budget. They chose the Classic Lodge style. The choice was made easier when they discovered that Beaver Mountain has been in business for more than 25 years; is headquartered nearby; offers tours of model homes as well as the manufacturing facility and is customer proactive. Beaver Mountain has even compiled a list of certified contractors who meet the strict criteria of Beaver Mountain.
Mike, a retired industrial arts teacher, had built his family home in New Jersey. He knew craftsmanship and quality when he saw it and he liked the look of the home that his friends were building. When he and Carole visited Dan and Diane in their new home after it was finished he looked things over and Mike liked what he saw. The house was quality from top to bottom. They had the good luck to have Dan call when a building lot became available a short distance away. “Did they want to buy the land?” The Schoens said, “Yes.” They were ready. They wanted a similar home; one that blended harmoniously with its surroundings.
When the Schoens started the building process, Mike claims that they had the good sense to never consider any company other than Beaver Mountain Custom Log Homes. Diane and Dan had already shopped and selected Beaver Mountain for their builders, which saved the Shoen’s countless hours of decision making. The Classic Lodge that Dan and Diane built was the main reason the Schoens wanted a similar home building experience. They even wanted the same contractor, Jim Cammer and his three man crew of Spike, Marty and Willy to build their Beaver Mountain Chalet. They looked at their friend’s home sitting on a bluff and agreed that the timeless look of the Beaver Mountain Home ‘belonged’ on the hill. They met with their Beaver Mountain sales representative, Joan Decker, and proceeded to plan their home. Joan who has been a sales consultant with Beaver Mountain since 1993 is well versed in all aspects of the building industry. Because she has such an extensive background, the Schoens had a knowledgeable resource when it came to overall planning and felt comfortable with her friendly and personal input. Joan helped them choose the modifications that they wanted and informed them that every home is custom made to fit the individual requests of the home owner.
Their builder, Jim Cammer, was also willing to listen and tried to please the Schoens and build a home that they would love. Mike has a little story about the fireplace that he likes to tell. He wanted the double sided fireplace to be a little different from the original plans. He wanted it to angle slightly off the foyer. He felt that it would open up the dining room and create a feel of more space. Convincing the contractor was another thing. Jim Crammer wanted to make sure that he built a safe and effective fireplace. That’s when Mike did something unique. He built a mock fireplace with a bunch of cardboard blocks to demonstrate the way it would look and that it was feasible and safe. Jim was convinced. According to Mike, “The fireplace that Jim installed is perfect.” Mike and Carole thoroughly enjoyed being able to have so much input in the building process.
The Schoens began furnishing the new home with a lot of the detail work falling to Mike. While Mike is retired, Carole is still employed as a teacher in New Jersey. She also coaches a varsity field hockey team that has won a couple of state titles. Her time is limited. Mike is a master craftsman when it comes to furniture and his attention to detail is similar to Beaver Mountain’s. He built a beautiful entertainment center that fits perfectly in the space by the fireplace. He built headboards for the beds for the guest bedrooms. A clever, three dimensional row of fir trees is an eye catcher on twin headboards in a guest bedroom. Another bedroom set incorporates wine racks for the headboards and the open mesh look appeals to the eye. His choice of materials enhanced the appeal of the natural wood walls. He built a canoe-look bookcase that is one of a kind. He hung skis on a wall where he had asked for the wood panels to run diagonally to allow the skis to be showcased. A bear from Vermont stands by the fireplace. A rug with the perfect color scheme is arranged in front of the sectional couch that creates a conversation area in the great room in front of the fireplace. Mike and Carole find their treasures on week-end forays to interesting shops and enjoy it immensely. Because he works in wood and visualizes well, Mike was able to help achieve the look of simple elegance that permeates the home. The more one looks, the more unexpected treasures you unearth. The details are eye catching and interesting. Every item in the home has its own story. All through the house you are aware of the fine taste in Carole’s decorating, with the personal touches that makes the house a warm inviting home.
Mike is currently enjoying the building process vicariously as he watches yet another Beaver Mountain Custom Log Home go up on the hillside. Friends are constructing a new home on the same road. Mike drops in and chats with the contractor who just happens to be Jim Cammer. A different style home is going up, but when it is done, it will say, “Beaver Mountain”, to the discerning.
Mike and Carole often sit on the deck, off the living area, and look at the morning mist rising from the valley. They are nestled between the Catskills, the Adirondacks and the Endless Mountains that run through Northeastern Pennsylvania. They claim that they can even see purple hills if the light is just right.
The Schoens currently spend about 50% of their time in the mountains, but in a few years, they expect to be a permanent fixture at their hillside home. Some outside details are still being worked on. Mike admitted that he had lost a couple of young trees to deer and he wants to create a garden area below his deck. It’s not work to Mike. He is enjoying the whole adventure. He did admit that he was pushy for completion this time and laughingly recalls living with a plywood floor for years in New Jersey until he found time to finish it. This time, he wanted everything done as soon as possible. It might be because he has time to finish projects now, but it could also be that he and Carole are living their dream.