Upon entering a custom-carved spruce log home, striking architecture and interior design features await.
Piles of huge, chiseled Engelmann white spruce trees make up the towering two-story walls in the main living quarters of the 4,288-square-foot home.
A beautiful 6,000-pound soapstone wood-burning fireplace is a centerpiece.
The home in Genoa Township near Howell is a wonder in wood.
Homeowner Steve Berger’s kids and their friends have nicknamed it the “Wilderness lodge.”
Some of the logs are 40 feet long and nearly 23 inches in diameter.
The Berger family’s interior design tastes are sophisticated, and the furnishings, decorations and fixtures do well reflecting their hobbies — fly fishing, making things, skiing and snowboarding, clothing design and outdoor adventures to name a few.
“The kid’s call it that, because this is a place you would pay for to stay at on a vacation,” Berger said.
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A series of pitched pine ceilings meet one another more than two-stories up in the main open-concept living area. The main room features four seating areas around the massive fireplace, which are open to the kitchen and dining room. The second floor is edged by a wood balcony, open to the living room.
“We tried to create little vignettes with the sitting areas, each one has it own unique view and feel, instead of having one living room,” Berger said.
A long, snaking couch creates one unique living space. It is one of his favorite pieces.
“It has zippers and hinges, so you can spin it into a circle,” or change its shape, he said. He said other couches like his are on display in museums.
Another sitting area features a 1942 Steinway baby grand piano that has been played by family members for generations.
“It’s one of the most special pieces of furniture, because my father learned on it and now my son plays it,” Berger said.
Cow skin rugs help create a few distinct areas.
A kayak Berger built and a shark are displayed on a large ledge. Fishing and hunting mounts are displayed throughout the house.
The dining room table is made to look like a antique piece of factory equipment, with cranks and a treated copper tabletop.
It is reminiscent of a vacation lodge some place far away, like Yellowstone Park, Yosemite or northern Michigan.
A waterfall flows into a pond and garden, bringing a sense of serenity to the 5-acre property.
“We designed the pond to echo the house, so you feel like you’re on a much bigger piece of land, even though it’s already 5 acres,” Berger said.
Each of the bedrooms has a loft. His kids slept in theirs when they were younger. The master bedroom’s loft is where they keep a massage table.
“It was a little like having your own tree fort in your house that is made out of trees anyway,” he said.
A walk-out basement features more living spaces and a view of the pond and waterfall. It has a bar and TV room. There is also a video-game-like system that simulates golf, hunting and other activities.
“We tried to put something interesting in every room of the house,” Berger said.
Not your average build
He said the way the house was constructed — he is not the original owner but has done a lot of renovations — is “more unique than some of the log homes you see.”
It is a Swedish cope log home. Each log is custom carved to fit the log it rests on.
“One log nests on another one,” he said.
He said the home was designed in Michigan, built in Alberta, Canada, disassembled, numbered, trucked back to Michigan and then rebuilt on the property.
Several large spruce columns that bear the weight of the structure can be adjusted and the house re-leveled, as the wood dries, shrinks and settles.
The 6,000-pound fireplace is large enough that it has its own concrete foundation and was built with the house.
Listing agent Dylan Tent said producing such a structure today would cost closer to $2 million.
The 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom home is listed for $999,999.
“There aren’t as many logs that large left,” Tent said.
He said he’s a helicopter pilot who is willing to take potential buyers on a helicopter tour of the property.
Have an idea for a Cool Space? Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timar at 517-548-7148 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wonder in wood home:
Where: 3929 Timber Green Court in Genoa Township
Square feet: 4,288
Key features: Engelmann spruce log home on 5 acres, soapstone wood burning fireplace, lodge-like decor and landscaping
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