A cabin in the woods just right for her The signs are there: a huge friendly dog, a rocking-chair porch

Dream home

October 19, 1997|By Samantha Kappalman | Samantha Kappalman,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Up the long grassy path and down the rocky driveway stands an unpretentious log cabin surrounded by woods.

Maybe it's the hand-painted welcome sign on the front door, the rocking chairs on the front porch or maybe it's Bull, the golden retriever-Saint Bernard mix, who's waiting to greet visitors with all of his 125 pounds. Whatever it may be, Sue Geiman calls it home.

Geiman, 54 and widowed, has lived for the better part of the last 30 years in a simple, comfortable house on 6 acres in Granite, in northwest Baltimore County.

But ever since her childhood days at a sleep-away camp she always dreamed of one day living in a log cabin.

From time to time she would gather information, but would never follow through on the dream. Then, three years ago she met a representative of Amer-Link, a North Carolina company that designs log cabins, and the dream began to unfold.

Her son, Frank Geiman, along with friend Robert Service, built the 1,300-square-foot cabin on weekends over three years. Frank Geiman used his many years of carpentry in designing doors and the staircase. The homesite was cleared in April 1994, and she moved into the cabin in April.

"This wooded area was always a place I came to when I wanted to be alone," she said. "I always loved log cabins because I lived in them when I went to camp."

The shell of the house was shipped from North Carolina, and Frank Geiman's first task was to unload a tractor-trailer stacked with logs and place them at the site.

Upon entering the living room, the wood-burning stove and piano are noticeable along with the hardwood floors and the skylights above the loft. The numerous windows give the room the "open feeling" that Mrs. Geiman desired.

The cabin is accented with wreaths and decorative plates, creating a warm, comfortable atmosphere. The lighting in the hallway between the kitchen and the living room is provided by wall-mounted, hand lanterns backed by copper pans. The lanterns give off a dull light as if still fueled by kerosene.

"This is a place where I'm perfectly content and at peace," she said. "If I didn't have to work, I'd never leave the house."

She teaches horseback riding at Garrison Forest School, a private girls' school in Owings Mills. She has two horses and two ponies in a barn near her previous house -- occupied since May by Frank Geiman and his wife, Michele.

Mrs. Geiman's cabin has all the conveniences of a modern home. She has two full baths, a guest room, an electric range and her first dishwasher.

Each room bears the touch of either mother or son. Underneath the wood-burning stove is Pennsylvania bluestone Frank Geiman got from a local quarry.

The doors to her room on the second floor and the first-floor guest room resemble unpainted barn doors with crossed wood slats. Likewise, her walk-in closet has the same-styled door, which her son designed and built.

The steps of the handcrafted staircase are made from white pine logs Frank Geiman and his friend, Robert, got from a local lumber mill. The railing, also white pine, was cut from the woods near the cabin.

"It took one day for every two logs. I cut the flat face with a chain saw and took the bark off. Then I sanded it and put it in place," her son said. "After they were in place, I would go to the next step. It took a week to put them all in place; there are 14 steps."

The deck was built with yellow pine. The stone driveway continues around the house and ends under the deck, forming a circular driveway in which her 4-by-4 vehicle is easily maneuvered.

About a year into building the house, which cost $130,000 for materials, her son decided to start his own construction business. "This is something that I'm proud to say -- I built it," he said. "In construction, you don't often get a chance to build stuff that is this enjoyable."

Pub Date: 10/19/97

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