A rugged guy's home

DREAM HOME

Dream House

July 21, 2006|By MARIE GULLARD | MARIE GULLARD,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The spacious pine-log interior is reminiscent of `Little House on the Prairie' From the threshold of Matt Gurczynski's Harford County log cabin, a visitor can take in two-thirds of the inside with barely a turn of the head. This home is the real deal, log stacked atop log, all the way to a 28-foot-high, steeply sloped ceiling.

The 2,000-square-foot cabin was built in 1991 as a model for a log-home construction business. Gurczynski bought the cabin, which sits on 3 1/2 acres near Street, along with an aluminum barn, in September for $370,000.

"This is like a little cabin in Colorado," said Gurczynski, 42, a general contractor who lived in Baltimore until 10 months ago.

"It's kind of my style, though," he added. "It's rugged, and I'm a rugged kind of guy."

Indeed, the rustic interior is integral to the cabin's natural beauty. Exposed pine beams support the roof as well as the oak floor of an open loft in the cabin's rear. A stone fireplace dominates one wall, with a wood-burning stove installed on the hearth. Atop the mantel, a large model of a schooner is illuminated by track lighting affixed to a log beam.

"Believe it or not, it's hard to hang anything on these [log] walls," Gurczynski said.

Antique farming and surveying tools hang from large nails he's hammered into the beams.

"I can't help buying stuff that I think would fit in," he said. "I've got a grandfather clock in the steel outbuilding."

He also has a number of oil lamps, the glass shades polished and ready to use in a power outage.

While the interior looks like the set of Little House on the Prairie, the cabin was constructed with every amenity. Three full baths accompany the first-floor master bedroom and two smaller rooms upstairs.

A polished oak staircase leads to the second-story guest rooms and the open loft on the north side. Central air conditioning hums softly, keeping the cabin comfortably cool. And there's a central vacuum system because, Gurczynski pointed out, "the logs and beams and oak floor get really dusty."

His kitchen at the rear of the cabin possesses all the modern amenities as well. A kidney-shaped oak island holds a high-end cooktop. Forty-two-inch oak cabinets blend with the pine walls and warmly contrast with the cream-colored appliances.

A softer, more sentimental side of Gurczynski is evident in the window treatments - country curtains he selected and hung himself - and the display of family portraits sitting atop a mahogany barrister's bookcase in the cozy living room. A comfortable microfiber sofa sits perpendicular to a wooden rocker in front of the wide front window.

His dining room, tucked into a corner of the cabin, has an 11-foot long oak table, where he entertains family and friends with his homemade cooking.

"I had everyone here at Thanksgiving," he said, painting in words a Norman Rockwell portrait of a roaring fire and large turkey placed in front of grateful holiday participants.

A large wine rack sits in front of double doors that lead to a spacious back deck. The antique grandfather clock can be seen from the deck, placed by the open door of the pole barn, waiting patiently for refurbishing.

Gurczynski's front porch runs the 52-foot width of the cabin.

A life-size carved wooden Indian stands at the steps in silent welcome, while a wagon-wheel bench and hanging pots of brightly colored flowers hint at country hospitality.

On the porch of what seems like the perfect house for Matt Gurczynski, he sighed deeply, saying that is what his friends tell him.

Even though he travels 40 minutes to work every day, he hardly seems to mind. "When I come home, it's like being on vacation," he said, smiling.

Have you found your dream home?

Tell us about it. Write to Dream Home, Real Estate Editor, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or e-mail us at real.estate@baltsun.com.

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