When Virginia Sanchez makes up her mind, that’s it. A few years ago, she wanted a house on the river. And not just any house. She wanted a rustic log cabin where she and her husband Herman could host their family for weekends, holidays, and special events.
After purchasing land along the Suwannee River in their native Dixie County, the couple traveled to North Carolina to draw inspiration from luxurious log homes. Sanchez started sketching plans for her riverside residence and resolved to find a dream team that could turn her drawings into reality. She turned to builder Carl Colson to craft the two-story, 10,000-square- foot home from the ground up, and designers Dianne Davant and Priscilla Hyatt Councill of Dianne Davant and Associates to help her refine her house plan and curate a cozy interior.
“My brother didn’t think I could work well with a designer because I am strong-willed and opinionated,” Sanchez says. “But after Googling luxury log home designers, finding [Dianne and Priscilla], and meeting them in person, I fell in love with them right off the bat.”
The North Carolina trip—where Sanchez saw homes that were beautiful, but also drafty and drippy (she wondered how much harder the upkeep would be in hot, muggy Florida)—taught her a few things. Most importantly, her home could not (and should not) be a literal log home. That’s when Sanchez found Everlog Systems, Inc, a Montana-based company that makes concrete logs, siding, and timbers that look and feel like wood, but are low-maintenance and energy-efficient. For the interior supports, she found a logger who provided the sturdy local cypress trees that anchor the residence’s interior.
“In Florida, most of the things we do revolve around the water, but this project revolved around the Suwannee River and the nature of that whole area,” Davant says. “The home is infused with stone, wood, antler accents, eclectic textures, and warm natural hues. It’s luxe, but comfortable enough to make people feel right at home.”
“We didn’t want it to be so fancy that you didn’t feel like you could touch anything,” Sanchez adds.
Davant and Hyatt Councill relied on their North Carolina showroom for some of the cozy pieces they selected for the abode. But getting those items delivered was no small feat.
“The location is so remote that delivery people got lost, even with GPS,” Davant said. “We had to talk them in all the time. I don’t even think we knew the real address until recently.”
In the end, the struggle was worth it. Davant and Hyatt Councill say the Sanchez family was moved to tears as soon as they saw the home and began to imagine family gatherings they’d host.
“If you have a castle like this, but you don’t have your family with you, then what do you really have?” Sanchez said. “At the end of the day, family is what really matters.”
Interior Design by Dianne Davant and Priscilla Hyatt Councill, Dianne Davant and Associates, Stuart, FL
Builder Carl Colson, Carl Colson Construction, Inc., Fanning Springs, FL
Landscape Architecture by Kirby Roberts, Robert’s Lawn and Landscaping, LLC, Cross City, FL
Text by Paige Bowers
Photography by Daniel Newcomb, Jupiter, FL
Builder – Carl Colson Construction, Inc., Fanning Springs, FL
Landscape architecture – Robert’s Lawn and Landscaping, LLC, Cross City, FL
Cabinetry and island – DH Custom Cabinets, Gainesville, FL
Stools – Stone Country Ironwork, Mountain View, AZ
Pendant lighting – Quoizel, Dallas, TX
Stone wall designed by Dianne Davant and Associates, Stuart, FL
Fabricated by Hyer Quality Hardscape & Landscaping, Bronson, FL
Sofa – Burton James, City of Industry, CA
Leather chairs – Our House Designs, Hickory, NC
Cocktail table designed by Dianne Davant and Associates, Stuart, FL
Side chairs and ottoman – Burton James, City of Industry, CA
Drink table – Uttermost, Baltimore, MD
Table lamps – Oklahoma Casting, Ponce City, OK
Chandelier – Ashore, Inc., Dallas, TX
Area rug – The Rug Company, Blowing Rock, NC
Adirondack chairs – Dura Weather Poly, duraweather.com
Firepit designed and fabricated by Hyer Quality Hardscape & Landscaping, Bronson, FL
Umbrella – Simply Shade, Baldwin Park, CA
Slate decking – Tremron, Jacksonville, FL
Swing – La Lane Collection, Milwaukee, WI
Round drink table – Kincaid Furniture, Chicago, IL
Barrel table – American Patio & Fireplace, Gainesville, FL
Rocking chairs – La Lane Collection, Milwaukee, WI
Bar cart – Old Hickory Furniture Company, Shelbyville, IN
Dining chairs – Bay Isle Home, Dianne Davant and Associates, Stuart, FL
Hood designed by Dianne Davant and Associates, Stuart, FL
Fabricated by Robert Lindsey, LLC., Old Town, FL
Area rug – Feizy, Dallas, TX
Flooring – Jim Knight Tile, LLC., Steinhatchee, FL
Wood wall designed by Dianne Davant and Associates, Stuart, FL
Fabricated by Robert Lindsey, LLC., Old Town, FL
Cypress on walls and beams – Cracker Style Log Homes, Williston, FL
Flooring – The Floor Store of Thornebrook, Gainesville, FL