What piece of architecture says Northwoods better than a log cabin?

Whether you like the strength of the massive beams, the warm colors of the wood inside and out, or the cozy aroma of a fire burning in the big rock fireplace, there is something about log cabins that just whispers, “relax,” “warm up” and “stay awhile.”

Whispering Pines Log Homes understands the appeal of these homes. The Verndale business creates, sells and builds log cabins to customer specifications using wood sourced locally. The staff work out of one of Whispering Pines’ log cabins on its model home lot, and the company’s motto, “Once in a lifetime, you deserve a log home,” speaks to a dream that many people have here in the Northwoods.

Whispering Pines Log Homes started in 1981 and was bought from its original owners in 2012, by Rob and “Bugs” Weiher. The Weiher family also owns and operates JR Construction and Verndale Custom Builders.

The Verndale Custom Builders arm of the business focuses on system-built homes constructed entirely indoors. These homes can be up to 28 feet wide and 72 feet long. Once complete, they are then delivered to the foundation.

Whispering Pines Log Homes are typically larger and taller, and are built onsite by JR Construction crews.

Whispering Pines sales representative Dan Cameron said the appeal of the log cabin is alive and well. Changes that have been made over the years have largely been borne out of building code changes, while the look and feel of the cabins has remained mostly the same.

“Everybody has a vision in their mind of a log home. It’s got a great room and a loft and a lot of wood work,” said Bill Spar, another Whispering Pines salesman.

In the early days, Whispering Pines would provide a building kit and an instructional videotape and the homeowners would get to work building it themselves. Now, JR Construction crews put the cabins together, in locations stretching from Montana to Iowa.

Cameron said one thing that sets Whispering Pine homes apart are its air-dried logs: their logs are air dried for years, rather than kiln dried. He said that ensures the logs have shrunk down to size and are fully dried. Many of these logs are gathered by local logger Marcus Edin, and then milled in nearby Hewitt.

One of the company’s log cabin designs, created in 2017, stands as a beacon of sorts, standing out in the crowded field of cabin styles. The “Timber Ridge” log cabin features a steep roof line, large loft and second floor patio. The interior is full of handsome woodwork, yet the frame of the building is a conventional stick built, with loads of insulation taking the place of huge logs. Some timber aspects brought into the design make it a hybrid model.

Cameron said no two Whispering Pines log homes are quite the same, because of the custom options that go into each building. It all depends on what the customer wants.

If you’re looking to get a log cabin, the start-to-finish timeframe for construction of a turnkey home is 90 to 120 days. You can also purchase a shell package, where the structure is sealed, but it’s up to you to finish the interior. The design phase can take as long as you need it to take.

In addition to the “Timber Ridge,” shoppers can find other model homes on display in Verndale, including a “Hunter’s Lodge,” a small building just right for those looking for a sturdy, efficient building to escape to. A 3,900-square-foot log cabin on site is the centerpiece of the property, featuring all the log home trappings that anybody could want.

Also on hand is a model home built by Verndale Custom Builders. It’s a three bed, two bath home that looks nothing like a log cabin on the outside, but sports a loft ceiling covered in tongue-and-groove inside, which seems to whisper of the cabin style they’re fond of.

Open house

Whispering Pines Log Homes spring open house was scheduled for May 15-16 but will not be open as usual due to COVID-19. The six model homes remain open for visits by appointment only and a discount on planning processes are still available those two days. Call 218-631-1974 for more details.