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Michael McCarthy's Blog (14)

Springtime, Anyone?

I love the impossibly blue skies of winter, the skeletons of trees in the woods, watching my kids do snow angels, etc. But, listen Old Man, you've overstayed your welcome.

In usually temperate Virginia yesterday, the temps were 45, skies looked like the dull side of aluminum foil most of the day, and cruel rain seemed to mock the calendar.

But today? Glorious. I finally think spring has won the battle and nudged the Old Man away.

I don't have… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on April 16, 2009 at 11:08am — 16 Comments

One Man's Junk...

I'm often asked by readers how they should add character to their house. My first answer: You're building a log home, so it'll have 100% more character than anything out there...

But I know they want more; countless ways exist, and they include both design (built-ins, bump-outs, bunk rooms) and decor (a burled-wood mantel, for example). One way is to add architectural salvage to your home...that is, reused/recycled material from another building.

For… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on February 11, 2009 at 12:45pm — 4 Comments

Do Log Homes Have Souls?

As part of my job as editor of Log Home Living, I've been lucky enough to travel across North America and step inside scores of log homes of all sizes. Truth is, each one was memorable and had an impact on me.

Why don't I feel that way about most conventional homes I visit?

About a year ago, I wrote about the passing of my old golden retriever and how dogs make a home, even new… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on February 6, 2009 at 8:01pm — 29 Comments

What Would YOU Say?

We had a little fun with the back page of the March issue of Log Home Living...

Instead of using a (somewhat) famous quote that captures the essence of the image to the right, the editorial team and I came up with our own quotes. Mine? "Walt Whitman was right---there will never be any more perfection than there is now."

That's the way I feel about every day. It's just me (yes, my wife often rolls her… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on February 3, 2009 at 5:10pm — 23 Comments

The Spaces We Love...

It's so damn easy to write about great rooms and kitchens. They inspire us to clip pages from magazines and books and say breathlessly to anyone who will listen, "I will be the happiest I've ever been in THIS space."

And I believe it.

Well, sort of.

I would submit, however, that we're happiest in those spaces I call "Little Sanctuaries." I wrote about this in Log Home Living's January 2009 issue. Here's a little of what I said:

"We never had a… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on December 11, 2008 at 5:10pm — 5 Comments

Pretty Cool Gift Idea...

Scratching your head for a really nice holiday gift that's both DIFFERENT and affordable? (Read: under $50).

I'm a little bleary-eyed today, because I discovered that gift.

I was up until 2 this morning writing a book for my wife for Christmas (she's not a jewelry gal). Yep, a book. Hardcover, linen book jacket, heavy-stock pages. It's gorgeous.

Oh, one thing: I wrote the book in about an hour. And within 5 or 6 days, I'll have the book in my hands. It will cost… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on December 9, 2008 at 1:43pm — 10 Comments

Fall Photo Contest: Show Me the Money (Shot)

brightly colored leaf That is, show me the MONEY when it comes to YOUR photography...

Here's the idea: A photo contest! Now that most of the country is blessed with fall foliage painted in lovely hues of red, orange and rust, let's share those images with everyone in this community before the leaves fly. (And, if you haven't had a chance yet, check out Shelley's post where she shares the view from her log home… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on October 15, 2008 at 12:00pm — 9 Comments

What Was I Thinking?

Oh, those long-ago heady days just before the official start of summer...

June 18, to be specific. That's when I posted a headline here that said: "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Economy?"

I defaulted to my optimistic mode and read the economic tea leaves, which, at the time, looked pretty damn good. Unemployment was low. Gross domestic product was robust. And, hey, who ISN'T optimistic… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on October 10, 2008 at 11:00am — 6 Comments

What Are Your Plans for the 4th?

I've always loved this holiday---indeed, it's my favorite. The 4th, appropriately enough, is the most democratic of holidays. If you adore freedom, no one gets excluded.

We will watch our hometown fireworks surrounded by long-time friends and family. Earlier in the day, I'll march with the Little League team I coach in the local parade; then we'll head over to the firehouse, where local fire departments compete to hit targets with their fire hoses from 50 yards away----the kids stand… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on July 3, 2008 at 12:04pm — No Comments

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Economy?

It turns out the boogeyman lurking in the economic shadows may in fact be a...toy poodle. A story in today's Washington Post notes that, while some consumer prices are up (gas, food), the U.S. economy is humming along nicely. Unemployment isn't what it was during previous recessions (and it's debatable whether we're even in a recession), and our gross domestic product, while not exactly buff, is at least fairly robust.

So, what gives? Why are folks scared? And to bring it closer to… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on June 18, 2008 at 9:53am — 8 Comments

Would YOU want to live in a fire tower? | With These Views, Oh Least on Weekends

For me, the idea of a getaway is pretty simple: I don't need what I call the "Gucci Rustic" trappings of a mammoth home---plasma TVs and granite everywhere. Give me simple materials. I also like clean, open lines when it comes to design, and a communal space that leads to outdoor areas is essential.

Actually, I could even escape to a "fire tower" (see below: um, no, it's not really a fire tower, but rather a weekend "home" for a Montana couple). A photographer out that way… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on June 12, 2008 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Dog Days

I don’t count years to measure my life. I count epochs—dog epochs. It is said we might own six dogs in our lives and, if we’re lucky, they will teach us about the tenets of companionship and compassion. I am halfway there, having owned three perfect pooches.

When I was 11, we raised a barrel-chested Chesapeake Labrador retriever named Flip. While I did my best Huck Finn routine wading through creeks or bushwhacking in forests hunting Civil War bullets, the dog dutifully… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on May 17, 2008 at 10:00am — 9 Comments

Journey’s End

cabin on a mountainside My father-in-law likes to brag about his 100 acres in Wyoming. “I’m a land baron,” he says with a twinkle in his eye. “I bought that land back in the 1970s when it was going for nothing. Incredibly shrewd move, incredibly shrewd!”

Ah, but don’t ask this funny Irishman how much he paid for this slice of terra firma in 1975 versus how much the land is worth now. The answers: not much and, um…not much. The glory of Wyoming is its proverbial wide-open spaces, which, if you’ve… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on May 16, 2008 at 10:00am — No Comments

The Itch to Buy a Home?

Summer is almost here, and the living is...well, not so easy, right?

Those ominous economic indicators that the media speaks of have most of us trembling in our proverbial boots. We are afraid to buy an expensive dinner, much less a new home. But as a I wrote in the June issue (hitting newsstands next week), there's never been a better time to buy. That is, if you're in a position to buy.

I'm lucky enough to chat with lots of builders, financial pros and, yeah, readers,… Continue

Added by Michael McCarthy on March 28, 2008 at 5:10pm — 1 Comment

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