Barrington Hills is known for its horse farms and five-acre lots. Multimillion dollar homes are common. Log cabins? Not so much. But then there is this 3,924-square-foot log cabin, now on the market in the upscale northwest suburb for $795,000.
The cabin, originally built in roughly 1855, was disassembled and transported from the Appleton, Wisconsin, area to Barrington Hills in 1987 by a past owner who wanted to preserve it. That's when the 19th century structure got a thorough 21st century reboot with new electrical, plumbing, and heating.
Current owner Kevin Sherman saw the property, 62 East Surrey Lane, on the market in 1995. “It just resonated through me, the sense of craftsmanship and physical labor. I remember walking up the stairs with my wife behind me,” Sherman recalls. “We had to figure out a way to buy this house.”
An architect and general contractor, he also saw the potential to expand it. He tore down an old garage and added a two-story, 24-by-36-foot wing that houses a master suite complete with dressing room, office, and bathroom over a three-car garage. He designed the addition to echo exterior lines and design elements of the cabin itself, and added interior lighting and radiant in-floor heating in several rooms.
“I do think the laws of attraction were at work that day [Sherman saw the house],” says listing agent Lori Rowe of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “If it would have fallen into anyone else’s hands, I don’t think it could have evolved as it has today. Everything [he did was] an enhancement and a continuation of what was already there."
The home sits on 1.2 acres that have been cultivated with prairie grasses, wildflowers, and fruit trees. A pond and small stream also run through the property, which includes five bedrooms and four full baths. There's also a dining room, created from what had been a screened-in porch. New windows in the kitchen bring in natural light and provide panoramic views of the property.
The uniqueness of the listing made appraisal a challenge, Rowe says. She looked to properties of comparable building and lot size: a nearby home, with four bedrooms and five baths, sold for $775,000 in January, for example.
“I think we’re in the right range for what we’ve got,” she says. She also knows that “we have to find a niche buyer who appreciates it.”
For Sherman, who is moving to be near an adult child who now lives in Denver, the home was “an absolute dream," he says. "Almost every day, we pinch ourselves with how fortunate we are to actually live in this house. Every room that you’re in, you have this beautiful view of nature outside. It feels like a vacation home.”
Rowe’s job now is to find someone else who feels exactly the same way.