- Associated Press - Sunday, February 9, 2014

HEBER SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - How does one build an 8,000-square-foot home and keep it secret?

Security and lots of it.

The home, which will be featured on a popular television series, is still under construction in Heber Springs and has caused quite a buzz with the locals.

Even the name of the owner is not being released.

The oversized cabin with massive timbers has lots of architectural detail and dwarfs its neighbors. Once inside, visitors are greeted by a 42-foot Western red cedar tree that appears to grow out of the floor. The highly detailed pioneer log home has been featured on “Timber Kings,” an HGTV Canada program, but for two area contractors - it’s just another day on the job.

Mark Smith, owner of Smith Drywall in Melbourne, and Anna Hughes, painter and owner of Designs by Anna, have been working on the log home and say it’s one of the most detailed homes they’ve ever worked on.

Smith said he was contacted by Paul Stinson, general contractor with Pioneer Log Homes of the Southeast, to bid on the drywall job for the log cabin.

“He wanted to know if I could tackle it,” Smith told the Batesville Daily Guard (https://bit.ly/1frR4cs ).

Smith said he wasn’t told until after he got the job that the home was going to be featured on a TV show. A film crew has been documenting the various stages of building.

“They shut the whole job down and cleaned up before the crews got there,” he said. “I’ve never been filmed. I got out of the way.”

The show, “Timber Kings,” features master log smiths at Pioneer Log Homes in Williams Lake, British Columbia as they build massive, multi-million dollar log homes under tight deadlines and intense pressure, according to HGTV Canada representatives. “Crafting these magnificent homes around the world requires a labour-intensive process to ensure perfection for each elite client. The homes themselves are all made on-site at Pioneer Log Homes, with each enormous log notched by hand to fit exactly into the next. The homes are then dismantled to be reassembled at their final destination, which can be a very dangerous job as the builders need to maneuver the 2,000-pound logs in often extreme weather conditions.”

Stinson would not name the owners of the home, and HGTV Canada only identified the owner as “an eccentric Arkansas millionaire” in the market for a massive 1,000-year-old tree to become the centerpiece of his new home for a whopping cost of $80,000.

Stinson said two episodes have already aired and he’s heard the Discovery Channel has picked up the show to run in March.

Smith grew up in the drywall business his father, Robert Smith, started in 1962 and has been full time in the trade since 1986. Smith said this home was by far the most difficult one he has done.

“There’s so much detail,” he said. “You can’t even imagine how many details are here.” Smith is particularly impressed by the tree inside. “There’s not many houses that got a tree in the middle of it.”

The tree, a Western red cedar, is 1,800 years old, according to Stinson, who explained that when Western red cedar trees get around 1,200 years old they start to die and are harvested when they are near the end of life.

“It’s a pretty expensive process,” he said.

Stinson said all the trees for the cabin are Western red cedar and were harvested in Vancouver, B.C. The home was built then taken apart and loaded onto 14 tractor-trailers and erected in its current location.

Along the staircase leading upstairs is another smaller tree that has some of its larger branches cut and provides a platform that will house a carved eagle and nest, according to Hughes. She was hired to do faux finishes throughout the home thanks to Smith’s recommendation.

“We worked together at Colton’s in Batesville,” Smith said.

Hughes‘ work can also be seen on the walls at the Italian Grill and U.S. Pizza. Hughes has also done many residential homes.

“A lot of my family is in construction,” said Hughes, who has been working for herself for the past 10 years. “People show me something, I figure out how to do it,” she said.

Hughes has been working on the three-story cabin since October.

Every room will have a faux finish including the stairway that leads to the basement, which Hughes has given the appearance of leather.

“Pretty much every surface of Sheetrock will have a texture or glaze on it,” she said.

The basement will house a game room and home theater and Hughes said the theater will have a copper ceiling and she will do a metallic technique on the walls.

“Metallics are really in this year,” she said.

Hughes has used many techniques throughout the house including one that mimics water.

The fun part for Hughes will begin when she embosses fish, doves, birds and other animals and objects to the walls. The slightly raised detail will be very subtle, Hughes said. Schools of fish will “swim” around the basement walls, pheasants will fly around a bathroom and doves will descend in other areas.

“It’s really going to be gorgeous when they get done with it,” Hughes said.

There is still much more work to be done on the log cabin that when complete, will have a fully-equipped outdoor kitchen, pool, elevator and man-made creek flowing through the yard.

For privacy and security reasons, Stinson asked the exact location of the home not be published as the home already receives a lot of attention from locals. Smith said 15-20 vehicles a day drive by with people taking pictures of the log cabin.

“I don’t think people know what ‘no trespassing’ means,” Stinson said.

And that includes a carload of women Stinson estimated to be in their 70s who wanted to tour the property.

A privacy fence and a high tech security system was installed, and someone is always on site.

“Security is really high around here,” Stinson said.


Information from: Batesville Guard, https://www.guardonline.com/

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