New England boasts some of the most historic and beautiful architecture in the country. It also is home to a turn of the century estate originally owned by the Balfours. Not sure who the Balfours are? Well, if you own a class ring or a military ring, there is a high probability that it came from Balfour. So, now your asking, what does this have to do with log homes? We’ve come to find out from Real Log Homes customer and dance industry icon, Rhee Gold, that the Balfours owned a log home estate and working farm in Norton, MA, which he purchased and rebuilt as his new DanceLife Retreat Center.
Rhee was kind enough to speak with us about his log home project and experience designing and building a Real™ log home. The Center was to be used as both his primary home as well as a place where dance teachers and dance school owners could gather, relax and grow in a “home away from home” atmosphere.
His original vision for his retreat center was a Cape Cod style cottage community but when he saw a “for sale” sign just miles from where he currently lived in Massachusetts, little did he know his original vision was about to be transformed. Rhee fell in love with the rustic and natural feel of the logs in the existing structure and had hoped to restore them. After much work and research it was apparent that the building would have to be completely rebuilt. He chose to work with Real Log Homes Independent Representative, C.M. Allaire & Sons. “I found that in working with Dave (Allaire) that he was willing to listen and figure out how to make my ideas work,” Rhee commented.
Rhee was able to keep and restore the two original fireplaces, one that was built in the 1930′s and the other in the 1960′s. Rebuilding rather than restoring, gave Rhee a greater amount of flexibility during the design process.
Since the purpose of the center was focused on dance, at least one room had to be long and wide and the ceilings had to be cathedral, at least 15 feet, in order for dancers to be able to move freely and to perform lifts without the fear of hitting the ceiling.
There was also the need for a more intimate space where demonstrations, training and general gathering could occur. The scissor trusses you see in the image to the right made for an inspirational and beautiful space.
Since the center would double as his primary home, it was also necessary to have cozier spaces that gave separation and distinction between the retreat center and the areas where Rhee could feel at home. It’s obvious in the kitchen photo below that the spaces needed to be large enough for retreat visitors but when Rhee has the home to himself, the spaces need to feel comfortable. This comfortable yet open space was created through lower ceiling heights and an open kitchen and dining space. You can see one of the original fireplaces, which he had restored, in the dining room.
Another room that works well for both entertaining and as a more “homey” space is the living room, featured below. The wood is a stunning contrast to the stone of the second restored fireplace, which encompasses the entire wall.
Below are more photos of the DanceLife Retreat Center grounds.
We hope to have an update with more photos in the future and when we do, we’ll be sure to share!
In the meantime, if you have any questions about Real Log Homes or the DanceLife Retreat Center, feel free to call us today and speak directly with a building professional: 800- REAL LOG (732-5564) or fill out a contact form directly from our website. To learn more about the DanceLife Retreat Center you can visit their website or the DanceLife Retreat Center Facebook page.