Looking for the country activity in the city? A two-room log berth in Northern Liberties aloof hit the bazaar for a air-conditioned $639,000.
There amid redbrick rowhouses and slate gray condos on North Lawrence Street lies the architectural concern fabricated of chain poplar timberline logs that was completed by artisan and owner Jeff Thomas in 1985.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Jeff Thomas congenital his log berth in the average of Northern Liberties in the 1980s amid afresh congenital brick row houses.
After about 33 years, Thomas is abrogation his hand-laid logs abaft and attractive to move into a attic with his accomplishment mutt, Sparky.
“I adulation it, but it’s activity to accord me the adequacy for the abutting 15 years so it’s advantageous me forward,” Thomas, 70, said Monday.
Thomas congenital the berth on four abandoned lots afterwards he and his adherent confused aback to Philadelphia, breadth Thomas had abounding the Philadelphia College of Arts. His easily array of aimlessly knew what to do, he says, abstruse on bags of Lincoln Logs as a kid.
“A log berth is absolutely a actual simple construction,” Thomas said.
Jose F. Moreno
Jeff Thomas pets his dog, Sparky, central his log berth home in Northern Liberties.
Thomas had some practice. He’d erected a agnate berth while active on a West Virginia collective in the 1970s. The berth is still there on 50 acres aloft a 4,000-foot-high abundance that borders the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.
For the Northern Liberties rendition, Thomas acclimated added than 100 poplar logs from a friend’s acreage in West Virginia and oak planks for the floors. Amid abstracts and activity (he had advice from two friends), it amount $50,000 and about a year and a bisected to build.
Outside, Thomas buried a baby backwoods of coffee, paulownia and atramentous walnut trees, breadth squirrels and birds congregate.
The berth appearance a kitchen, two wood-burning stoves, electric baseboard heating, active water, a washer-dryer, crumb allowance and abounding bath. (He begrudgingly askance and got a computer afresh so the berth additionally has wifi.) The top attic is big abundant for a bedroom, appointment and baby arboretum, which Thomas has abounding with plants, artwork, mementos and sculptures.
He brand repurposing calm abstracts in his art — items he scavenges in the city, like chains and metals, commutual with driftwood, logs and sticks. A contempo accession featured pieces fabricated from chewed-up aholic logs. “They’re admirable animals,” Thomas said. “They’re builders; they body dams and lakes and they’re ingenious. They advance the neighborhoods breadth they live.”
When Thomas congenital the cabin, his was one of the only houses on the block. Now, the average affairs amount for the breadth is abutting to $500,000. While he’s profited from the changes himself, affairs and affairs several backdrop in the area, he misses accompany and adolescent artists who accept back confused away. Asked about the alteration scene, he pulled out a composition he wrote about his awaiting move — and that of several others.
His is one of the alone accepted log cabins in the city. Given how afresh it was built, it wouldn’t be acceptable for a historical-preservation distinction, which agency a new buyer could breach it down, although that would aching him deeply.
In a way the absolute abode is his admiration to the spirit of Northern Liberties as he knew it back he arrived, out of place, yet altogether at home.
“I absolutely don’t apperceive what added bodies see back they attending at it,” Thomas said. “But addition new discovers it every day.”
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Published: December 12, 2017 — 3:01 AM EST | Updated: December 12, 2017 — 11:58 AM EST
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