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A Home With Room to Share

The floor plan of this low-maintenance Pennsylvania vacation home is designed with the whole family in mind.

Photography by Kris Miller

By Hayley M. Abernathy


After outgrowing their vacation townhome in the Pennsylvania Alleghenies, Mark and Donna Hall of Pittsburgh wanted a new home in which to host their grandchildren and extended family who often joined them at the Hidden Valley Ski Resort. 

After purchasing two adjacent lots in the resort in 2015 and pondering building a log home, they discovered timber framing. “We wanted minimal maintenance on the outside and maximum enjoyment on the inside,” recalls Mark. “Plus, we fell in love with the timbers, the truss work and the ceilings.” 

With the help of OakBridge Timber Framing, a family-owned company based in Loudonville, Ohio, the Halls designed and built their “mountain rustic” vacation home. Johnny Miller, president of OakBridge, commends the collaborative approach: “What we tell our clients is you get a better design for you if you start off with your wish list and have us visit the site.”

At the top of the Halls’ wish list was room to share. Their custom, open floor plan includes a vaulted great room leading to a large, eat-in kitchen with ample seating, nestled beneath exposed white oak joists. Double glass doors lead from the dining area to an expansive timber-framed patio overlooking Forbes National Forest. 

Mark and Donna also strategically separated the home’s six bedrooms from its living quarters and placed closets and bathrooms between bedrooms to control noise — for example: “If Pops (Mark) wants to go to sleep, you guys (the grandkids) can party all night long,” Donna explains. The home also boasts seven bathrooms, so that visiting family units need not share. 

Other floor plan wants and needs include: a hidden back staircase; a side entry with ski lockers in the breezeway leading to the garage; a third-floor kids’ loft; and open staircases to allow free airflow all the way from the basement to the second floor. Mark and Donna also chose to install airlock entrances (similar in concept to a vestibule in a shopping mall) into the front foyer and from the garage to prevent mountain winds of 50 to 60 miles per hour blowing in during their frequent trips out to the ski slopes only 200 feet from their front door. 

Since the home’s completion in June 2017, Mark says, “The only problem we have is tearing ourselves away.”


Home Details

Square Footage: 6,066

Bedrooms: 6

Baths: 4 full, 2 half

Designer/Timber Provider: OakBridge Timber Framing


See Also: Enjoying the Lake View Straight Through

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