Extreme Makeover: Log House Edition

As you drive around Naperville, remodeling and repairing homes is a typical sight. Homes here may not be over 150 years old, but lessons can still be taken away from this log house’s reconstruction.

Naper Settlement’s log house was originally constructed in 1843. Now, the log house is receiving a face lift to keep the building’s historical integrity intact. Repairs to the log house include the fireplace, windows, door casements and intricate exterior cleaning.

The architect of the project, Douglas Gilbert, said, “It’s kind of interesting and exciting to do something that is a pioneer log cabin!”

You might be surprised to find out that renovating a log cabin from the 1840s is actually very similar to renovating a house today.

Debbie Grinnell, the Director of Preservation Services at Naper Settlement said, “I think what residents can take away from what we’re doing is that number one-realizing that you can always learn more about your house. And sometimes, once you fix a problem you might have another problem and you have to figure out whether its water or air or energy efficiency. (It’s) how you address different things and taking the time to do it right and that’s what we’re trying to do here, taking the time to do it right.”

“Don’t take shortcuts. For the long term for sure. And work with people that really know what they are doing. Sometimes doing that costs a little more money up front, but in the long term, it’s gonna save you money,” said Gilbert.

Von Dreele-Freerksen Construction is teaming up with Naper Settlement to maintain and preserve the log house. Construction started June 14th and will continue until the project is complete.

The President of Von Dreele-Freerksen Construction, Doug Freerksen, said, “Where some people like to do their work so that everyone notices it, we like to do our work so no one notices it.”

Colby Shaft, a carpenter for the company said, “There is no reason why any structure built now or maintained now can’t be around in another 180 years if it is properly maintained.”

Naperville residents are encouraged to visit the log house during the construction process.


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