11 Cayuga Hills Drive

This Douglas fir post-and-beam beauty started life as the skeleton of a sawmill in Washington State, where it was deconstructed, then reconstructed on a dramatic site overlooking Cayuga Lake’s east side by Ontario County’s New Energy Works, timber-frame builders. The current owners have occupied it since its rebirth in 1995; this is its first time on the market. Though 1995 was really not so very long ago, it seems to have well withstood the test of time, both structurally and stylistically.

Located off a short cul-de-sac, the home has only a few neighbors, much privacy, and, frankly, though I’ve lived in and traveled throughout Tompkins County for years, I never knew this road existed, though it is only moments to shopping malls and Cornell. Turning off Cayuga Hills Road down a curving, well maintained gravel driveway, the home and its attached two-car garage appears before a small piece of the gently sloping 1.38-acre property and a glimpse of the lake.

Inside, the home’s double-paned Andersen windows look out over the lake from nearly every room, and a free-flowing plan could easily accommodate entertaining, from small dinner bashes to elegant cocktail events, as the great room flows into a  handsomely cabinetted kitchen. A massive brick fireplace anchors the east side of the home’s great room, a wall of lake-view windows the west side. A screened porch and wrap-around deck look over a swimming pool whose dark liner captures the sun’s warmth, heating the pool to several degrees above the air’s ambient temperature. The deck also commands a view not only of the lake, but also of a mature cherry tree full of fruit that looks as if it might be ripe in time for juicy Fourth of July picking. 

The master bedroom, which also looks out over the lake, is located on the first floor, with its own bathroom and jetted tub. There are three additional bedrooms and a full bath off an upstairs loft, and a possible fifth bedroom on a lower level, where there is a full bath, a family room and an area now in use as a fitness studio.

The quirks: Any home worth its mortgage has a few, and this home’s are all delightful.  The owners, one of who is a former firefighter, installed a shiny brass fire pole just as the beams first went up. This allowed it to be brought and placed in one piece, and it descends from the vaulted ceiling, through twin trap doors in the loft, to the first floor. A flying pig weathervane perches atop the two-car garage, gleefully responding to winds’ directional changes. And the house has its own comforting sounds, as winds off the lake cause slight shifts in its pegs and beams.

It’s a dream of a house, lofty with its soaring vaulted ceilings, and, at the same time welcoming, homely and down-to-earth. •

 

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