New Build, Timeless Farmhouse Feel

A Fresh Take on Rustic Revival in Soldotna

Would you believe that this country-style charmer is actually a new build? With a noticeable rustic edge and modern sensibilities, this Alaskan mountain home was a dream-turned-reality for homeowners Chanda and Brian Wahl.

KEY CONTRIBUTORS

Home Design & Interior Design
Designer Interiors, LLC
General Contractor
Schrock Construction, LLC
Electrical
Midnight Sun Electric, Inc
Plumbing & Radiant Heat
Journeyman Plumbing and Heating, Inc
Sheetrocking
Arriaga Services
Interior Painting
Accent Color, E & S drywall
Interior Wall Texturing
Sterling Drywall
Insulation
AK Northern Insulation; Peninsula Insulation
Excavation & Septic
Alaska Remote Builders
Well
Kraxberger Drilling
Flooring
Rug Bones, LLC; Andersen Floor Covering
Tile
Mildbrand Wood & Tile;
Schrock Construction, LLC
Gypcrete
Janes Brothers Gypcrete
Cabinets
Home Depot
Countertops
Linegar Stone Works (black leather granite in kitchen); Spenard Builders Supply
(wood on island)
Draftsman
Nova Design
Porch Posts
Techno Metal Post Alaska
Barn Hardware
Hobbie Farms
Building Materials
Spenard Builders Supply (Soldotna)
Doors & Lights
Alaska Pickers
Electrical Supplies
The Lighting Gallery by Brown’s
Fireplace
A Fireplace Store (Soldotna)
Metal Roofing
ASC Building Products
Doors & Windows
Spenard Builders Supply (Soldotna)
Paint & Stain
Sherwin-Williams
Plumbing Fixtures
Keller Supply (Soldotna)
Vintage Wood & Doors
Kenai Landing

While searching for their new home, Chanda and Brian fell in love with the picturesque beauty of Harmony Avenue. Eight long years after their move up north, the Wahls set their sights on Lot 8, which would soon become the site of their dream home. After meeting with contractors and talking budgets, Chanda says "we could see the doors beginning to open." Finally, their plans began shaping into reality.

Designing their home-sweet-home

Long before the building began, “we looked through floor plans and gathered ideas, but it wasn't until we knew the lot was ours that the final plans came into fruition,” says Chanda. Her inspiration? Simply put, “the farm girl in my blood.”

Growing up on a second-generation family farm in South Dakota not only prompted her to stay true to her roots, but was an unmistakable jumping point for the design. Incorporating a love for “light, mountains, farm (and) function,” their vision was centered on the desire for a seamless mix of these coveted elements.

The Wahls’ six-bedroom home is warmly infused with year-round light. One of the most thoughtful touches in Chanda’s vision was to design for capturing optimal sunshine. “The house has light flowing through it all year long and all times of the day,” she explains. “The way I designed the house, it catches the morning sun on the front of the house and evening sun on the back side.”

“Each room has openings to capture the view,” says Marvin Schrock, general contractor. “The interior is testament of a well-thought-out plan, like the three small windows in the kitchen that catch the morning rays in winter.”

But light is only one part of the appeal. “The master bathroom was strategically designed so that when standing in front of the mirror, the mountain view is reflected through the sliding glass doors of the master bedroom,” Chanda explains. “There are mountain vistas from every room of the house.”

The repurposing of old and new materials is a defining feature of this home’s interior aesthetic. Newer elements feel just as natural in the space, such as the black granite with a leather finish for their kitchen countertops, or “the glulam beam for the (kitchen) island with its distressed look,” Marvin describes.

While this mountain farmhouse achieves a balance of both fresh and upcycled accents, it also incorporates “function” out of necessity. Vinyl plank flooring was used throughout the upstairs, with its purpose rooted in “durability for a family of six with a dog,” says Chanda.

As a home interior designer by profession, and a treasure collector by happenstance, Chanda has been lovingly gathering many of the antiques for years that are now part of their home. In each corner of the house you’ll find a story, like the unrefined, rustic charm of their kitchen pantry. “The pantry door has the original door knob, glass and is complete with a creak of an old farmhouse door when it opens. I asked our contractor to please not oil that squeak. He just grinned,” Chanda adds.

From the ground up

“From the first day that my husband and I met with Marvin Schrock from Schrock Construction at a coffee shop and showed him our plans, we could tell that he caught our vision,” says Chanda. “Not every contractor that you work with is willing to install old wood and rusty metal and let you do some of the work.”

Early on, the build crew learned that “the rustier, the better” was Chanda’s unofficial motto. “Something that's beat up and looks like it should go to the burn pile has potential, and will most likely be a featured piece,” she says. “One of my favorite things to do is to lay on the sofa in the living room and gaze up at the metal roof. It is a beautiful piece of art with its varying textures, colors and history.”

Rustic sophistication takes on a whole new meaning with the thoughtfully salvaged materials in the Wahl home. This chic farmhouse has old-world character built, quite literally, into its core. Chanda had dreamt of their corrugated tin ceiling from the very beginning, but was initially concerned that “Marvin would think I completely fell off of my rocker,” she says. After scavenging enough rusty metal within a week of her proposal, the ceiling, and support of the build team, formally took shape.

Construction in the middle of an Alaska winter might not have been all sunshine and roses, but the team’s positivity and growing relationship with the family came as one of the biggest surprises to Chanda. “Marvin's smile and his honest, hardworking attitude overflows to his crew and everyone he brings to the job,” she says.

“It was a pleasure to be a part of the building experience,” says Marvin. “The Wahl family had great attitudes, wanting a home for their family and also an opportunity to use (Chanda’s) talents.” The Wahls worked alongside the crew; they laughed with them and even left encouraging notes. Building a family home called for adopting the team into their own family: “We now enjoy visiting with them and having them over to the house,” says Chanda.

Farmhouse for a lifetime

Their large mountain farmhouse was built to stand the test of time. Functional, filled with rough-hewn character and made to withstand a long, efficient lifespan, “we were able to get a six-star (energy-efficient) rating and still have the rustic feel,” says Marvin.

It was also designed to "age in place," says Chanda. Meaning that as residents grow older, it is equipped with sufficient space for walkers or wheelchairs, as well as amenities like the “curbless shower,” lined with hand-picked pebbles from a Homer beach, to cater to those with a need for easier access.

Years of dreaming would manifest into home-sweet-home for the family of six. “Our family loves the mornings on the front porch with a cup of coffee, listening to the cranes flying over, or the birds chirping in the trees. Moose love to venture through the yard and often stop for a drink at the spring,” Chanda describes.

Now perched on a scenic bluff with a panorama that includes sights of Denali, Sleeping Lady, Mt. Spur, glaciers, Mt. Redoubt, Iliamna and a partial inlet view, this Alaskan family house truly celebrates the beauty in “coming home.”