Back from the garden

HURON The little log cabin in the back of the woods takes on an entirely new experience when you tou
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



The little log cabin in the back of the woods takes on an entirely new experience when you tour the home of Mary Jones and her family.

The Jones family's lovely log cabin is located on a beautiful parcel of land overlooking the Huron River, and sits on the grounds of the nationally acclaimed culinary vegetable institute, Veggie U.

You must wind around tall trees, while taking the short drive on the gravel road that runs off of Ohio 13, to reach the approximate 3,700-square-foot residence. With birds singing and calm water flowing in the river, the cabin appears as if in a field of dreams.

It may not actually be a field of dreams, but more like a farm of dreams, as the property is owned by Mary's husband, Lee, whose family has owned the 7-acre property for more than five decades.

Lee and his family own the Culinary Vegetable Institute and Chef's Garden. Mary is the director of the Culinary Vegetable Institute.

The couple and their son, Aaron, along with their two dogs, live in the cabin, which sits adjacent to Veggie U.

Getting the feeling of openness and having each room flow, was the goal in building their home. And it was achieved.

"We entertain frequently at our home and wanted to have a house that is open. We wanted to make sure the kitchen flowed with the living room. The rooms should flow together," Mary said, while adding that "we have guest chefs that come in from all over the country and we entertain them here in our house."

Not only do they flow together well, but the two rooms offer a glimpse of elegant country living, mixed with rustic charm. They accomplished the feat by trying to keep all of the work local.

"We worked with a local architect, Dan Frederick from Milan, and got most of the materials locally," Mary said. "I like old barns and the openness of a barn. My husband and I both liked the same things in that regard. We thought it would be neat to get an old barn and rebuild it."

A breathtaking kitchen is every chef's or baker's dream. Of course it is vegetable-themed, as Norwalk artist Jan Fegley has painted vegetables on the tiles over the stove.

The couple has managed to incorporate porcelain tiles, granite countertop, spice racks, a breakfast bar and Viking appliances to form a medley of cooking, eating and vegetable harmony. A warming drawer, wine cooler and plenty of storage space for pots and pans (Teflon calphalon) also accompany the classy kitchen.

"The breakfast bar is great because it allows us to interact with guests," Mary said.

A hickory hardwood floor sits beneath your feet in the living room that contains a gorgeous fireplace and telescope to look at an eagle's nest. The living room furniture is from Arhaus Furniture, although not local, it is know for providing a certain look to living rooms.

"I grew up in Portsmouth and they have a lumber mill there that produces this type of flooring," Mary said. "This floor is like part of my childhood. The limestone for the fireplace came from Lake Erie Limestone company."

The telescope is pointed toward an eagle's nest sitting high atop a tree over the Huron River.

"We love to sit and read on our deck and watch the birds. We watched the eagle build the nest," Mary said. "Arhaus makes furniture I like. Their style is tasteful, rustic, classy and simple."

The deck and an enclosed patio surround the rear of the cabin and help the couple enjoy year around relaxation. "We grill out quite a bit and having the enclosed patio makes it nice when the weather gets cold."

Two bedrooms make up the upstairs of the cabin, but a finished basement adds plenty of attraction. A pool table and extra bedroom highlight plenty of space.

"When our son was in high school the basement made a nice place for him to have friends over," Mary said.

The couple travels a lot and puts in long hours at their respective jobs. But their log cabin in the woods makes being at home a relaxing experience, they said.