July-August 2019 | Home & Garden

A Modern Take

A log home overlooking Deep Creek Lake is updated to create a clean-lined getaway for a Silver Spring family

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Opening to the dining area and great room, the entrance hall incorporates a sliding barn door on one side to access the refurbished master suite. A new staircase ascends to a second-level sitting area between two bedrooms. Its reclaimed white oak treads match the floors on the main level. Photo by by Erik Kvalsvik.


As a teenager, Michael Svilar enjoyed waterskiing with friends on the lakes in far western Maryland. Decades later, he and his wife, Suzana Cado, rediscovered the area when their son and daughter were attending nearby summer camps. “We went back often with friends to go golfing and skiing at a local resort even after the camps had ended,” Svilar says. “Those trips led us to decide to buy a second home there.”

The couple recently spent nearly a year renovating a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom log house that looks as rustic on the outside as the cabins built long ago on the American frontier. But a look inside this 5,220-square-foot vacation retreat reveals flowing light-filled spaces that offer every type of modern convenience. Visible from the entranceway is a two-story great room, where the rear wall of glass frames peaceful water views.


At the rear of the log house, new glass doors provide access to the elevated deck. Elegant steel and cable railings replaced original timbers to reveal more of the lake views. Photo by by Erik Kvalsvik.


Svilar and Cado, who live in Silver Spring, chose the property for its location overlooking Deep Creek Lake in the Allegheny Mountains. “We like that it’s cooler at the lake than at the beach or [in the] city during the summer,” Svilar says. “It is a drivable distance, but yet you feel like you are completely away from Washington.”

Adds Cado, “It’s beautiful and quiet, with no crowds or traffic.”

The main draw of a second home in this part of Garrett County is the spidery 13-mile-long lake with its 69 miles of shoreline. The largest inland body of water in the state, Deep Creek Lake was created in 1925 when a hydroelectric company built a dam across a tributary of the Youghiogheny River and flooded the natural creek to generate power.

The 3,900-acre lake soon became popular among vacationers from nearby Pittsburgh, including the teenage Steel City friends that Svilar met at a summer camp who then introduced him to the area. Washingtonians flocked to the charms of the mountain retreat in greater numbers after the 1991 completion of Interstate 68, which reduced the long drive from the nation’s capital to three hours.


The walk-out basement lounge centers on a fireplace paneled with reclaimed chestnut. Photo by by Erik Kvalsvik.


Svilar, 60, the chief analytics officer at Lifelenz, a social media and software company in the District’s Shaw neighborhood, and Cado, 59, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Rockville, keep a busy schedule during the week. They go to Deep Creek Lake every other weekend or so and spend nearly every holiday and summer vacation at their mountainside log home with their grown children, Matthew, 30, and Lara, 25, who live in D.C.

“The entire family spends time there together, relaxing, reading, cooking, enjoying nature. We hike in the woods near our home with our two dogs,” Cado says. “My son joins us with his fiancee, Sara, and my daughter will sometimes bring friends. We also host extended family and other friends there.”