After designing and constructing numerous log homes in Japan, Edgewood Log Homes® founder and president, Brian Schafer, was selected to represent the Spokane Chamber of Commerce as the Wood Products Representative on a two-week sister city trip to that country. After the trip, Schafer stayed on to explore Japanese architecture—he was enthralled by the country’s cultural reverence for wood and centuries-old tradition of working with natural materials. During this immersion, he met a master carpenter who invited him to visit his warehouse of sorts, right in the heart of Tokyo.
As Schafer remembers, the space was incredible—spanning just two hundred feet long and fifty feet wide. The warehouse served as a gallery, filled with incredible pieces of wooden furniture, displayed as artworks, and all hand-crafted by the carpenter. “As I meandered through [the gallery], I came upon a piece I couldn’t help but touch,” Schafer recalls. “It was like nothing you have ever seen in your life. It looked like a tree that someone, throughout several millennia, had rubbed on long enough to create a space to sit in. It was glass smooth, ‘like touching a woman,’ the carpenter said to me.”
In the context of this raw creativity and veneration of wood, Schafer became attuned to the Japanese architectural technique of blurring interior and exterior space. Where does the outside begin and the interior end? Can we blur that line somehow so that we can bring the outside into the house and enjoy it?
Shortly after, while on a ski trip in Canada, Schafer noticed a home that came close to executing this concept he had been pondering; however, the large window-walls in this home still had a trim. “As I looked at these window panes, it all clicked,” he recalls. “It came to me in an epiphany and I knew exactly how to engineer these massive glass walls—without the use of view-blocking trim or stabilizers.
“In Japan, a master carpenter is on the same socioeconomic level as an architect or physician. They are respected, sought-after, and compensated on a level commensurate with their skill and contribution to these one-of-a-kind homes. One of the many sayings these master craftsmen shared with me was ‘trim is a mistake.’ These sayings, as well as their work ethic and respect for the wood, will stay with me forever. You will see little—if any—window trim on Edgewood Log Homes®.”
Glass Forest® windows are perfect for homes located on sites with grand views of nature. According to Schafer, his clients have been asking for large window walls for years. However, a Glass Forest® takes that concept one step further, which is especially appealing to homeowners who want to capture the view, inviting the drama of nature into the interiors of their homes.
To execute a Glass Forest®, the bark on each tree is hand-stripped, allowing for all the natural texture, bumps, and blemishes of the wood to remain intact. This process, though painstaking, ensures that each Glass Forest® tree retains its own unique, natural characteristics. Proprietary engineering technology is used to stabilize the structural elements and set the trees into the massive glass panels individually. The windows are sealed from weather, water, and insects—rendering a stunning, dramatic look that is completely organic and unique to each client’s home.