"A Woman Carpenter's Dream Home"Country's Best Log Homes, May 1997
Sandra Scott made this wonderful Utah home come alive for $140,000 with her cabinetwork and building skills.
"I guess it's been my dream to build a log home for the last 20 years," says Sandra Scott. "It was never a real option most of my life. I was a single mother making my living as a carpenter, working hard to raise my daughter Michele in the kind of lifestyle I had grown up in."
Sandra took up the trade-unusual for a woman but excellent for her later homebuilding task-of carpentry, because she "was looking around for a career that would help me raise my daughter. I joined the builder's union even thought I didn't know which end of a hammer to hit a nail with." After a two-year apprenticeship in Billings, Mont., she had the skill needed to find jobs anywhere she went, a good thing as it turned out.
Sandra met Blaine, whose position in a big steel erection company sent them traveling all over the United States. They moved 26 times. "But that didn't keep me from looking at log homes everywhere we went," says Sandra. "I sent for every bit of information on log homes I could find. Some day I knew that we'd build our own and live in it happily every after. I guess I dragged Blaine along in my dream. He got tired of listening to me so it had to become a dream for him, too." They waited until 1992, when they found Woodland, Utah, to put down their roots and make the dream into reality.
Soon Saundra was working with Precision Craft Log Structures, Meridian, Idaho, on the design of a milled log home and was hard at work turning her dream into a real labor of love. "On November 4, 1992, we began digging the foundations. By the 18th we were stacking the lodgepole pine logs we had selected." As is the case with many log homes, the logs arrived pre-cut, pre-drilled, and pre-notched. And each log was labeled with a number corresponding to its counterpart on the blueprints, all to make assembly as trouble-free as it can be.
Sandra reports that she, Precision Craft's local construction manager and his son put the house up. "I had them help with the foundation, the upper trapezoidal windows in the cathedral ceilings, the window trim, and getting the home weather tight," Sandra says. "We also hired electrical and plumbing contractors. But I did all the rest of it. My daughter Michele was my sander and Blaine helped me with everything when he wasn't working.
"We were able to move in February 23, with plastic on the windows. It was totally finished by June, 1993, and we were able to close on the construction loan only seven months after breaking ground. The total cost of the home, excluding the property, but including utilities, driveway, and garage was just $140,000."
Sandra customized a Precision Craft design. The result is a 1,660-square-foot home plus a wraparound redwood deck on the east and south sides. Sandra ticks off refinements the manufacturer's design department helped them make. "One was to place a roof over a portion of the deck. We also altered some of the interior walls to raise the loft bedroom ceilings. And we added a big shed dormer to create a sumptuous master bedroom with walk-in-closets and a bath."
Sandra and Blaine also turned two main-level bedrooms into one bedroom and a laundry/utility room. The rest of the downstairs is laid out according to the open-spaced plan with the kitchen, dining room and living room together. These rooms face an island with a raised wood-burning stove and entertainment center. The vaulted ceiling in the living room is 21 feet high.
From the living room there is a spectacular view of the Park City ski area 20 miles to the west and river valley below. With an elevation of 7,000 feet the temperatures can reach 18 to 20 degrees below in the winter. Sandra says, "We upgraded the walls from 2-by? to 2-by? and the insulation and sound control are great. There is no exposed drywall, just 1-by? inch spruce, tongue-and-grooved ceilings, walls and floors. We use the natural gas year-round, with a gas stove, dryer, and furnace, and our average gas bill is only $35.00 a month, a real tribute to the quality of our structure!"
Sandra's favorite room is the kitchen. "Putting it together was just so much fun. Everyone was having heart failure because I wanted black countertops. If money had been no object I'd have had all slate countertops. But I found slate-colored Formica. People also thought that having so many open cabinets and shelves all over wouldn't work. They thought everything would get dusty and cluttered looking. Well, we aren't eating that much more dirt, and I'm finally able to display all the things I love. I think it looks pretty neat."
"When we moved up here we took the lawn mower to the dump," Sandra says. "After mowing acres of land growing up, and tending countless lawns over the years, we didn't want to spend any more time on the manicured look. We'd rather spend our free time skiing or on our mountain bikes."
The home is built on one-and-three-quarters acres on a bluff overlooking the Provo river. "In fact," Sandra says with a laugh, "as we were building it, we'd joke that it looked like a 'log on a bump.'"
The play on words had repercussions. Blaine, Sandra and some friends were sitting around one night trying to think up a name for the dressers and other furniture Sandra makes. Remembering how the house first looked sitting on the knoll, they decided to call the line of furniture "Log on a Bump."
If they had to move a 27th time and build again, would Sandra and Blaine do anything different? "I'm not leaving this house!" Sandra cries. "But if I had to do it all over again, I'd put in a basement. We do have a detached garage at the end of the driveway where I have my wood shop and where our dogs Annabelle and Lucille live."
Sandra's woodshop should stay busy as she works on her many projects. She could start her own business creating cabinets just as she has with dressers. Her own customized cabinetry are focal points in her home's kitchen, bathrooms, and the home entertainment area of the living room. In fact, the entire house is a tribute to her attention to wood beauty. Sandra is a woman whose love of wood has shaped the building of her dream house.