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"Family Life in the Mountains"

Log Home Design Ideas, July 1999


Since 1983, the lure of Big Bear Lake, California, drew Ron and Tina Osborn year after year to spend their Thanksgivings there. The skiing at Bear Mountain Ski Resort in this winter mecca attracted them along with the peace they found from the fast-paced life of Log Angeles. They enjoyed the quiet falling snow, the winter sports and their time alone together. However, after years of renting, the lure grew and they began casually shopping for a second home there.


Ron happened to be in Big Bear one day in 1996 scouting a likely place to rent for that years family Thanksgiving when he happened upon a cozy lot that was for sale. Ron and Tina had seen a variety of preexisting homes in Big Bear in the past, but had not committed to any at that point. Ron saw in this lot an idyllic setting for him and his family to get away, not just in the winter, but year round. So, Ron drove over to see Bruce and Sharon Picciolo of Country Heart Homes to ask about the lot which afforded a stupendous view of Bear Mountain Ski Resort.


Bruce and Sharon went over the plans with Ron for the 1,600 square foot home that was already planned and in the process of being erected on the site. Discovering that the home was more affordable than the preexisting homes available, and that the plans matched his and Tinas hopes and dreams, Ron submitted and offer on the spot. Tina followed up later that week and found herself as taken by the opportunity as Ron. Their dream was on its way to realization.


Bruce Picciolo owns and operates Precision Craft Log Homes of Big Bear, which builds the homes Sharon sells through Country Heart Homes. The pine log home planned for the Osborns lot included three bedrooms, a large loft that serves as Rons writing office, two full baths, and a hand-carved mantel and custom built cabinets provided by Shannon Seaman of Seaman Brothers Construction. Other features include a wrap-around deck with a hand-carved storage bench also provided by Seaman, and cathedral ceilings.


Ron and Tina found Bruce and Sharon to be accommodating and professional. Ron humorously refers to himself as being an exacting and high maintenance client, yet he and Tina found in their periodic visits to the site that everything went smoothly during the approximately six months it took for the home to be built.

This thoroughly enjoyable experience contrasted markedly with the four-year ordeal they encountered when their primary residence was built in Los Angeles.


The exterior of the Osborns log home is all pine full-length logs, while the interior combines the warmth of pine logs broken up by attractive and functional textured plaster over drywall.


As the home progressed toward completion, Ron and Tina dropped in often to photograph and measure the rooms. This allowed them to contribute to the process by seeking out fixtures for their home as well as purchasing the furnishings in advance.


The Osborns frequently visit Ensenada, Mexico, where they participate in a 50-mile bicycle event between Rosarita Beach and Ensenada. During their visits they scoured about for many of the little touches they added to make the home warm and enjoyable.


Ron and Tina wanted to maintain a West/Southwest feel, so they also purchased many of their furnishings and accessories from Arte de Mexico, Los Angeles importers of aesthetic and functional furnishings. Among the special touches added to the home through purchases at Arte de Mexico are the very unique wooden doors mounted on the walls in the master and guest bedrooms as headboards for the beds. The process of pre-purchasing the furnishings made it possible for Ron and Tina to move right in when construction was completed.


The lifestyle Ron and Tina live is complemented and enhanced by the comfort of their home in the woods. The Osborns make this a retreat they take advantage of year-round. Ron enjoys mountain biking in fresh air. There are hiking and biking trails very close by that he and Tina can enjoy together with their two daughters. The family enjoys great skiing in the winter, and the children are becoming avid snow boarders. In addition, fishing and boating on the lake provide enjoyable recreation.


The home in Big Bear affords Ron, who writes for film and television, the quiet and focus he often needs for working on projects. His resum includes Moonlighting, Mork and Mindy, and Meet Joe Black. The retreat of the log home in Big Bear is something he uses when concentration is vital or when his spirit needs rejuvenation.


Tina also enjoys her visits there to unwind, either alone or with friends.

Since the completion of construction, Ron and Tina added a 12 x 40 game room with a third bathroom beneath the house, which is situated on a hillside. Stairs were added from the deck to provide easy access to the game room, a haven for both adults and children.


These additions were made at the same time the deck was expanded in the back and were also built by Seaman, who was selected by Ron and Tina because of his workmanship and his familiarity with the home. Seaman also hand-made the wooden deck furniture that sits on the deck, making it comfortable and relaxing to sit out and enjoy the surrounding nature.


Other amenities adorn the Osborn retreat. Forced air heating is economical and efficient. Ceiling fans are all that are necessary in summer to maintain comfort since the heat in Big Bear is never really overwhelming. A fireplace made of river rock adorns and heats the living room. Iron sculpted animals add to the beauty of the overhead lighting in the dining area.


In the loft is a chaise sofa, an item both Ron and Tina fell in love with immediately. They didnt know it included a pull-out twin bed, and getting it moved into the upstairs was complicated by the additional weight. It has since come to be known as the fainting couch because they nearly fainted on it after placing it in its spot.


The majestic windows which look out onto the ski resort are tinted. These windows were an additional expense, however, Ron notes the expense has been more than worthwhile. The tinting protects the interior and furnishing from the harsh sunlight known to fade and discolor interior carpeting and furnishings in Big Bear, where the sun shines, on average, 360 days a year.


Tina can get away from the high speed of Los Angeles in this pleasant and luxurious retreat. Ron, Tina and their daughters can get out of the smog to enjoy the outdoors, exercise and nature. Ron can sit at his desk, look out the expansive windows from his loft through the seclusion provided by the trees surrounding their home onto the Bear Mountain Ski Resort and let his imagination go wild. The fruits of his imagination entertain us, so we might all be glad Ron and Tina bought this home for the enjoyment it brings to them and their children as well as the rest of us.