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"Grand Lady of the Lake"

Log Homes Illustrated, September/October, 1995


A Coeur d' Alene Dream Come True.


Lake Couer d' Alene in Idaho is known as one of the most beautiful resort areas in North America and a haven for sports fishermen addicted to the eternal quest for a recordbook bass, salmon, pike, or cutthroat. For Howard Walker, who spent most of his life in the rush and bustle of central California, Lake Couer d' Alene has always been another world for heaven.


For years, Howard owned a drywall, plaster, and marble company, doing over a $100 million in contracts annually, primarily working on large commercial projects. Ten years ago, he began developing subdivisions in Sanger, CA, a suburb of Fresno,. His escape from the daily pressures of business life was his vacations to the Sandpoint, ID, area. To him, there was no place better on earth and his dream was to build a second home in the area for himself and his family.


The chance to turn that dream into a reality came when he located a 600acre ranch for sale near the town of Harrison. The ranch had two miles of water frontage along Andersen Lake and, from the highest point of the property, Howard could see Lake Couer d' Alene, Andersen Lake, and the Andersen River. IT was an ideal setting for a vacation retreat and he knew that no other type of home would fit so well with that environment as one made of logs.


Howard met a local dealer for Precision Craft Log Structures, was impressed with the company's product, and scheduled a visit to the plant in Meridian, ID. Jim Young, president of Precision Craft, recalls the Howard was interested in the company's "Dlog" system (round exterior, flat interior) of ponderosa pine, a wood species with a lighter surface color.


Jim started Precision Craft in 1990, although he has worked in the log home industry for almost a decade. When he started his own company, he know that longterm survival required a quality product. "We buy our logs green, kerf them to control checking and then both air and kiln dry them." Precision Craft has two kilns at their milling facility, which dries logs to an average moisture content of about 15 percent (many are in the 10 t o12 percent range). This is drying process reduces potential problems that can occur when logs change dimension due to shrinkage or checking.


"Precision Craft did an excellent job with the log package," Howard says. "I have no hesitation in recommending their product to anyone."


Howard thought he might combine business and pleasure by creating a bed and breakfast. Not only does the home front a lake that is a sport fisherman's paradise, it is also in close proximity to alpine and crosscountry ski areas, an important bird sanctuary, and a major golf course. He chose a B&B design in the Precision Craft plans library, the "Couer d' Alene," and used that as the basis for his residence. A fourcar garage and an additional 4,500 sq. ft. of living space was added, bringing the home up to a total of 13,800 sq. ft. It has 11 total bedrooms, a huge kitchen specially equipped to prepare food for large groups, and 8,000 sq.ft. of deck.


The central living area has a 27' cathedral ceiling and is finished with white pine, tongueandgroove decking. The residence is decorated in the "lodgestyle," which was popular for western resorts in the early 1900s.


While plans for opening the bed and breakfast are temporarily on hold, so, the house is being used as a private retreat for family and friends.


"This is one of the largest log structures that our company has produced and, certainly, one of the best," Jim states. "Everything that went into this home was first quality...and the end result shows it.