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"Home for the Holidays"

Log Home Living, July 1994


Washington family seeking four seasons finds that all of them are Christmas.


A log home was the farthest thing from Duffy and Judy Dukette's minds when they decided that the time had come for them to leave Snohomish, Washington, because it was becoming too congested with people moving out from the Seattle metropolitan area. They were thinking more of a Cape Cod or a brick house. "We had dismissed log homes because we thought there were too many negatives," Judy recalls. "They're too dark and too dusty. And I didn't like the idea of being surrounded by a lot of pine."


Before settling on a home, the couple first had to agree where they were moving. Duffy wanted to be near the water, so they considered an island but discovered that island property was too expensive. Next they looked into Judy's choice: the mountains. "We were tired of the rain in western Washington, so we wanted to be east of the mountains where it's drier and we could enjoy all four season," she says.


They had visited Leavenworth, Washington, a few times and found it enchanting. Formerly a logging town, it had been transformed into a Bavarianstyle village to attract tourists by promoting that "every day is Christmas." Indeed, holiday decorations are up all year.


Northwest of Leavenworth, the Dukettes bough 20 acres in the Telluride Range on what was once a hog farm but had been subdivided for 13 owners. it has a spectacular view of the mountains and is studded with oldgrowth ponderosa pines. "Once we found the property, it screamed for a log home," Judy says. "So we began checking them out."


They met Jim Miller, who is a distributor for Precision Craft Log Structures, a manufacturer in Meridian, Idaho. He got them excited about log homes by showing them designs with plenty of windows to admit light and by suggesting that Dshaped log (flat on the inside, round on the outside) would reduce dustcollecting surfaces. He also reassured them that they didn't have to have pine logs, but could choose Douglas fir.


Duffy and Judy began planning. They had spent four of five years collecting ideas from various sources, anticipating the day when they got around to building their dream home. Their Snohomish home, which they had been involved in designing and building, was 1,900 square fee. Judy comes from a large family, so she insisted that her dream home have a large kitchen and plenty of room for company, especially the couple's two sons. They didn't see any of Precision Craft's stock plans that appealed to them, so they worked up some sketches of their own. They stared with a rambler, but Jim advised them that it would be too expensive, so they tried stacking the floors.


To take advantage of their lot, the Dukettes wanted every major room to have a view, even the guest rooms on the bottom level. There is also a deck across the back of the house and big windows, high enough so the view is still accessible from the loft.


The Dukettes say they had no problems with financing. Their bank in Leavenworth was familiar with log homes and knew their value.


Judy quit her job in December 1992 to get ready for construction. Builder Bill Guy had the land cleared and wells dug by the time the snow melted, so the site was ready for the foundation to be poured and the logs delivered. Duffy helped set the logs the end of May, not so much to save money as to be part of building the home. They moved in last September.


Since then, they've busied themselves with landscaping. They both love the house, although Judy says she wished she had made the bathrooms bigger. She voices no similar complaints about the kitchen, which she notes is five times larger than the one at their home in Snohomish. "I'm looking forward to spending lots of time baking and canning," she says.


A small inheritance has enabled them to retire early and fully enjoy their new home and its surroundings. Judy savors the time she has for herself, especially for aerobics and sewing. "Duffy used to be a workaholic," she observes, "Now he's having a great time napping, spotting wildlife, being handy around the house and generally just going in search of nothing to do."


She concludes that their new lifestyle has drawn them closer to nature and away from the routine they were captive to when they both worked. Indeed, without the routine and living in a community that celebrates Christmas year round, it must seem to Duffy and Judy that every day is a holiday.