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"Charm School"

July 2007, Log Home Living


Milled Log HomeWhen a major resort opened in 2004 on the shore of Lake Cascade, folks from around the country began flocking to the glistening blue reservoir nestled in the mountains of central Idaho. The word was out about the pristine slopes – suitable for skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer – and the 30,000-acre lake that welcomes anglers, sailors, kayakers and, well, just about anything that floats.

But the existence of these snow-capped peaks and sandy lakeshores wasn’t exactly breaking news to Doug and Susan Wikfors. Susan, an Idaho native, spent summers there as a child, and Doug had purchased a vacation getaway a mile from the lake in 1985, when the only development consisted of rustic hunting cabins and unpaved logging roads. “My kids have the fondest memories of growing up there,” says Doug, who plans to pass that parcel – with its mobile home and bunk house – down to his now-grown children.

So in 2004, when Doug discovered another lot for sale 50 yards from the lake, he and Susan decided to build a vacation home of their own. “We wanted a mountain lodge retreat,” says Susan, who knew from the moment she set foot in a log home it would be the perfect getaway. “The wood, the textures, the colors – it was just a very warm, homey, welcoming feeling,” she explains.

After interviewing three log producers, the Wikfors selected PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes of Meridian, Idaho, based on the company’s log stacking system, which keeps the home weather-tight without chinking, and their knowledgeable consultants. “We spent an entire day looking at cabins they had built, and the PrecisionCraft team really took a lot of time to educate us about the log species we could select,” Susan says.

The couple ultimately opted for 10-inch round pine logs, which their builder, Travis Tripple of LogCraft LLC, fitted together “like puzzle pieces,” Doug recalls. “You have to have somebody who has experience building log homes, because you have to shave here and drill there and make things fit,” he explains. “Travis is a master log crafter.”

In 2005, three months before their cabin (dubbed Sleeping Bear) was completed, Doug and Susan were married on the shores of Lake Cascade. Located just 90 minutes from their primary residence near Boise, the cabin continues to serve as an emotional touchstone for them, a place where they can reconnect amid a landscape they learned to love long ago.

“This cabin has really become a retreat and a refuge from the rest of our busy world,” Susan says. “Time has a different cadence in a log cabin. You shut the door, and everything just slows down.”

“It’s truly another world, another culture completely,” Doug agrees. “As stressful as things can be in the business world, things aren’t so bad when we’re here at Sleeping Bear.”