"Designing for Tomorrow"Log Home Living, 2013 Annual Buyers Guide
After years of traveling 90 minutes between their home in Portland, Oregon, and Mount Hood to ski, Mark and Crystal Ryan decided to build a vacation home of their own. “We frequently visited Timberline Lodge while skiing on Mount Hood and admired the timber-frame construction and artistic accents incorporated into the historic structure,” Mark recalls. “We loved the natural beauty of the wood and felt a log home would fit with our mountain location. But we also felt it was important to build a ‘green’ home. Our goal was a residence that would meet the criteria set forth by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).”
The Ryans began by purchasing a lot situated at 4,000-feet elevation. After researching various options, they opted to work with PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes. “Because of the efforts of everyone involved, this home is the first LEED platinum certified, true log-wall home.” former president Jim Young says.
The Ryans met with PrecisionCraft’s in-house design firm, M.T.N Design, to formulate a floor plan. “Crystal and Mark wanted to use the entire lot for the 3,600-square-foot home,” designer Celeste Raygosa explains. “We designed the footprint of the home to extend to the allowable edges of the property. In order to gain additional outdoor living space, we cantilevered the deck onto the setback, which was permissible.”
The Ryans wanted the home to sleep 12 adults and still have individual spaces where everyone could escape for some quiet time. Three bedrooms on the upper level and a bunkroom designed for six young adults met this first requirement. The den, bar, loft and deck were planned for smaller, more intimate gatherings.
The steep lot dictated that the main entrance be on the lowest level, which actually is preferable for meeting LEED criteria and for accommodating skiers returning from the slopes. “LEED required there must be a shoe-storage space within a specific number of feet of the main entrance to prevent dirt and other contaminants being brought into the home,” Mark notes. “We also decided to build additional closet space and include radiant heat on the back wall of the closets where shoes, coats and gloves are hung to dry. The walls and floor just inside the large entry door also have radiant heat. This mitigates the cold air introduced into our residence and helps lower our heating requirements.”
Since Mark is a licensed contractor for large, complex industrial projects, he assumed the role of general contractor. He and Crystal hired Comes Construction Company, whose president. Jerry Gomes, had been a key contractor for ongoing renovation work at the Timberline Lodge. Many of the subcontractors Gomes selected also worked on Timberline Lodge projects.
Mount Hood boasts having North America’s only year-round ski area, and Mark relates that building on the mountain was not without its challenges. The crew excavated and poured the foundation prior to winter setting in, planning to return the following spring to begin construction. When the snow still hadn’t melted by July 4, they decided they would just have to remove it or they would never the project completed.
As the project got under way, the couple’s son Cullen was majoring in renewable energy engineering at the Oregon Institute of Technology. “Because he was very knowledgeable about the LEED criteria, we asked him to be our project manager for the LEED certification,” Crystal says.
Either Mark or Crystal, or both, were onsite frequently to select materials and ensure that the home was built according to their vision and specifications. “It is so important to understand what is involved in the construction and to be very clear on what you want,” Mark advises. “Be firm on your vision before you begin, because it is very expensive and sometimes impossible to make modification once you begin.”
Complying with the criteria for LEED certification required planning and research to locate specific products that would meet the standards. Fortunately, because of the increased interest in sustainable building practices nowadays, they found a wide array of options, from carpets to paint to tile to glue to stain. And meeting the requirement that most construction and decorating materials had to be purchased within 500 miles of the site was not as difficult as they had anticipated.
Planning and research ensured that the materials used in the home complied with LEED specifications. “We learned that a very critical piece for building a LEED platinum-certified home is thorough documentation,” Crystal says. “We have binders full of product information for what we used in the home. We also took lots of photos showing every stage of development and how things were installed.”
For their vacation home’s décor, Crystal chose an elegant rustic lodge motif, emphasizing comfortable yet durable furnishings and accessories. She attended festivals, auctions and art shows, shopping locally for vintage pictures of Mount Hood, Native American artwork and other unique craft pieces. Spurs from Marks’ days on his college rodeo team, old skies and a sled from Crystal’s childhood are just a few items of family memorabilia displayed.
In keeping with their philosophy of salvaging and reusing as much material as possible, the Ryan's took advantage of the availability of hundred-year-old elm trees that had been felled when downtown Portland was redeveloped. They were able to acquire a large slab edge to use as the countertop for their bar. By recycling this beautiful wood, they also were able to incorporate a piece of history from Portland’s Pearl District.
“This was a very fun process. There were very few things we would have done differently,” Crystal says. “We love spending time here regardless of the season. There is always something wonderful to do. In the summer, we see more of nature and enjoy hiking and picking huckleberries. And of course, in the winter, it goes without saying, we are here for the skiing.”