"Meet & Greet"January 2006, Log Home Living
“Guests were supposed to arrive on the 4th, so we had two days to make this place look lived in,” says Sandy. Over the course of the week, the couple played host to about 200 guests who took part in the festivities and enjoyed the white-water rafting, hiking, and mountain-biking opportunities in the area.
Despite the time constraint, the pair pulled it off without a hitch and continues to enjoy their log home, located about two hours away from their primary residence in Ontario, Oregon, several times a month. Much as it did during its big debut, the house serves as a gathering place for friends and family throughout the year. Designed by Meridian, Idaho-based PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes and built by BP Construction of Meadow Lake, Idaho, the comfortable home includes a main level, loft and basement.
Sandy says the pair looked at a number of log producers before choosing PrecisionCraft and its “McKinley” floorplan. In love with the mountains and the great outdoors, they tweaked the design to include a basement recreation area, and vaulted ceilings in two of the bedrooms. The original design also called for four bedrooms, but the couple reduced it to three to increase their size. Conversely, they increased the number of bathrooms from two to five. “We didn’t want anyone fighting over the bathroom,” say Dennis and Sandy, whose combined 17 siblings, two grown children and two grandchildren (with another on the way) live within driving distance and visit often.
With their brood in mind, they also set their sights on a large, inviting kitchen that encompasses about 350 square feet. “We wanted a kitchen where six cooks could work and not get in each other’s way,” says Sandy.
Illuminated by overhead track lighting, the kitchen’s focal point is a three-seat island where guests can watch the chefs at work. Custom hickory cabinets and granite tile countertops add a little spice to the space, which features a Sub-Zero refrigerator, gourmet range and built-in buffet.
Recommended by PrecisionCraft, 13-year-old contracting firm BP construction builds three log homes annually. Co-owners David and Laura Perkins say the Dunbraskys’ home presented few challenges, but none that were insurmountable. One of these was its location. Situated 2-1/2 miles from the nearest paved road, the land was close enough to connect to power and phone lines, but it required a private well and septic system. Nothing atypical here, but the land’s granite underpinning’s required extensive blasting, which David says added time to the schedule. Plus, Mother Nature was uncooperative through the winter months, hampering the builder’s ability to transport the logs to the site with a crane. During one six-week period for example, David says they trekked through more than 4 feet of snow to get to the 5,000-foot-elevation ridge. “Getting those logs up in the snow was by far the most time-consuming aspect of the project,” says David.
With one wary eye on the weather and the other on that July deadline, Dennis and Sandy conducted walk-through inspections at scheduled times throughout the entire construction process and say they were always pleased with the progress. Improvements were made as the home advanced. For example, excavation revealed more basement space, so the recreation room was added to the planned wine cellar.
The home’s roof is built with Douglas fir purlin logs. It’s log walls (up to the second level) are ponderosa pine, and the profile is round, 10-inch diameter double tongue-and-groove with a hand hewn texture. The second story gables and dormers are constructed with matching 5-by-10- inch half-log ponderosa pine siding and saddle-notch corners. “Even though it’s a framed second-story,” says Todd Gailey, a Client Representative for Precision Craft, “the siding has the same consistency as the full logs on the main level.”
A winding staircase made of naturally bent ponderosa pine and Douglas fir stringers is one of the home’s most unique features. The stairway winds its way from the front door up to the second-floor loft. Built off site, the staircase was dismantled, brought into the home in sections and installed in about five days. “We wanted something original, that no one else had,” says Sandy, “and we sure got it.”
Realizing that some people have misconceptions about the beauty and sophistication of today’s log homes, Dennis and Sandy are never surprised by the reaction they get when visitors pull up to the house for the first time. Expecting to find a dark, antiquated dwelling, guests are stunned by the bright, open design, the pair of majestic manufactured-stone fireplaces and the high windows that Cascade natural light into the rooms. A chandelier, several mica lamps and wall sconces, and Tiffany-style lamp illuminate the house further. The kitchen and entryway boast earth-toned travertine floor tiles, while the great room’s floors are covered with knotty hickory.
The couple decorated the home and even handled much of the painting and staining themselves. Being the “hands-on” owners that they are now, Dennis and Sandy say they’re only now beginning to realize the maintenance involved with log home ownership.
“We knew it would be a lot of work, but we certainly don’t regret building our home,” says Dennis, who has come to accept deck staining as a yearly project and plans to add a garage in the near future. “It will definitely keep us busy in our retirement.”
After hosting a beautiful wedding and spending Christmas with her family here, Sandy says she wouldn’t trade her home for all the convenience in the world. “We spend much more time up there than we’d ever anticipated, and we see our children more than ever,” she says. “It’s a dream come true.”