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"Mountain Man"

February 2005, Log Home Design


Milled Log HomeHe and his wife Linda had been researching log homes for four years, but Ridgeway was the one spot that could wrangle them away from their home in Texas.

"We wanted to get away from big-city life," explains David. With just 4,000 residents in Ridgeway, that's exactly what they got. But don't call them loners. The couple loves to host visitors - especially other city slickers - in their dream mountain style home.

"We always tell friends about our cabin in the Rockies, but it's something you have to see to believe," says David. "When they walk in and see our view, their jaws drop."

David likes to tease Linda that this is "his" home - and the Texas abode is hers. To a certain extent, it's true. It was David who selected the floorplan - PrecisionCraft's Teton model - and worked with the team to make a few key changes: increasing window sizes and angling the garage off the front of the house. To meet a housing development regulation that requires homes to include at least 20 percent stone, they also added manufactured river rock to the exterior columns and base of the house.

David regularly traveled to Colorado to visit his "baby" as it grew, but the building site posed some immediate challenges. "The mountain house sits on a slope with a seven-degree grade, which is fairly steep," says builder C.J. Turner of the Alpine Building Company. "Since the entire property was rock, we had to blast it out."

For the home's exterior, David chose fully-scribed Douglas fir logs (12 to 15 inches in diameter) from PrecisionCraft for the first floor, then added half logs all the way to the roofline. Inside, you'll find a wide range of high-end woods, including alder kitchen cabinets, alum front doors, an aspen ceiling and Douglas fir throughout.

"You have to love wood to love this house," he laughs.

The design also takes advantage of the property's glorious vistas with a large deck, second-story balcony and many large windows. C.J. Turner added log window frames (A.K.A. "log bucks") that form a structure around the windows and door openings, tying the logs together at the ends.

Underfoot, 16-square-inch travertine floors with in-floor radiant heating provide beauty and warmth. "Radiant floors are becoming standard in a lot of high-end homes," says C.J. "The mechanical equipment is so compact and efficient, you can put it in a broom closet."

David's careful selections extend to the interior, as well. He chose the granite countertops, Jenn-Aire appliances and log beds. "But when it came to decorating the rest of the mountain house,"he chuckles, "I threw in the towel."

Linda eagerly set about giving each room its own look and feel. Both spouses agreed that they wanted a more contemporary interior. "But we didn't want cold contemporary," she explains. To add warmth, she chose earth tones that match the natural wood, with splashes of color in textiles and art.

But the home's "warmest" feature is the great room's 12-by-24-foot manufactured stone fireplace. "Manufactured river rock is easier to work with and more cost effective than actual river rock," says C.J. Turner. "Because it's lighter, it doesn't need as much bearing underneath."

The Hartsook's mountain style home makes the perfect getaway for the couple's four children and seven grandchildren. Most often you'll find them gathering in the open kitchen, but for quiet conversations they head to a sweet little nook off of the dining room.

The home now has four bedrooms - but that includes an addition. Realizing they needed more space, the Hartsooks super sized their home from 2,600 to 3,050 square feet. Lowering the ceiling in the garage allowed for the addition of a small hallway - and an additional bed and bath - off the upstairs balcony, over the kitchen pantry.

This fourth bedroom has become a favorite feature of the mountain house. "It has lots of character and it's very cozy," says David. But that description fits the entire house.

"Why have a log home in the mountains if you can't share it?" David says. You can be sure his guests agree.