"A View of the Rockies"July 2005, Country's Best Log Homes
Their first step on that journey was subscribing to log home magazines. “We read those magazines religiously, and a lot of our ideas cam from them, “ says Kathy. “We also went to log home shows whenever we could.” It was at one of those shows that Kathy met artist Tom Larkin of Doorways to the West in Westcliffe, Colorado, and saw his hand-carved doors. “It was a good year before we started building,” she remembers, “but I couldn’t get those doors out of my mind. They’re one of the first purchases we made for our home. I wanted the front entry to be something really special because that’s the first thing you see. They’re white oak, and he carved mountains and aspen trees with leaves in them. They’re just beautiful.”
A magazine ad for PrecisionCraft Log and Timber Homes’ Teton model caught Kathy’s eye, so they called the company and received their log home brochure and DVD. After reviewing the materials, they decided to fly over and meet the staff and tour their facilities. “We sat down with their designer and Client Representative Frank Hayes, and they were so accommodating that we decided they were the ones we wanted to deal with,” says Bruce. “It’s probably unusual that we didn’t interview anyone else.”
With 12 in-house designers on staff, the folks at Precision Craft pride themselves on satisfying their clients. “We put a fair amount of time and emphasis into the architecture and design,” says Frank Hayes, “understanding the customer’s needs and their lifestyle so we’re comfortable that we’re designing a home that suits them best.” Hayes believes the modifications the Rogers made to the standard Teton floorplan worked out well and really enhanced the design.
The home has 3,500 square feet of finished space on a main and loft level plus another 2,500 feet in a daylight basement that could be finished later. The kiln-dried logs are spruce, 10-inch-full-round, double tongue-and-groove with interlocking saddle-notch corners. Bruce and Kathy chose a hand-peeled, draw-knifed finish for a more rustic, handcrafted appearance. The home’s various rooflines give it a distinctive profile, and the hunter green roof contrasts nicely with the Wood Iron Amber Oak exterior wood finish on the logs.
Bruce and Kathy had talked to two builders before Hayes recommended Mark Stamper, a contractor who has built several other Precision Craft homes. In fact, Stamper happened to be in the midst of a Precision Craft project when the Rogers met him, and being able to see his work first-handed helped them make the decision to hire him. “We were so impressed with the finish work he was doing,” says Bruce, “and we also liked the fact that his three-person crew was going to be dedicated to our home—that’s all they were going to do.” Because Bruce travels so much, it was also important the Kathy be comfortable with their builder since she would be the one visiting the site every day.
“Most people find their land first,” says Kathy. “We didn’t. We chose the log company, and they set us up with a Realtor. We told them we wanted a view of the mountains and lots of trees on the property.” Within two weeks, they had found 6.7 acres in a development that was once a Christmas tree farm. The wooded lot near Parker, Colorado, has plenty of ponderosa pine, and it offers them a view of the Rocky Mountains. “You literally can see from Pike’s Peak in the south all the way up to the Front Range,” says Bruce.
“We were very lucky,” says Kathy. “We live in the suburbs and we’re 10 minutes from the golf course, yet we live in a house and on property that you usually have to drive a couple hours into the mountains to find.”
One of the biggest challenges in the whole process, according to Bruce, was making sure they got the permits in time so that it wouldn’t delay the construction. In addition to all the county permits required, there were many restrictions from their homeowner’s association. “We had to position the home on a one-acre plot within the 6.7 acres,” Bruce says, “and that was to ensure that no views were obstructed from the other homes in the development.”
Bruce and Kathy spent a year sending ideas back and forth with PrecisionCraft’s design staff. Many of those ideas came from log home magazines, including the picture inset into the fireplace chimney; Bruce’s office, which is separated from the main part of the house by a 9-foot breezeway; and the dramatic stairway in the home’s entry. “We wanted something that is kind of a marquee, if you will,” says Bruce of the stairs. “We showed PrecisionCraft a picture of what we wanted, and they had to find a tree in Canada that was curved so they could create those stairs.” Then Stamper had to handcraft the custom staircase on the site.
The couple wanted a large deck extending along the entire west side of the house to take advantage of their mountain views. Bruce insisted that no electrical wire casting be exposed in the ceilings or walls. They enlarged some of the rooms, and they combined the living room, dining room, and kitchen into one big open area. “I didn’t want a formal dining room or living room,” says Kathy. “I just wanted the space to accommodate the way we live.”
Both Bruce and Kathy like the great room best. “It seems so lodge-like,” says Kathy. “It’s great for entertaining, along with the deck. We’ve had parties with 40 or 50 people during the summer and it doesn’t seem crowded at all.” Bruce loves to look at the logs in the ceiling. “I travel a lot,” he says, “and when I come home it’s nice to sit in that great room. I never get tired of looking at the logs.” A gas fireplace of cultured fieldstone soars 23 feet to the ceiling serving as a focal point as well as helping to heat the home.
The couple chose in-floor radiant heat throughout the house including the basement and the garage, and they are very happy with the system. “We heat 5,000 square feet,” says Bruce, “and for a home that size, it’s very efficient.” Kathy was concerned that the loft wouldn’t be warm enough, so they added space heaters in the rooms on that level, but no one has ever had to use them because the air warm air rises.
A friend recommended Pella windows, and Kathy selected ones with shades between the panes and roller screens. “Once the windows were up, our window treatments were finished, too,” she says, “so it was one less thing to worry about.” Most of the rooms are carpeted with cut Berber, but the kitchen and dining room have red oak hardwood floors, and the entry, bathrooms, and laundry room have ceramic tile flooring.
Another friend designed the home’s lighting using a sophisticated Lutron Grafik Eye system. It allows the Rogers to control the type of light anywhere in the house. “In the kitchen, for example, Kathy can turn on all the lights or some of them or dim them down depending on what she’s doing,” explains Bruce. Their son installed a structured wiring box for phone and sound systems. “There’s a phone line everywhere,” says Bruce, “and our sound system, satellite TV, and video all go into that box so we can add phones or TVs just about anywhere in the house.”
Many hours went into planning the kitchen, and Kathy is pleased with the results. “I wanted everything to be efficient, and it really is,” she says. The Dynasty cabinets are red birch with a natural finish, and the appliances are GE monogram line. The countertops are Corian with rounded corners , and the island contains a 48-inch cook top with the cupboards all the way around and a wine rack on one end.
Kathy spent nearly every day on the job site during construction phase, and she filmed the whole process starting with the days the logs were delivered. During that time, she and Bruce observed traditional homes being built nearby, and they marveled at the difference between those projects and their own. “It would take a Category Five storm to knock this house down,” says Bruce. “It is built so solid. I’ve seen a lot of frame homes, and I’m not saying they aren’t constructed well, but it’s not the same—not even close.”
Whether he’s working in his office or relaxing on the deck in the evenings listening to the coyotes and screech owls, Bruce is never bored in their log home. He advises anyone considering building one to do plenty of research and planning. “It’s fun and its rewarding,” he says.
Kathy is content and can’t imagine ever leaving. “This is the sixth home we’ve lived in since we’ve been married,” she says, “and it’s the first home we don’t see any reason ever to move from. This is it!”