Par­adise At­tained

A builder com­pletes his hy­brid-log master­piece in the Colorado Rock­ies.

Log Home Living - - Contents - story by TERESA L. WOLFF pho­tos by JAMES RAY SPAHN

A builder com­pletes his hy­brid-log master­piece in the Colorado Rock­ies.

Ce­leste Hale be­came hooked on bi­cy­cling in the moun­tains while at­tend­ing col­lege in Den­ver. After grad­u­at­ing, she and her hus­band, Roger, re­turned to their na­tive Vir­ginia but al­ways felt drawn to Colorado, where they spent va­ca­tions ex­plor­ing the many bike trails weav­ing through the Rock­ies. “We were liv­ing in a Colo­nial- style home in Vir­ginia and felt it was time for us to build some­thing dif­fer­ent,” Ce­leste re­calls. “We had two choices: Build a home in Vir­ginia and vaca- tion in Colorado or move to Colorado per­ma­nently. Since we didn’t have any obli­ga­tions ei­ther place, it seemed log­i­cal to move where we could be on a near- per­pet­ual va­ca­tion.”

The cou­ple found a fouracre cor­ner lot in the Par­adise Val­ley sub­di­vi­sion, near Black Hawk. It sits on a hill and has in­cred­i­ble 360- de­gree views of the Four­teen­ers, those Colorado Rock­ies peaks that are over 14,000 feet in el­e­va­tion. Guided by the site, Roger sketched floor plans. He and Ce­leste in­tended their new home to be as eco-friendly as pos­si­ble, with large win­dows to take ad­van­tage of the pas­sive so­lar in this area of abun­dant sun­shine. In ad­di­tion to the large great room, they planned a main-level master bed­room suite with spe­cific ameni­ties, which in­cluded a master bath with two sep­a­rate wa­ter clos­ets to house their in­di­vid­ual van­i­ties and toi­lets. The re­main­ing space shares a jet­ted tub and three- head shower.

They didn’t limit the ameni­ties to them­selves. “Our dogs are a very im­por­tant to us,” Ce­leste says. “The sec­ond

bed­room on the main floor has a tread­mill and sta­tion­ary bike for us and a cus­tom-made win­dow bed for the dogs. This way they are able to look out and en­joy the views also. We added a cus­tom-built dog feed­ing sta­tion with bowls and stor­age for their food that can be neatly tucked away when not in use.”

Ce­leste’s business as a per­sonal trainer al­lows her the free­dom to work from their home. They de­signed a 1,000- square-foot gym in the lower level where she can guide her clients through their work­outs in a more pri­vate set­ting than a pub­lic gym. Also on the lower level, an over­sized three­car garage fea­tures a large work­shop, with a work­bench and lots of stor­age cab­i­nets, that al­lows Roger to build to his heart’s con­tent.

The up­per level com­prises three guest bed­rooms, one with a large dormer sit­ting area for en­joy­ing the view, a full bath and an 18-by-28-foot bonus room. A large wrap-around porch, built with com­pos­ite deck­ing, of­fers 2,000 square feet of four-sea­son out­door liv­ing.

After Roger drew the plans, he con­tacted struc­tural de­signer Mike Ikeler and de­signer Scott Skeen to com­plete the tech­ni­cal de­tails. He then sent the plans to four dif­fer­ent log-home com­pa­nies to ob­tain bids. He had de­cided to build the home as a hy­brid with a con­ven­tional, in­su­lated frame and half-log sid­ing. He felt this choice was best for the home’s 9,060-feet el­e­va­tion, as it would pro­vide en­ergy- ef­fi­cient R-27 walls, well above the re­quired code. The ceil­ing is blown- in cel­lu­lose with a R- 50 value.

Roger bought the pre­fin­ished north­ern red cedar 2- by- 6- inch half- logs for ap­prox­i­mately the same price as other com­pa­nies quoted for un­fin­ished logs. “Be­cause I would be build­ing the home pri­mar­ily by my­self, I didn’t want to have to worry about raw logs be­com­ing dam­aged if we hap­pened to get an early snow,” Roger ex­plains. This preparedness paid off when the area re­ceived 52 inches of snow in one week­end while he was build­ing the home.

He spent six months on the site, do­ing about 70 per­cent of the work while liv­ing in the 7-by16- foot en­closed cargo trailer he had towed from Vir­ginia. He says he learned his build­ing skills from his tool- savvy fa­ther. “Through the 25 years I have owned and op­er­ated my own con­struc­tion company, I have de­vel­oped a sense of be­ing very de­tail ori­ented,” Roger ex­plains. “As an ex­am­ple, I al­ways over- paint nail heads to blend them with what­ever con­struc­tion ma­te­rial I am us­ing and to

pre­vent them from rust­ing. In our home, I pre- painted the joist hang­ers a rus­tic bronze. I have learned how to work with clients from the very be­gin­ning of their project when they are still in the ini­tial plan­ning stages, or I’m able to build their home from a set of plans. Ei­ther way, I take great care to make sure ev­ery­thing is as per­fect as pos­si­ble. “

Ce­leste later joined Roger to help him fin­ish the in­te­rior. The cou­ple chose an in­te­rior look re­sem­bling an old ranch house that looked worn and lived in. They used rough wood and re­claimed prod­ucts. As a re­minder of the days when the re­gion was teem­ing with gold min­ers, they added a wall sconce made from an orig­i­nal min­ing pan, pick and lan­tern in the hall­way. When­ever they couldn’t find just the right piece of fur­ni­ture, Roger cre­ated it. He fash­ioned a 10- foot din­ing room ta­ble, for ex­am­ple, from 2-1/ 2- inch solid ma­hogany sal­vaged from the floor of an old rail­road box­car. He made the man­tel in the master bed­room from a bee­tle-killed tree cut down on their lot dur­ing con­struc­tion

Be­cause of the need for wa­ter con­ser­va­tion in this high-moun­tain lo­cale, lawns are pro­hib­ited. There­fore, Roger and Ce­leste re­stored their prop­erty to its nat­u­ral state, us­ing rocks, ev­er­greens and aspen trees. They spread 10 pounds of wild­flower seeds this spring to add color to the na­tive veg­e­ta­tion. “This area is so healthy be­cause there isn’t any pol­lu­tion,” Ce­leste says. “Ev­ery time I look out the win­dows or sit on the front porch, I am over­whelmed by the in­cred­i­ble views and how quiet it is.”

Roger con­curs. “It may sound like a pun, given the name of our sub­di­vi­sion,” he says, “but I truly feel as if we are liv­ing in Par­adise.”

This hy­brid home blends nat­u­ral stone and north­ern

red cedar half-log sid­ing with butt-and-pass cor­ners to cre­ate the im­pres­sion of full-log con­struc­tion. The owner also used sal­vaged and re­claimed ma­te­ri­als.

ABOVE: The kitchen sug

gests an old-time ranch house. The hand-ham­mered cop­per ex­haust hood over

the is­land matches the farm-style apron sink. The coun­ter­tops are re­claimed oak from wine bar­rels. The perime­ter cab­i­nets are knotty alder with leather fin­ish

and chis­eled edges. OP­PO­SITE: The din­ing room

fea­tures hand-trow­eled dry­wall with a glaze fin­ish that has the ap­pear­ance of leather. Re­claimed heart pine

floor­ing adds rus­tic­ity.

The fire­place holds cen­ter stage in the great room. Fash­ioned from nat­u­ral stone re­claimed from a ski re­sort, it has a gas in­sert with high-ef­fi­ciency ce­ramic glass. The dis­tinc­tive man­tel was made by a fam­ily friend. The win­dow-filled gable eyes the Rocky Moun­tains. The ceil­ing is tongue-and-groove cedar.

ABOVE: Col­or­ful bed linens in the master bed­room com­ple­ment the 150-yearold heart pine floor sal­vaged from a Civil War sad­dle fac­tory in Vicks­burg, Mis­sis­sippi. The orig­i­nal patina, saw marks and bolt holes are vis­i­ble in the ran­dom-width boards.

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