In a League of Its Own

An Idaho tim­ber home fea­tures un­ex­pected style and a sense of su­per strength in a smaller foot­print.


An Idaho tim­ber home fea­tures un­ex­pected style and a sense of su­per strength in a smaller foot­print.

When you hear about a tim­ber home that’s so well built that a “semi could bounce right off of it,” and so well in­su­lated that you could “heat the place with a match,” it’s only nat­u­ral that your in­ter­est is piqued. Ac­cord­ing to Mike San­dau, owner of San­dau Con­struc­tion in Coolin, an Idaho home that his com­pany built a few years ago truly is that tough.

“The house is built like Fort Knox,” shares San­dau. “It has huge con­crete foot­ings up to 14 inches thick, zinc­plated end caps, mas­sive amounts of steel, thick in­su­la­tion and the abil­ity to han­dle a 100-pound snow load.”

The home’s su­per strength isn’t the only thing that sets it apart — a dra­matic par­al­lel­o­gram-shaped roof and myr­iad an­gles lend dis­tinc­tion to the de­sign, as do its mas­sive glu­lam beams.

“Our home is un­usual for north Idaho,” shares home­owner Curt Wickre. “The jaunty com­plex pitched-roof ar­chi­tec­ture is very dif­fer­ent, and the heavy-beam con­struc­tion im­parts tim­ber home char­ac­ter with a con­tem­po­rary twist.”

Set on a steep lot over­look­ing pic­turesque Priest Lake, the 2,800-square­foot home makes the most of avail­able space with an un­usual mod­i­fied rec­tan­gle de­sign. “The an­gled de­sign needed to be taller to en­gage the site on mul­ti­ple lev­els,” ex­plains ar­chi­tect Eric Owens of Sayler Owens Kerr De­sign Stu­dio of Sand­point, who worked on the project with now-re­tired ar­chi­tect Jon Sayler.

The in­spi­ra­tion for a tim­ber home was the nar­row site it­self, which Curt and his wife Nancy had owned for 25 years. Af­ter forg­ing many fam­ily mem­o­ries in a small sum­mer cabin on the prop­erty, they wanted to transition to a four-sea­son get­away.

“The unique char­ac­ter of the lot def­i­nitely drove the de­sign,” says Curt. “It’s a fairly steep slop­ing lot with a very sandy, pris­tine beach, of­fer­ing sweep­ing south­west views and ex­po­sure.”

Though the steep site posed some chal­lenges, the Wick­res knew it was

ex­actly where they wanted to be. The con­straints of the lot’s shape and size didn’t phase them at all — they didn’t need an overly large home since it would be a sec­ond home pri­mar­ily for just the two of them, and they were also drawn to the idea of mod­ern, clean lines.

“We wanted the home to have a con­tem­po­rary, un­clut­tered feel, yet re­tain a rus­tic el­e­ment with nat­u­ral wood el­e­ments and beams,” shares Curt.

To be­gin the de­sign process, the cou­ple and their ar­chi­tect sat down — lit­er­ally — on a pile of snow on the deck of the orig­i­nal cabin to de­ter­mine how to best site the home. The ar­chi­tects had pre­vi­ously worked with the cou­ple on a de­sign for their Spokane home, so they had a great un­der­stand­ing of the cou­ple’s wishes.

“It was very im­por­tant to them that they main­tain a close con­nec­tiv­ity to the sand and lake,” re­calls Owens. “They en­vi­sioned a lake home that was mod­ern in its ex­pres­sion, yet cap­tured the beauty and rugged na­ture of a Pa­cific North­west cabin.”

A blended tim­ber-frame home seemed to fit the bill per­fectly. Be­fore con­struc­tion be­gan, B.C. Ma­chin­ery of Coolin did sub­stan­tial ex­ca­va­tion work to re­move an ex­ten­sive gran­ite shelf on the slope side of the cabin. Once the site was ready to go, San­dau Builders took charge. Led by fore­men Von San­dau and Dan Griese­mer, the 6-man­crew han­dled the project with ease, in spite of the com­plex­ity of the de­sign. “They made it look easy, but I know that the roof and house join­ery was a chal­lenge,” shares Curt.

The re­sult­ing home is one that makes many a head turn. The roofline is es­pe­cially strik­ing. “The roof was de­signed with a com­pound an­gle, con­structed with large glu­lam beams that vary in length for a very dra­matic over­hang,” ex­plains Owens.

In­side, the tim­ber frame is equally in­spir­ing. The ex­posed roof rafters ex­tend from the front of the house to the back, rest­ing on 24-inch glu­lam head­ers. Much of the join­ery has in­ter­nal metal com­po­nents and fas­ten­ers, and there is also some ex­ter­nal steel plate fix­a­tion. The roof struc­ture and front

win­dow wall are struc­tural; a ceil­ing height of 22 feet adds great vol­ume to the space.

“Although it’s vaulted, it still feels cozy,” says Curt. “The change in ceil­ing line keeps it from feel­ing too ‘gap­ing,’ and the spirit is more of a clean, light but in­for­mal am­biance rather than a log cabin-es­que am­biance.”

The lay­out of the home makes the most of its smaller foot­print, with the bed­rooms lo­cated up­stairs and the liv­ing ar­eas on the main level. An en­closed garage un­der the car­port pro­vides am­ple stor­age for lake toys and a work­shop. A large deck fac­ing the lake visu­ally en­larges the space. “We wanted an in­fin­ity pool feel so that you felt like you were lit­er­ally on the lake, whether you’re in the house or on the deck,” ex­plains Curt.

To tackle stor­age is­sues, the cou­ple opted for many built-ins through­out the house, as well as a garage stor­age sys­tem. In ad­di­tion, a small crawlspace un­der the house stows in­fre­quently used items, even a sail­boat. “Ev­ery­thing has its place,” says Owens. “What you don’t see is a work of art in it­self.”

In­deed the aes­thet­ics of the home are just as im­pres­sive as its func­tion­al­ity. De­signed by in­te­rior de­signer Tam­mie Ladd of Spokane, the house has a con­tem­po­rary flair and a non-clut­tered feel­ing that em­pha­sizes the out­doors.

“There is a sim­plic­ity in pal­ette and con­fig­u­ra­tion so as not to con­flict with the lake views,” says Ladd. “There are many an­gles in the home, so we worked to en­sure that the spa­ces still felt calm, med­i­ta­tive and bal­anced. The use of nat­u­ral stone and wood mim­ics the for­est sur­round at the lake, cre­at­ing a sim­ple or­ganic space.”

“The house cer­tainly has a large ‘wow’ fac­tor,” says Curt.

With its strik­ing pres­ence, invit­ing am­biance and su­per strength, it’s easy to see why the cabin beck­ons — and mes­mer­izes — all who pass by.

“The home uti­lizes a sim­ple ge­om­e­try and in­te­grates a play­ful el­e­ment,” says Owens. “It’s a mod­ern lens for view­ing the rus­tic ma­te­ri­als and set­ting of a clas­sic Priest Lake cabin. Its struc­ture is ex­pressed and cel­e­brated through­out the de­sign.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.