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The Dream within a Dream: Building our Log Home in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado

Time to Build

Finally, all the obstacles to getting our build underway were falling aside. We had a floorplan in mind and a budget and started calling around. Five of the six area builders that did log homes never responded to multiple phone calls and emails. I hadn’t mentioned our budget, so for all they knew, we could have been planning a million-dollar mansion. The one that did call back said he couldn’t possibly start our build for 18 months. We started calling log home companies asking for any builder contacts they might have that would work in our area. One or two names turned up…both builders who would not return our calls-even to say they weren’t interested or didn’t have time.

Finally, we got a call back from one builder who actually lives up on our mountain. He agreed to meet us on our land and look at our floorplan and listen to our ideas. He seemed like a salt of the earth kind of guy, and after looking at our land and floorplan he said he thought he could build something like it for around our budget. We were ecstatic! We felt it had to be both a money and a time saver that he lived on the mountain, had his own heavy equipment, and harvested logs right off our mountain! He told us he was very busy working on a couple of other projects such as home additions, but to provide him with all the details about square footage, all floor plans, site layout, etc. In the two weeks it took for us to get all of our materials together and mailed, he took on another home build project and told us he’d love to build our house, but now he couldn’t start on it until spring of 2018. Clunk dropped our hearts.

Back to calling log home companies, especially those that were planning to have a booth at the September Log & Timber Home Show in Denver. Let me say a word about log home shows…these were sources of endless encouragement throughout the years we lived in Illinois and after we moved to Colorado. We bought furniture, learned about all kinds of log assembly, got a chance to chink a wall, listened to endless pitches about why one log home company’s logs or assembly process was superior to everyone else’s…it was heaven to be surrounded by logs and made us feel just a little closer to our goal. At the very first log show we attended in Denver, we ran into a booth showcasing US Bank’s construction and mortgage lending. There we met Paula Murtha, who proved to us with her calculator that we could, in fact, afford the kind of log home we were hoping for. That gave us some incentive to keep pushing forward. We will continue to attend those shows even after our house is built!

Anyway, back to calling log providers who were going to be at the show to see if they could offer names of any builders who would 1) return phone calls, 2) be willing to build in the area where our land is located and 3) have the capacity to build a home in the next year…or at least start one. There were no strong leads, but at least we had a couple names of log home reps to talk to, plus we figured we’d be more likely to find potential builders there than anywhere else. By this time, we’d resigned ourselves to the fact that if we located a builder affiliated with a particular log home provider, we could find one of their floor plans close enough to what we wanted and that compromise would at least get us in a log house.

We arrived at the log home show and wandered around, making contact with a few log home provider reps I’d talked to on the phone beforehand. The story was the same…everyone was happy to provide us with logs, but no one was available to put them together into a house. We struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was selling subscriptions to log and timber home related magazines and shared our woes about being unable to find someone to build our house. We talked with vendors about roofs and gutters and varnish and picked up a new floorplan from one place that we actually liked better than the one we’d been focused on for over a year.

Suddenly we see the magazine subscription man running towards us…he tells us that he was just talking to a builder who might be interested in our project and who was going to be in the building a while longer. He handed us his card. We thought we had nothing to lose by taking a chance this was legitimate and dialed the number on the card. We didn’t expect him to answer…it was so noisy in the building we couldn’t imagine anyone even hearing their phone. But he did answer. He said he was interested in talking to us and he’d meet us up by the front of the vendor booth area. He walked up a couple minutes later and we all sat down in some outdoor furniture company’s nice display of tables and chairs. He looked like a mountain man…tall and thin and rugged.  We told him what we’d been going through trying to find a builder, described our land and where it was located, and showed him the new floor plan we’d just picked up. He looked at it, said he liked it, and that he knew of a couple other builders he’d worked with before that had just had a large building project postponed and so they might be able to switch over to ours right away. Wait, what? He took our information and a copy of the floor plan and said either he or one of the other builders would be in touch with us soon. We didn’t know what to think, but at least this was a chance. It was possible we’d never hear from him again, or that we would but it would be to tell us they couldn’t do the job, or couldn’t do it for two years, or something else that was a variation of no. But that isn’t what happened. :-)

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