Coming through the woods in the hills up by Wilderness Ranch, one may come upon a beautiful log cabin nestled in the woods with a strong pull towards the classic side of life. This house is a wonderful, two story house with a large garage, and was designed by the current owner.
As a young child, the owner adored the log house style and dreamed of one day being able to have a house of that style one day. This could be because their family owned a log cabin near Flathead Lake in Montana, a place where much of the owner’s youth was spent and much enjoyment was had. At the time of building, there were not many log cabins at all. In fact, the specific style used was relatively new; large, naturally “made” logs.
Twenty years ago, the owner decided to manifest her dream and drew up rough floor plans. There floor plans were taken to Doug Schleis, a builder at the time who then created blueprints and oversaw the production of the logs. The Pullman Brick Yard, an area near the Riverstone International School and Shakespeare under the Stars Amphitheatre. Dead, Standing Ponderosa Pines were stripped and notched, creating a “Lincoln Log”-esque style, and taken on the highway up to the current site. There the logs were simply stacked, creating the exterior. The owner’s father helped to sand and paint the house, creating a strong family- and cultural- play.
This house was created specifically to be in the wilderness and away from the hustle-bustle of city life. Nestled in the hills, it is not obtrusive and is mostly worked to be a part of nature. There are many different paths created by deer that make wonderful walking paths, should one be interested in taking a hike on the surrounding hill area.
During the winter, the snow sometimes gets so high as to restrict the owner from leaving. During these times, because of the large porch, it is possible to leave the house and still explore the hilly area around the property.
It is possible that this house was built because the owner has a Finnish background; this house clearly reflects the Finnish building style, as it is a “log cabin in the snowy woods”. The building of the home was relatively uneventful, aside from the fact that one builder fell of the porch and broke his leg.
The house has some distinct Bungalow styles- For example, the detailing underneath the roof of the house and the large deck. The details put into this house are very specific and are based around the theme of being “natural”; In fact, the only true detailing done is on the back, with the diagonal lines. However, it is ultimately closer to a Prairie style, as it is two stories with roof work, rectangular shape, and emphasis on the porch.
Inside the house the lack of division shows that large logs truly were used; the knotholes on the wood also demonstrate the fact that it was real wood. The stone fireplace is also a throwback to an earlier age. The presence of a fireplace is a necessity, as the house can become remarkably cold, and the fireplace adequately heats all areas of the house. The light in the blue lamp is energy-efficient, keeping with the idea of a “natural” house. The desk the lamp is on is an antique sewing machine desk; it is something of an heirloom, and also hails to an older time. Because the house is up in the hills and generally secluded, it is required that the owner possess an emergency weather radio that will sound if some sort of trouble weather- such as a blizzard- is approaching. The large windows in the house are in place for viewing the natural beauty of the area the house is in. The furniture is wood, fitting with the theme of an older, natural home.
Architecturally, this house is not entirely significant, except for the large log concept that was reasonably novel at the time. The true simplicity of the large log style can be seen in pictures getting a clear close-up of the logs themselves. The way that the logs work so wonderfully with the windows and other logs surrounding show the true marvel that is the large log style. The large, rough style used for certain parts of the house demonstrates the extent of the desire for a house that truly is part of the past. This natural feel is also rather a new concept, and one that is not really replicated.
Much time was spent in planning this house. The owner had the properly for a long time, and spent a long time walking and surveying, alone and with Mr. Schleis. Finally, it was decided to dig into a hill a bit to make a nice area for the foundation to be poured and the house to be built upon. The building process took a full year to complete, but the finished product is a beautiful house that will last for a long time.
At the time of building not many houses were around or even in the same style. Within a few years of building, however, a coworker looked at the owner’s house and was interested in building one of a similar style for themselves. Also, more people have begun moving up to the area surrounding. Overall, the owner seems to have at least influenced the trend.
The style of the house is reasonably original; it was designed by the owner, and the only real influence that can be seen is the elder, log cabin homes. However, the house was designed to suit the needs of the owner, not to be “sellable”. Due to this, it is hard to find a house exactly similar to it, whereas other houses (Such as Queen Anne Cottages) are generally similar to others.
As far as landscaping goes, there is not a whole lot. This is due to the fact that it is in the wild, and the natural landscape is what the owner is interested in. Any alteration of the land would be outside of the owner’s interest, creating a feel that would not be coherent with the surrounding landscape.
The owner/creator still has the blueprints, so it would be possible to recreate this house elsewhere if the owner decided to move and rebuild. This shows that the building has very strong sentimental value to the owner, and that the owner is not likely to leave any time soon.
This log cabin was expertly made to be a wonderful cabin to be used year-round, although the emphasis is obviously for the summertime, as the winters get to be rather unbearable with the high snow and the cold times. This is where the true value of the fireplace that was so expertly created truly comes through.
A building is nothing more than log, cement, and metal; however, a house is something designed for comfort and a long usage period. This house has certainly lived up to those requirements, creating a happy home for the owner and family, and has been in use for twenty years. It shows very little wear, and therefore will most likely be able to be used for many years in the future. It is not, however, entirely convenient, as it is around 40 minutes from downtown, being instead closer to Idaho City’s downtown. This could cause concern when the owners get older, but as of right now, there is no foreseeable problem with the distance for the owners.
Its distance was planned so that it would be out in the wilderness and away from “civilization”. In this regard, it has succeeded entirely, creating a nook-esque location for a wonderful, old-style home for a family and a few animals to live in comfort. If ever one should wish for a wonderful home hailing to the age of “Little House on the Prairie”, this is the home for that person to look at.