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

We meet the crew, and suddenly, everything has changed

The day after the log home show (Sunday) I had to fly to Chicago for work. Monday I got a call from Craig Ringler, a colleague of Ron’s. He was interested in our project and wanted to get together to talk. We picked a time after I returned from Chicago, and agreed to meet at a Rock Bottom Brewery about halfway between where each of us lived. John and I showed up half expecting them not to, despite the fact we’d called and texted and confirmed the location beforehand.

Ron and Craig arrived early (a very good sign) and I shared my loose-leaf binder full of dreams for our house (pictures of king post trusses, floors, fireplaces), our budget, and our need to start building soon as the house we have been renting will be sold and we have to move out in the summer. They told us about their experience as builders, showed some photos of projects they’d worked on, and seemed as excited about our plans as we were. I was so excited THEY were excited I couldn’t even eat my dinner. I did, however, drink my beer.

While this conversation was going on I started to get this unbelievable sense that this might, in fact, actually happen. We’d had so many false starts and disappointments and delays that it was hard not to be skeptical about our enthusiastic new partners. I kept watching for red flags, but couldn’t find any, and relied on my intuition to sense anything shady or misleading about these gentlemen’s intentions but I could see nothing but authenticity on their part. And, Ron paid for our dinner! We parted agreeing the next step was for them to come to our land, and we picked a time and date.

Driving home that night, John and I just kept confirming we both felt completely optimistic about what had just happened, shaking our heads in disbelief that it seemed our luck had turned and we might, just might, be on our way after all.

Site Visit

After a couple of confirmation texts and voicemails from Craig (he is SO GOOD at communicating), we met them up on the mountain. They were already prowling around the land and when we got out of the car, and the first thing they said to us was what a beautiful piece of property we owned and what a pleasure it would be to work on it. Ron surprised me with a couple of rough sketches of the home elevations and floor plan and I couldn’t get over how accurate it was to what we had described. He had to have listened so intently during our first very long and winding talk about all the things we’d hoped for in our house. He listened that we wanted a mud-room type entry where you could comfortably sit and put on/take off boots and hats and coats in the winter and dry off muddy dog feet before entering the house, and he created a gorgeous octagon entry for this. He also heard me say how much I’d like at least one arched doorway carved into the logs, and he built an 82” one into the plans. As we’d learn over time, Ron has a cultivated vision for what things can look like and where things can go in a home that was both artistic and practical.

To keep costs down, we wanted to keep our floorplan a basic rectangle. The bump out entry vestibule and balconies and decks concealed that shoe box simplicity. I loved that Ron seemed to totally get that John and I were looking to re-create Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone on our little slice of Rocky Mountain paradise, with all the architectural details that make that lodge the icon it is. King post trusses, floor to ceiling stone fireplace, a hearth, big windows in the two-story great room, a loft, balconies off the bedroom. Lots and lots of outdoor living space expanded by a walk-out basement. And those beautiful, beautiful logs.

We got to meet another member of the crew, Bernardo, who helped measure out and hammer stakes into the ground marking the approximate site of the house, garage, and horse barn. We figured Craig and Ron had to be serious about all this to bring another person into the mix and drag him all the way from Denver up to our mountain. At the end of the day, we had a crew, some plans in hand, and stakes in the ground. We floated on a cloud for days afterwards, looking forward to our next meeting when we’d firm up some more details about the build.

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