Perched 8,000 feet above sea level, the 5,000-square-foot, six-bedroom Huntsman family vacation retreat demonstrates the beauty of handcrafting, which is evident everywhere, from the exterior walls down to the dining room table. Western red cedar logs measuring an average 14 inches in diameter comprise the Huntsmans’ mountain getaway.
“I always wanted a log cabin,” says Kade Huntsman, a Salt Lake City orthopedic surgeon who definitely wanted to emphasize the log aspect of his home. “This was my chance to have one, so I couldn’t see using anything but real logs.”
“In that Scofield, UT, subdivision, this house is known as ‘the one with the beautiful logs,’” says Robert Lockerby of Boise, Idaho-based Summit Handcrafted Log Homes, which produced the logs for the home. The logs attribute their satiny appearance to the company’s Latewood finish.
“We harvest the trees late in the season, after they have finished their annual growth cycle. Then we peel off the bark and the cambium with a high-pressure water jet,” he explains. “Cedar has flared bases and a lot of knots and burls. Treating it this way highlights the natural character of the wood.”
With five children, ages 7 to 20, Kade and his wife, Kalli, use their second home to fish, water ski, ice fish and snowmobile in the magnificent wild country near the Manti-La Sal National Forest and Scofield State Park.
“For us, it’s a place to go play,” Kalli says. “Our retreat is only an hour and a half from home, but when we get there, our blood pressure drops!”
Their vacation-home building process began in 2002, soon after the family moved back west to Kade’s and Kalli’s home state. They found a dramatic lot high above the Scofield Reservoir and contacted Lockerby. He, in turn, connected the Huntsmans with builder Ryan Turner of Red Wolf Construction in Springville, UT.
Turner put together the handcrafted logs — each cut and numbered to fit — built the interior walls, floors, ceilings, stairs and doorways, and installed the windows to finish the house.
To account for settling, the builder installed settling jacks on vertical interior posts. He also added tan-colored chinking to the interior walls to help finish them off.
“Settling is a two-year process,” he says. “Most is done by the time we finish, but these logs are so massive that it continues for a while.”
“For a year or so, we’d see sawdust as the house settled,” Kade recalls. “Thankfully, Ryan alerted us to the fact that, with real logs, there’s a lot of shrinkage. We loved watching his crew come in and lower the roof down as the house contracted.”
Under that roof, the interior features an open floor plan organized around a soaring great room, which is flanked by the kitchen and dining areas, with a master bedroom suite at the opposite end. The children’s bedrooms and another master suite occupy the upper-level loft. The walkout basement features a theater room and another master suite, in addition to the garage.
“We want this house to function as a family gathering place after our children are grown and have children of their own,” Kalli explains. “The garage has another master suite above the cars.”
Kalli and Kade chose hard-wearing, comfortable furniture upholstered in earth-toned shades of green that happily coexist with the dominant wood tones.
“Kade knew that he wanted a green slate floor,” Kalli states. “That, and the logs, drove the color choices. We chose fabrics we wouldn’t have to worry about when kids come in muddy or wet.”
For kitchen and bath design, she turned to Karen and Steven Teerlink of Teerlink Cabinet in Holladay, UT. Karen handled the built-ins, including the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and toy storage for the children. Although not a log-home specialist, her experience has helped her learn a few lessons over the years.
“A particular challenge is the irregular surface of the walls,” she says. “That’s where craftsmanship comes in — things have to be scribed to the wall.”
Additional steps had to be taken for plumbing to adjust during the settling process, and the settling presents a challenge to hanging a picture on the walls. But Kade wouldn’t have it any other way. “This is what I dreamed of all those years,” he states. “This is the real deal.”
Home Plan Details:
Square Footage: 5,000 (including a walk-out basement, not shown)
Log species: western red cedar
Builder: Red Wolf Construction, Mapleton, UT (801-319-1700; redwolfinc.com)
Chinking; sealants; stain: Sashco, Brighton, CO (800-767-5656; sashco.com)
Interior kitchen and bath design: Teerlink Cabinet, Holladay, UT (801-278-4400; teerlinkcabinet.com)
Log provider: Summit Handcrafted Log Homes, Boise, ID (866-610-4074; summithandcrafted.com)
Roofing: ASC Building Products, Sacramento, CA (800-360-2477; ascbp.com)