Past, Present & Future
Under nature’s watchful eye, a Wyoming couple renovates a masterpiece
Story by Michael Baxter
Photography by Roger Wade
A 23-room log home with the heart of generations beating deep within its timbers sits a leisurely fishing line cast away from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Originally a somewhat disjointed mishmash of log buildings joined at the hip, the renovated structure today blends the splendor of the past with the technology and comforts of the present.
“Part of the home dates back to 1927,” says Cherrie Siegfried of the home she shares with her husband Robin and sons Roman and Raegen. “Several previous owners had constructed minor add-ons over the years until it had become quite a hodge-podge.”
Throughout the years, this combination of structures required some help. “It was five bedrooms with five baths and three historic buildings that had been brought in and nailed together,” Robin says. “For three of the bedrooms, you had to go outside to get to the kitchen and living area. The plumbing and electrical wiring were very poorly done. There was no foundation, so the logs were sitting on the ground. And there was leaking between the logs where the chinking had deteriorated over the years.”
Despite what appeared to be a substantial laundry list of negatives, Cherrie and Robin recognized the potential for a comfortable mountain getaway on 126 acres of the most beautiful property they’d ever seen. “My wife had the vision, and I thought I had enough money,” Robin says with a laugh. “A seven-month project went to 2 1/2 years.” By not starting from scratch, however, the Seigfrieds were able to remodel the home on its exact location alongside one of the state’s blue ribbon fly-fishing streams: Fish Creek.
“It’s neat that there is still a part of the old house there,” says architect Danny Eagan of Jackson, Wyoming.
Keeping much of the original configuration from the 75-year-old design, Robin and Cherrie dismantled the building, reclaiming the aged pine logs. Local contractor Matt Thompson oversaw the dismantling and reconstruction.
“This was a day-to-day deal,” Matt says. “As you might imagine on a renovation of this size, there were changes almost every day as the project went along.”
One of the biggest challenges for Cherrie was combining the decades-old, hand-hewn logs with the newly cut timbers. “Due to the different ages and the different stains used over the years, it became a very difficult process to determine the interior color,” Robin says. “Cherrie worked for several weeks with paint and stain professionals to come up with an acceptable interior stain that would go through these varying ages of logs.”
One change to the original construction technique was to eliminate the traditional style of chinking. “Instead of flexible chinking, on the inside of the house we have hand-carved pine between the logs, which was time-consuming,” Cherrie says.
There was another obstacle once the logs began going back into place. “We had corners that didn’t match very well aesthetically, so we had to put steel beams in the corners and then cover them with large logs,” Robin says. “In the corners, you’ll see logs like trees growing up and out. The guys who did the logging did an incredible job making it look natural and real.”
In order to make the outside appearance more symmetrical and attractive, the look of the second floor was altered.
“Originally the home had two stories, one on each side, but nothing in the middle,” Danny says. “We tore all that off and added a new second floor, then tied it all together.” He also pitched a flat roofline dating back to the original design, creating a slope similar to the rest of the home and then covering it with green metal roofing.
With the name of the Siegfried home being Lazy Moose Ranch, it’s only appropriate that a moose theme permeates the home.
“The stonemason worked so hard on the fireplaces that I used to make desserts for him,” Cherrie says. “He was able to work a moose theme into each of the fireplaces. It’s very subtle.”
The rocks for the fireplaces were taken from a nearby river. “We have four fireplaces, with the largest in the living room,” she says. “Then there is one in Raegen’s room, one in the master bedroom and one in an apartment attached to the house.”
The kitchen, which was designed for entertaining, features granite countertops and distressed wood cabinets to match the logs. “We have indirect lighting underneath the cabinets instead of fluorescent lighting, since I like the little pockets of light that they create,” Cherrie says.
Wrapped in neutral beige and browns, the kitchen sports a ceramic tile back splash with a rope design and a rough plank cedar floor stained to match the log walls.
Throughout the house, resident-friendly technology can be found, from the master bedroom down to the crawlspaces beneath the ground-level floor.
“We built bed stands out of small logs attached to the bed, and into those, we incorporated our phones, lights, security system and stereo system controls,” Cherrie says.
Robin encouraged Cherrie to do whatever she wanted with the house, and she took him up on it.
“I love music, so the whole house has a sound system; from the barn to the garage to the laundry room and hot tub,” she says. “Anywhere you walk, there is soft music.”
Danny was impressed by Cherrie’s immense involvement. “This house was her baby,” Danny says. “She made it happen.”
For a list of companies who contributed to the home, see the September 2001 issue of Log Home Living.
Danny Eagan Architect photos/Styled by Debra Grahl