Loghome Circ Ad Top Left

Balancing Act | A Vacation Home in the Colorado Mountains

With the help of their design dream team, one couple builds a much-anticipated Rocky Mountain retreat in Breckenridge, Colorado.

We’re all trying to find it: that perfect balance between work and play. For Dr. Kathy Elsner and her husband Steve Adelman, part-time residents of Des Moines, Iowa, finding that balance didn’t come easy. But all that changed when they decided to build their dream log home in the mountains of Colorado. Kathy and Steve, along with their four sons, had been visiting Breckenridge for more than 20 years when they decided it was time to put down roots in their favorite vacation spot.

In fact, when lots became available in a location they loved, they purchased the first one they saw and started planning. “I wanted to build the home I’d always envisioned,” says Kathy. “We try to spend one week of every month here. It’s the perfect place to take a break from work and get busy playing.” Before building began, the couple contacted noted firm Baker, Hogan, Houx Architecture and Planning, and worked with architects Marc Hogan and Dennis Powell to come up with a design, complete with the log look they craved. Although the couple opted for distressed log siding for the outside of the home (they loved the look of the square-hewn logs), Engelmann spruce was chosen for the interior spaces, along with drywall and other mixed materials.

Once they were finished designing, Kathy took the floorplan to builder Jere Lynch. “The minute we met him, we just clicked,” says Kathy. “He only builds one house a year, and he seems to have a real spiritual connection with each one.” Such a connection, in fact, that each week he sent the couple letters to update them on the progress of their home. Fourteen months—and dozens of letters later—the home was complete. The result: A breathtaking home, designed for vacationers. “It’s virtually maintenance-free,” says Kathy. “We designed it to be.” Since they love outdoor activities, the family wanted a home that not only reflected and complemented that lifestyle, but one that would survive it as well. By utilizing stone floors and comfortable-yet-rugged furniture, Kathy and Steve did just that. “Let’s just say we built it to handle four boys,” says Kathy, with a laugh.  

Sitting area


When looking for skilled architects to design their log homes, most clients check out portfolios to see a few of the potential architects’ previous designs. So when Kathy Elsner and Steve Adelman started researching award- winning design firm, Baker, Hogan, Houx Architecture and Planning, it’s fair to say they had their work cut out for them. With offices in Breckenridge and Silverthorne, Colorado, as well as Perham, Minnesota, the firm has designed homes, businesses, hotels, lodges and recreational facilities all over the United States.

Needless to say, the couple was impressed and quickly began working with the company to design their getaway in the Colorado Rockies. “Kathy came up with all of the interior ideas,” says Marc Hogan, co-owner of the company. “It’s a delight to have clients with good taste, but Kathy has great taste.” Although Marc was the principal architect on the home, Dennis Powell served as project architect. “Dennis was the guy who really did the down-and-dirty work on the project,” says Marc. And one of the dirtiest challenges? The steep slope of the couple’s property. Luckily, working in the mountains of Colorado on a regular basis, this was no new obstacle for Dennis. “We were able to turn the home and build it to take advantage of the views, which were mainly off the front of the house,” he says.

Once everyone was satisfied with the design elements, the plans were handed over to builder Jere Lynch for completion of the home, which measures 4,202 square feet. “Jere is a true craftsman,” Marc says. “He puts his heart and soul into each home he builds.” Dennis echoed the same feelings of ease and joy when commenting on working with Kathy. “She had drawn the original schematic floorplan and brought that to us, then later finished the interior design,” he says. “It was definitely a collaboration, and she was a huge part of the process.” The full story ran in the March 2007 issue of Log Home Design.

Editor's Picks

All products featured are carefully reviewed and selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Subscribe Now + Get 2 Free Gifts!