Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Dream is Taking Shape before Our Eyes (the story of our log home)

Where do I start with this story?  When we bought the land near Kila, Montana?  When we met with Brad of Montana Log Homes?  When Eric the architect ‘walked’ us through the log house design via 3D rendering (he was in Montana and we were in Ohio)?  When we made our first trip to Glacier National Park with the kids when they were 7 and 9?

No matter where I start, the above list of activities may help you to appreciate that our dream of a log home in Montana has been a long time in the making (no less than 11 years).  Every step on the journey has been important, and yet some milestones carry more significance.  And one of the most significant is about to happen on Friday.  The log structure, which has been carefully hand-constructed beginning in November 2016, will be re-set on the house foundation.  Yippee!
First course of logs in November 2016
Just a couple of days ago
But I am getting ahead of myself (so excited!).  Many people have asked “Why are you moving to Montana?”  Our usual response includes a description of treasured family vacations to the area around Glacier National Park, and how we fell in love with the state.  So, I suppose that is when (2006) and where the story begins. 

In 2007, Spousal Unit had the foresight to recommend purchasing a townhome in Whitefish.  After all, we would eventually need housing while overseeing construction!  We have been blessed with good tenants while the rest of our plans developed. 

In Mid-May of 2010, we toured Montana Log Homes’ construction yard and visited a couple of completed log homes in the area. That summer, we found a fantastic property west of Kalispell. Our goal was to be close enough to town for basics and for medical care (we are getting older), and yet far enough out to really experience peace, quiet and wildlife.  We also dreamed of water – a river, a stream , a pond.  Spousal Unit did all the legwork, and I can still remember my solo trip to Kalispell over a three-day weekend to see the parcel for myself.  It checked all the boxes – and soon enough we were owners of 8 acres in Hodge Creek, overlooking a small lake.

Over the next few years we worked with the in-house designer, Eric, to create our dream home.  Once we had pinpointed a time frame for my retirement and our move to Whitefish, it was time to choose a general contractor.  Again, Spousal Unit researched options and interviewed the candidates, with a final selection of Neal Garbenis Contracting. 

And so it was that in late October 2016, Brad and his team began hand-crafting the log structure.

Hand peeling

Hand chiseling
Full scribe construction

Then, on April 24, Neal began excavation of the foundation.

A few days ago

Now these two processes will merge with the re-set of the logs on the foundation.  The logs have been numbered to ensure they go back in the same place in the structure.  We are told that the re-set process usually takes only a couple of days - the time-consuming tasks have already been done!

As I look at these pictures now, I am overwhelmed with emotion – all the hard work has paid off!  I am also so grateful for the talented, genuinely good people with whom we are working.  I could tell you so many stories of their thoughtfulness and generosity, especially with their time.  But those stories will have to wait for another post.

Loading logs for delivery to the home site

Last (but certainly not least), I am deeply thankful for Spousal Unit - his overall project management and persistence has brought us so far.  When I was looking after my job and keeping us on track for our retirement date, he was handling the myriad of other details.  I can't wait to stand by his side on Friday as our future home takes shape right before our eyes!


  1. Oh you picked a lovely part of Montana. I look forward to seeing pics of your new home! :) Kit

    1. Kit - thank you! I will soon be posting some new pix!

  2. A long time in the making and so exciting now for it all to become reality. Enjoy!

    1. Tammy - it means so much to get this note from you. It was so wonderful yesterday; we are exhausted from the emotion - still trying to recover.

  3. How exciting to finally see your dream realized. I have only driven through Montana years ago as a child, but mountain living is the greatest. Thanks for stopping by the Garden Spot.

    1. Ann - thank you for visiting my blog. We are very blessed to be surrounded by the beauty of the mountains! Have a great weekend!

  4. If we were younger, it would probably be one of 5 states, Montana being right near the top and then to be building your dream home, how wonderful. It looks great, can't wait to see it all completed~

    1. Mary - thanks for visiting my blog! I am looking forward to document the ongoing process of finishing the house!

  5. Our purchases were just the opposite. We bought our float cabin first and then our condo in town. Our purchases came in 2001 but retirement had to wait until 2005. Since we could only visit the float cabin during school holidays we at first through it was enough. After my first Thanksgiving there alone during a terrible storm I decided we needed a town location other than a hotel to keep us from going up or down the lake in dangerous conditions. - Margy


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