Teton Blessed | An Idaho Log Home

An East Coast family settles in the foothills of the Teton Range in a home that's welcoming, bright and certainly unforgettable.

Dave Abbott may have taken the unusual step of adding central air-conditioning to the main level of his Victor, Idaho, log home, but that's not the only thing that makes the place so cool. "We wanted something that would stand out, rather than just being another home in the mountains," says Dave of his 5,100-square-foot beauty. "The area has a lot of conventional homes, a lot of houses with log accents and some log cabins, but there were no real handcrafted log homes around. And to this day, there still aren't." Except for his six-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath stunner, that is. Long a dream for Dave and his wife, Penny (both Vermont transplants who'd spent decades in the Midwest), the Idaho home took just 15 months to build—despite the fact that the Abbotts, back East at the time, had to oversee the project from 2,600 miles away. Much of the credit for the flawless result, insists Dave, goes to Alta, Wyoming, builder Kurt Mitchell. "He went way beyond what I expected in terms of attention to detail, and he took ownership of the process," recalls Dave. "Having a builder who was connected in terms of understanding what we were striving for was very important, and he came through with flying colors."

Important, too, was finding the right log provider—especially for a home like the Abbotts', with its massive, hand-hewn Douglas fir logs and elaborate beam work. "We looked at a lot of different options, and we thought, 'If we're going log, we want to go authentic,'" says Dave. "This is how log homes are supposed to be: real logs that real people peeled and put together." He and Penny found those real logs (and extremely talented people) at Meridian, Idaho-based PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes, whose design firm, Mountain Architects, helped the couple tweak a standard floorplan into a one-of-a-kind showpiece. "We added the garage and then just went room by room and fine-tuned the design," recalls lead architect Tim Schafer. "The biggest challenge was situating the garage and the house to achieve the best view." Not that there's a bad view from Dave and Penny's 3/4-acre property, nestled as it is on the Wyoming border and near the snow-capped Grand Tetons. In fact, Dave even modified his upper-level loft—by opening it up on both sides—to capitalize on the scenery. Towering walls of windows let in the scenery, too, along with the toasty eastern and western sun every morning and evening—hence, the wise decision to add the main-level A/C. "People told us we'd never need air conditioning in Idaho," says Dave. But then, few properties there are likely as cool as his.

Home Plan Details:

Square Footage: 5,100

Log Company: PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes

Architect: Mountain architects Builder: Kurt Mitchell