Building Character: Planning a Colorado Log Home

Planning a log home in the Colorado Mountains. Log Home Design feature on planning a Colorado log home.

Rear view of snow covered cabin.

The couple had craved a rustic mountain abode for years and finally found the perfect spot to build it: a secluded parcel of mountain property that offered sweeping vistas, but was only 30 miles to Denver and 25 miles to Boulder. And with adult sons Boris and Roman in the building arts, too, the whole clan worked together to craft a one-of-a-kind, 4,600-square-foot log home in scenic Golden, Colorado. The family business, Y and V Construction/Canyon Builders, has been responsible for many of the area’s beautiful houses, but this was their first foray into log homes.  

Yelena felt that the natural look of a log home was particularly suited to the pine-treed, mountainside lot they purchased, so they began to investigate their options. With their building expertise in their back pockets, the enterprising couple chose to buy the logs from a wholesaler, rather than purchase a log home package. Although the round profile, Swedish-coped logs are cleanly milled, the Lavrinenkos chose a cabin-grade log rather than a standard-grade. “Cabin-grade logs have some marks,” explains Yelena. “Some are left in rather than sanded out; some are chiseled. The profile is not perfectly round, which is what we wanted. They look more like handcrafted logs.”

Dining area with ornately decorated table.

The three-bedroom, four-bath home had to be functional for Victor and Yelena since it’s their full-time residence, but the home is really a showcase for the gorgeous timbers—some of which were harvested onsite. For example, a tree that had to be removed by a local utility company was deemed by Yelena to be “too pretty to waste.” A good portion of that tree ended up as a mantelpiece. Other unique timbers that Yelena calls “character logs” are integrated into the home in a variety of ways.

For example, she and Victor chiseled away at a salvaged tree trunk, revealing the lustrous sapwood beneath the bark. That log found a new home as the staircase-landing support in the front entryway. To complement the rustic character of the wood, Victor applied some judicious hand-texturing to the home’s few interior drywalled surfaces, and Yelena devised the wrought-iron railing and fireplace grille design, using a French-inspired fleur de lis motif. In a burst of ingenuity, the Lavrinenkos used the leftover railing material to create custom curtain rods and continued the metal theme with black wrought-iron lighting fixtures throughout the home.

Wooden stairs leading into the tiled landing.

The hardwood floors on the main level are wide-plank pine, laid in a random pattern of 6-, 8- and 10-inch widths. “I wanted a worn, rustic look, not a smooth one, so I distressed it myself,” says Yelena. One coat of cherry-hued stain was followed by five coats of tung oil, a time-consuming process that paid off with distinctive results. For easy upkeep, the floor in the heavily trafficked entryway is slate tile, and the lower-level bedrooms are carpeted for added warmth. But this wasn’t just a labor of love on the part of Yelena and Victor—this was a family affair.

One of the couple’s sons, Boris, installed all of the doors, trim, crown moldings and the knotty-alder cabinetry, as well as constructed the mantels and built-ins. Son Roman built the custom staircase alongside his father, Victor; sanded all of the log courses and posts for the stairs; and lent mom Yelena a hand laying and finishing the floors. In the end, this beautiful home provided just what the Lavrinenkos wanted—a house built by and for the entire family, with lots of character.

Home Details:

Square footage: 4,600

Builder: Y and V Construction/Canyon Builders

Log Provider: Log Home Outlet