It’s no secret to Ray and Michelle Clopton that their northern Colorado timber frame home is something special. “The first thing anyone says when they walk in is, ‘Wow!’” according to Michelle. “We even have delivery people ask if they can take pictures of it,” adds Ray with a chuckle.
But it’s not just the two-legged visitors that have the Cloptons convinced their home is extraordinary. Since moving into the home in 2018, the couple has had regular sightings of black bears, moose, deer and even cougars. “It’s an enchanted place,” says Ray.
In fact, it was their first trip up the mountain to visit the property that earned the house its nickname. “We came up to the property, and there was a big black bear just sitting on the road.” explains Ray. “It sort of lazily moved on, and that’s how we got the name of the property — ‘Sitting Bear Ridge.’”
Perched high above a valley without another house in view, the home delivers unbeatable sight lines to towering trees and even bigger skies, and it was this unspoiled panorama that caused Ray and Michelle to take the timber home plunge. “We weren’t actively looking when we came across the property on Zillow, but those views won us over,” says Ray.
Having lived across the canyon for nearly two decades, they weren’t newcomers to the mountain life, but their transition was significant nonetheless. Besides trading their 2-acre plot for 70 acres, they took on their first custom-home build. “We went into it rather naively, thinking it wouldn’t cost that much money or take longer than six months,” admits Ray. (From closing on the property to move-in day, the process took about four years.) Michelle adds: “You go into it prepared to pick out things like the flooring and countertops, but you’re literally choosing every detail, down to the doorknobs.”
But if the devil is in the details, so is the divine. The ability to influence every design decision is exactly what makes the timber home with log accents so spectacular.
At the home’s entrance, a pair of massive, white cedar character posts stand sentinel, while the sidelights around the front door are etched with aspens, nodding to the state’s iconic tree. Inside, a fireplace built with local moss rock — handpicked by Ray — anchors the great room, while an undulating granite backsplash in the kitchen pays homage to the rising and falling peaks of the Rocky Mountains. At the rear of the home, a pair of climbing bear sculptures carved into a decaying tree continue the custom feel outside the great room window.
Other stand-out features of the nearly 5,000-square-foot residence include the Douglas fir timbers that form repeating hammerbeam trusses, layers of cozy decks and patios that keep the couple and their guests connected to the outdoors and the solar-powered system, which allows the home to function completely independent of other energy sources. “The whole house is run off of two underground propane tanks, 45 lead acid batteries, plus a host of solar panels, so it’s totally self-sustaining” says project manager Brian Hair of Colorado Timberframe, who also shares that the frame is encased by SIPs and spray foam. Ray adds: “You could call it luxury, off-grid living.”
With all of the design decisions and construction behind them, the couple can finally relax. “It was fun, but exhausting,” laughs Michelle. They now have the perfect place to sit back take it all in, day or night. “You can really see the Milky Way, and we have great meteor showers,” says Ray. “But we also have awesome sunsets; they’re jaw-dropping.” Just like the home, itself.
Square Footage: 5,000
Baths: 2 full, 1 half
Timber Frame Company: Colorado Timberframe