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The Colorado Timber Home That Took Decades to Build

This homeowner waited over thirty years to realize her vision of building a mountain home in Crested Butte, Colorado. The three-story timber frame structure is tucked into a hillside and blends organically with its surroundings. This Colorado beauty was well worth the wait.

Written by Suzanna Logan
Photography by James Ray Spahn

Pris Hodges is one of those people who, when she puts her mind to something, she does it. So, when she sat down with her mother in the mid-1980s and sketched out her dream home, she knew she would build it … someday. Only someday didn’t come the next year, the next decade, or even the decade after that. Still, her dream lived on in those pictures, tucked away out of sight, but never out of mind. Finally, Pris felt a nudge that it was time. She purchased a 55-acre piece of land in Crested Butte, Colorado, where she used to go skiing as a child. Next, she pulled the sketches out — their preciousness amplified by the passing of her mother since their creation — and began making plans to make Hodges Hideaway a reality. “What my mom always said was, ‘Get a vision — draw it out in your mind exactly how you want it — keep it, then make it come to life,’” she says. 
And, that’s exactly what Pris did. She then joined forces with Sunlit Architecture and Steve and Paul Pike from Pike Builders, Inc. in Gunnison, Colorado, and detailed everything she and her mom had planned. The vision? “A little cabin in the woods,” Pris says. They executed that vision so well that if you blink you could miss the home, tucked into a hillside so that the three-story structure appears to be a single level that blends organically into its surroundings.
“So often everything is designed with big rooflines and big gabled ends and lots of glass. This was designed to be like something you would see in the middle of the woods,” explains Steve Pike. “This isn’t your prototypical mountain home,” he continues. “It truly has this feel of being an old trapper’s cabin.”

Furthering the historic sense of the home, it’s made of hand-hewn timbers (from an old mill in California built at the turn of the century) combined with chinking. “We developed a process where we can add sand, sawdust and even straw to synthetic chinking so it has an older look,” Pike says. Inside, a system of heavy timber trusses and hand-forged wrought-iron tie beams add authenticity to the structure, along with reclaimed boards on the ceilings and three cobblestone fireplaces.

In addition to being the muse for the simple cabin vision, Pris’ mom was the guiding force behind the specifics, too. For starters, the kitchen needed to be laid out in a triangle “for good workflow,” says Pris. The bedrooms had to be roomy — “there has to be enough space to walk around the bed so it’s easier to make.” And because you should “always have somewhere you can sit outside,” there needed to be an outdoor area dedicated to blissed-out lounging. Lastly, there had to be a barn and stables that would allow the property to serve as an animal sanctuary in honor of her twin sister, Pam’s, passion for animals.

To her original list, Pris added a few more requirements: three en suite bedrooms to ensure comfort and privacy for weekend guests, an easy-flowing open floor plan to encourage conversation, a loft for movie-watching, a separate basement apartment and, above all, perfectly framed views of the jaw-dropping landscape that extends for miles from the edge of the property.

With such striking views outside, the look inside the home had big boots to fill. The finishes include century-old hardwood floors (with their original patina, of course), log-topped vanities, hand-made cabinetry and barn doors galore. When it was time to add the final touches to the western-themed space, Pris was the girl for the job. She had once owned an antique store and used many of those treasures to give the home a collected-over-time vibe. “A lot of those things sat in a warehouse for ten years because I knew I wanted to use them someday,” she says.

Now that she has settled into her long-awaited dream home, what’s it really like living in a place where your nearest neighbors are deer, elk and a mama bear and her cubs? “It’s quiet and peaceful,” says Pris. “You don’t hear anything but the swish of the leaves, except maybe the rain on the tin roof sometimes. When I’m there, I have this feeling of, ‘Here you go, mom.’”

Timber Home Details:

Square Footage: 5,805 (including separate apartment and garage)
Architect: Sunlit Architecture, 970-349-5311; sunlitarchiteture.com
Builder: Pike Builders, 970-641-6600; pikebuilders.com

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