Rustic Exterior, Deluxe Interior
The Boulder log cabin home needn’t be an unheated shack missing electricity with an outhouse out back. Far from it.
Today’s mountain cabin can be rustic visually and quite contemporary simultaneously.
Like any home in Boulder CO, the bucolic cabins that dot the close in mountain living around Boulder are frequently adorable outside and quite nicely appointed within. A classic example of this would be the community in Lyons along Riverside Drive.
Homes there appear quaint and quiet. But with soaring real estate values, owners have gone to great lengths to improve the interiors and offer top of the line amenities.
The vast majority of homes have exchanged vaults for septic, cisterns for well water. You would be pressed from inside not to feel as though you are simply in a contemporary home.
Riverside Drive Lyons Colorado
A great example of a classic Boulder log cabin home is the property at 259 Riverside – last listed and sold by Regel & Associates back in 2016. List price was $399,000; the cabin settled for $360,000.
First off – $360K is not the number I would think a cabin back in the woods is going to fetch. And this is far from some homely oversized shed in the woods. This is the kind of log cabin people move to Boulder Colorado to call home!
Three bedrooms and two bathrooms, nearly 1200 square feet, well priced because it is a solid commute to Boulder proper. For this price, you live right next door to a bubbling river. Outside the dirt road swings right by your residence.
And it looks like a traditional log cabin. Its super cute, with a bright red door secured behind a darker screened front door. The logs have a classic rough-hewn look and of course, there is a stunning chimney of moss rock dominating one wall of the home. Just seeing this from outside I would want to go in.
Indoors it is contemporary meets country. Hardwood floors to be sure but also wood ceilings – and vaulted to add a contemporary vibe. Stainless steel appliances adorn the kitchen of this Boulder log cabin home – that’s one of the latest trends for kitchens. As are the white on white cabinets and slab granite counter tops.
The bathrooms are equally nicely appointed. From start to finish, this home radiates a welcoming beautiful vibe.
Buyer Beware: Cons of Living In a Boulder Log Cabin Home
Insuring your log home might be more expensive than a traditional property. This is usually more about location than finish.
Many cities across the USA have zoning limitations that can keep a log cabin further from the city center. That extra distance away combined with the construction method can cause this sort of living structure to have a higher insurance rate.
To address this, some mountain communities offer a community water cistern to help bring down insurance costs. Another trick to keep your Boulder log cabin home more insurable: Michelle Miley says to consider a fire retardant roof.
Your Not Building A Lean-To
Another consideration insurers take is balancing the uniqueness of the structure with the track record of the builder. For the DIY home builder, making a one of a kind structure, the best advice is to start early on getting insurance. Even before you lay the foundation.
Building your own log home? Consider getting a kit. Conestoga Log Cabins & Homes offers the Boulder Lodge Log Cabin starting at $25,900. Of course, when you throw in the lot, hook up fees, water … Still, for the Do It Yourself entrepreneur seeking a not-so-big house, this is the ultimate way to create your own Boulder log cabin home.
While you may be up for the adventure of felling your own trees like the American pioneers that settled our country, insurance companies can find it difficult to insure such a unique house.
Another consideration with your log abode – and really any Boulder mountain home – is how close are the trees. While a home surrounded by trees can have a fairy tale feeling, insurance agents only see fuel for a fire.
Clearing the woods around your house is a good safety design and will help get you a better insurance rate!
Durable And Energy Efficient Design
Log cabins are built by craftsmen. You take your average stick / frame built home in any subdivision around town, that house is probably built by a huge crew.
Sure, there are some very knowledgeable contractors But a lot of the work is managing the process and following the same plan again again.
Not so with a log cabin home. Each one is a work of art. In Russia, there are cabins dating back 800 to 1000 years. These are homes built to stand the test of time.
The log house was a great innovation for its time to. Don’t be surprised to discover your Boulder log cabin house is 25-30% more heat efficient than a traditional built home.
Craftsman Detailed Lodge
And that craftsman custom attention is going to fill the house with intricate details from top to bottom. Around Boulder we see a lot of innovative materials. Aluminum, glass walls, stucco. But when it comes to warmth, your Boulder log cabin is apt to be dramatically toastier indoors.
Fast Fact: Wood is over 1700 times more insulating than aluminum and 15 times better than masonry according to MakeItWood.
And inside, its very common to find the latest and greatest materials. Slab granite looks gorgeous alongside hewn beams. Modern double pane windows were made for mountain living.
Luxurious carpet is going to keep your feet (and soul) warm on upper floors – you don’t have to rough just because it is log construction!
Log Cabins Stay Cool In Summer
The logs are great at slowing the overheating of a cabin in the summertime too. As the sun bears down on a mountain home, that log construction will absorb the heat and keep it from immediately penetrating into your house. The effect: your cabin stays cooler in the summer!
Something about Colorado. Most every time I show a Boulder cabin, there is fresh water gurgling alongside. I’m not sure if it is an unwritten rule or something. But I’ll take it. Makes for a very pretty scene! Now, where is my fishing rod…
Cozy Log Living Space
Part of the allure for cabin living is the beautiful space created within.
Vaulted, wood paneled ceilings are a common feature. Wood burning stoves that provide ample heat seem to be another staple. But don’t feel you need to quit your day job and self-isolate in the mountains.
Cabins can be a mix of new and old. With internet services offered via Satellite and so many television options through streaming, there’s no reason your Boulder log cabin home can’t just be a one of kind pad a few miles off the beaten path!
Really, the things that any Boulder mountain home have are apt to be the biggest life style changes. Such as the plumbing.
One of the bigger adjustments is living with a septic system. Boulder requires all homes conform with the Septic Smart regulations. Older homes need to be retrofitted to meet this stringent code.
For a home buyer, this is an important part of the inspection process. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to bring a Boulder Country property to code for Septic Smart.
There are some small modifications owners are known to do to keep the costs down.
For instance, the number of bedrooms can impact the size of the leech field. So sometimes a room will be built without a closet or have a vinyl rather than carpeted floor. Ah ha, according to code, that room is not a bedroom. And your leech field can be smaller.
After passing inspections, the owner might then add a rug and an armoire to hold the clothes. And wah-la, you have a bedroom.
But the real differences between the two systems come down to maintenance and prevention of issues. Its critical to be careful what you flush into your system. Septic tanks have real difficulty with things you might just flush in a city home. And its not as easy as having roto rooter flush a line.
What About Water And Utilities?
Water can be another change. In most city homes, you have city or municipal water. Trun the faucet and it flows out for lawns and dishes and showers and filling water balloons.
But up in the mountains, on a well, you may find yourself more limited. Low pressure can mean you only do one activity at time. Flush a toilet or run the dishwasher. And your well is going to replenish so much water an hour.
As part of a Boulder mountain home inspection, be sure to check the well out thoroughly! For some Boulder log cabin homes, the best solution is adding a cistern in addition to the well. This way you always have a backup supply of water on hand.
Another small adaptation for mountain homes in Boulder is propane as opposed to natural gas. For the most part, this means having some adjustments made to your HVAC system and purchasing appliances that can operate on propane.
And you’ll need to get propane deliveries during good weather. Most homes can have electric regardless of location. Just be prepared for a tap fee if building new.
And if building new, even if you are looking to, “get off the grid,” be sure to put enough outlets for code. With all the devices we use these days, plus lamps for light, etc., you want to make sure you have plenty of easy places to plug in.
The Dawn Of The Covered Porch
In the city, its back decks and patios and umbrellas. But in the mountains, more frequently it is the covered front porch that captures the imagination. After all, mountain homes are built for the view. Sometimes it is most practical to have that view out the front of your home.
There is a great Bob Vila article about various log homes around the country, loaded with pretty pictures. Its easy to imagine sitting on a covered porch, rocking and sipping a cool beverage while hearing the sounds of mother nature and all with an amazing views.
Nothing better than taking in a starry night or sipping a coffee on a crisp dewy morning from the comfort of your porch.
Real Wood Fire Places
I’m also thrilled by the stone fireplace. This is an ever present element in cabins. Yes, it is for heat and purpose, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy endless hours curled up on a couch with the blast of warm woodsy air gorgeously heating a wall of stone from hearth to ceiling.
I grew up with a real wood fireplace and have the best memories. These days, it is all the rage to have the convenience of gas. And I’ve been known to throw the switch a time or two. But there is something endlessly romantic about a real wood burning fireplace.
Boulder Mountain Cabins: Maybe Just For The Weekend Get Away
The great part about Air BNB and all the online vacation rental sites is you don’t have to commit to a cabin for the rest of your life. Ready for a breath of fresh mountain air? Consider renting a little piece of paradise for the weekend.
These days, even if you are local, you can grab a beautiful Boulder log cabin home just for the weekend. Not Boulder, but this one caught my eye recently!
There are endless possibilities from renting in the ski towns to the hills above town. For owners thinking of getting into the rental business, be forewarned.
Thinking of building the perfect home/Air BnB project? Lumber Jack Homes has the Boulder model. at 1,284 square feet, its a perfect mix of customizable space!
The city of Boulder has instituted numerous codes regarding taxes, owner occupancy, days of availability. The city is always looking to find the best mix between honoring the neighborhood and allowing for the free market to operate.
Great Cabin Rentals Around Colorado
Stay the night in Chautauqua in a historic cabin circa 1900. Try a weekend on a dude ranch (I did this up by Rifle with the family) or a stone’s throw from a natural hot springs. Again something I’ve tried and highly recommend.
Or just head up the road to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Forest. There are so many great getaways in Colorado and many offer rustic cabin options with all the comforts of home! Check out this handy blog loaded with vacation ideas.
Contact Bob Gordon Today
Find your perfect home today. Contact me to get your custom home search started or visit my IDX page with lots of great mountain homes for you to peruse. Thank you for checking out my blog.