Small Log Cabin Builders


As a boy growing up in Boulder, Colorado, led Valentiner aspired to one day own a little log cabin in the woods. “1 had a picture in my head of what it would look like,” says led. “1 even carried around a tattered photograph in my wallet of my dream cabin.”

Several decades later, the dream became reality. In 2012, Ted and his wife, Linda Shannon-Valentiner, purchased a lake property in Whitefish, Montana. Nestled in the foothills of the Rockies near Glacier National Park, this location had it all: an extensive network of trails for riding their horses, Buzz and Whiskey Pete; trout fishing for Ted on Whitefish Lake; and for Linda, lots of nearby vintage festivals and fairs her passion.


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The couple envisioned a year-round retreat that reflected their laid-back western lifestyle. They also wanted the cabin to blend in seamlessly with its surroundings. Montana Log Homes (MLH) in Kalispell was tapped as builder. Meeting with Eric Bachofner, the firm’s co-owner and draftsman,

The front porch of the owners’ log home near Glacier National Park. the first thing led and Linda said was that they wanted their new cabin to appear old. Accordingly, they chose a style of construction that features square timbers with handcrafted dovetail joinery at the corners. The whole philosophy of the dovetail construction is to make a structure look much older than it is,” explains MLH’s co-owner, Brad Neu. Using standing dead lodgepole pine logs from the Northwest makes the cabin look as if it’s been around since the 1800s. Gaps between the timbers arc filled with chinking material. (Note: Much of today’s chinking is an elastromeric material that’s flexible, moving with logs as they shift and settle.)

Construction got under way in June. A highlight of the process was seeing their cabin arrive on a flatbed truck and go up in a single day. “We sat in lawn chairs on the mountainside and watched them stack the logs like Lincoln Logs,” marvels Ted.

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