By John Allaire T here’s something about a log home that draws you in and sparks your imagination. And log home builders are artists commissioned to translate the imagina- tions of clients and fulfilling dreams. Stepping away from “box construction” and sculpting every beam and notch. Esau explains the appeal. “I thought about what I wanted to do in the future and it wasn’t 2x4 framing. I wanted to do something a little more unique and interesting. So I started looking into how I would go about building log homes.” Keeping the business manageable and remaining true to what they do best is key to their principles. “I work with two or three other contractors pretty regularly. We build the home here in the yard, take it apart and build it again at the customer’s site. Then the customer takes care of all the other stuff. We are involved in the planning stage and we consult with the other contractors along the way. But our focus is on making sure the log construction is done properly,” Esau explains. Back Country’s homes have ended up being re-construct- ed as far away as Western Alberta, but the bulk of their work comes from right at home in Saskatchewan. Proximity can be be an important piece in the puzzle, because scouting the client’s location and ensuring the foundation work is done according to the plan can save on headaches down the road. Doucette adds that communication between con- tractors at the early stages is paramount to saving time and money. “We find ourselves checking and re-checking and keeping a constant dialogue going with our contractors.” Doucette also points out that some remote locations can pose the biggest challenge to their home construction efforts. “There have been areas where weather conditions and trucking have made it just about impossible to get the logs up and into places. A lot of these homes are obvious- ly in rural locations and the roads are not made for large vehicle access. But that’s all part of the game. If it were easy, then everyone would do it!” Another topper on the list of priorities for Back Country is the quality of logs and wood they use for their construction. In fact, they go to great lengths, and distances, to ensure they are using the best product Mother Nature can offer. This means sourcing out in British Columbia, where the rep- utation for unique construction lumber is second to none.

“We build with a lot of Douglas fir and Western red cedar, some spruce, and it all comes out of BC,” Esau explains.

“The logs that are around here in Saskatchewan, overall they aren’t up to par quality-wise for what we’re doing. There is a lot of taper and spiral grain to the logs and the trees are just a lower grade altogether for our type of con- struction. And we like to really focus on quality, so it’s worth the effort to get the wood out of BC.”

The wood home industry on the Prairies seems to be



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