Craig Lodge has found himself in many sticky situations.
As a firefighter, he came face to face with wildfires in California and Colorado. As a banker, he was stabbed nine times and pistol-whipped five times in a robbery in Los Angeles. And, as a home remodeler, he has taken on a project that, though not life-threatening, is entirely too big for him, his family and his budget.
After vacationing in Steamboat Springs several times over the years, the Lodge family moved to Steamboat in 1996. Lodge found his niche in remodeling homes, taking old buildings and turning them into his own modern interpretations. When trying to find a project in Steamboat, he stumbled upon an advertisement for an old lodge near Pearl Lake in Clark.
The lodge was built in 1972 as a lodge for a ski area that was being built nearby on the north side of Lester Mountain. The ski area, which was dubbed the "Steamboat Lake Ski Area," stayed open from January to April 1973, according to "The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs," by Sureva Towler. But it closed almost immediately because of an economic recession and a lack of skiers coming to the area. The ski lift installed there is now the lift for Howelsen Hill in Steamboat.
The 10,000-square-foot lodge was to house a country club for an 18-hole golf course, according to Towler. While Lodge has collected a couple of tee markers from the old course, the golf course never was completed. The country club and lodge were completed, but were never used. It sat empty for nearly 25 years.
Lodge saw the ad for the building and visited it. He took one look at the building, its views of Pearl Lake, Hahn's Peak and the Mount Zirkel Wilderness -- and the less-than-$300,000 price tag -- and knew he had to do something with it.
"Here was all this potential, just sitting here empty -- it just bothered me," Lodge said. "For the next seven years, I heard people say, 'I was going to do that.'"
At first, Lodge said he didn't know what he wanted to do with the property. Mostly, it was a matter of a "frustrated and arrogant remodeler" just wanting to do the project, Lodge said.
"We never really thought of the future," Lodge said. "We're not big house people, and we really had no idea what we could do with it."
Lodge converted the building into his house during five years of major renovations.
Lodge and his family renamed the building "Three Gables Lodge," in light of its three-gable roof. Lodge started in the kitchen and spent the first two years doing all the work himself but finally realized he wasn't getting very far. He brought in a crew and completed the renovations in 2001.
Major work included downsizing the commercial-size bathrooms into residential-size, converting bar areas into bedrooms, installing modern radiant heat in the floors, putting on an insulated, heavy snow-load roof and toning down other meant-to-be commercial elements into more personal spaces. The work was costing Lodge about $10,000 per week, he said.
"I tend to overdo stuff," Lodge said. "I've done quality all my life, and it tends to cost me. We put every penny of our life savings into this place and then started borrowing. I guess I'm a poor budgeter. This remodel cost four times as much as remodeling a regular home."
The house has five levels, hundreds of windows, four or possibly five bedrooms, five full bathrooms and three half bathrooms.
The house sits on 37 acres, next to a 90-acre common use area for the six other residents in the area. The Lodge property also features a 30-by-60-foot, 5-stall barn, as well as a three-car garage and large workshop attached to the house.
Lodge is asking $1.79 million for the home, down from $2.2 million as originally priced three years ago. The price equates to about $140 per square foot for the acreage and home, Lodge said, which is below normal pricing for a structure of its caliber in the North Routt County area.
"It takes us a full weekend just to clean the place," Lodge said. "We want something smaller."
The grandeur of the house is revealed in the huge, vaulted-ceiling living room, complete with a large fireplace. The house also features a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, cherry cabinets with etched glass, and stainless steel sinks and appliances.
The bottom floor has been used as an area for Lodge's children, complete with bedrooms and private bathrooms and an enormous playroom/exercise room.
The master bedroom suite also is large, with a walk-in closet and an elegant master bathroom built with travertine tiles.
The property is just a few short yards from Pearl Lake.
Lodge's renovated lodge is listed with Prudential Steamboat Realty, which can be reached at 879-8100.
-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204
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