Bud and Alice Kauffman remember when the proud spruce and aspen trees in their yard were just twigs. Alice Kauffman also remembers hauling hundreds of flat stones for the terraced gardens surrounding the couple's Oak Creek abode.
Stone by stone, tree by tree, and room by room, the Kauffmans built more than just a home. They created an oasis of privacy and calm filled with memories of family gatherings, picnics and campfires.
"This has always been my place on earth where I feel comfortable," said Bud Kauffman, whose grandfather, Elmer Kauffman, homesteaded the 24-acre property at the end of Routt County Road 49Z more than 100 years ago.
Prospective buyers would never know they were just minutes from downtown Oak Creek. The land, with its multiple meadows, springs and secluded, aspen-lined valleys, seems out of a storybook.
That feeling is accentuated in the gardens surrounding the home.
The result of more than 15 years of work, rock beds are filled with lupine, columbines, daisies and other perennials. Lilac bushes and mature trees border lush turf, and pavers provide simple pathways through gravel clearings.
Although the Kauffmans say they spend most of their time working in their yard, they have created quiet nooks throughout the yard for relaxing. Various patios and decks lead from the house into the gardens and a small, detached deck near the home provides an ideal spot for a patio table and chairs.
The Kauffmans began building their 1,750-square-foot home in 1973, gradually adding new touches and improvements through the years. Most living space in the home is on the main level.
A roomy entryway with new tile leads into a remodeled kitchen. A large bedroom and bathroom/laundry area are down the hall from the kitchen.
Nearby, a spacious living room features a gas fireplace, vaulted ceilings and large windows overlooking the yard. A sunroom provides a comfortable place to enjoy the scenery in the summer and winter months.
From the main floor, a spiral staircase leads to a large loft, ideal as an extra sleeping area or TV room. The room, which also has a private deck and high ceilings, also could serve as a master suite.
Newer windows, carpets and finishes lend an overall sense of comfort to the very clean home.
"Even though this house isn't huge, it's open and easy to live in because of all of the storage space," Alice Kauffman said.
Outside, there is a 50-by-30-foot garage/shop for vehicle and other storage.
The home is connected to the Oak Creek water system, and two springs on the property provide additional water for landscaping and any animals.
The Kauffmans' home is being offered at $498,000. Call Jane Stitt at Town & Country Properties, 736-1000.