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Built of Dreams: A Log Home in Steamboat Springs

On the uppermost lot of Ski Trail Lane sits See Me Lodge, the perfect culmination of the homeowner's childhood sketches



Photo: David Patterson

In a New Jersey elementary school, Mike Donnelly’s teacher had her students build log homes out of sticks as part of her lesson about the pioneer days. While other children goofed off, Donnelly took it seriously, building the best log home he could.  The project sparked a growing fascination in log homes; he continued to sketch idyllic log dwellings in front of mountain backdrops for the rest of his childhood.

Decades later, Mike Donnelly, who is now a Florida-based landscape designer, and his wife Mary decided to make those childhood dreams come true. After many ski trips to different mountainous states, they fell in love with the state of Colorado. “I decided I was going to pursue finding the right community,” Donnelly says. “I would find the right ski town to set up camp for the Donnellys, and then I would indeed, finally, build a log home.” After much travel and deliberation, the couple decided on Steamboat Springs because of the history, the “Great Big West” feel it offers, and the friendly community.

Searching for the right spot in Steamboat was also a challenge, but eventually Donnelly walked up one particular dirt driveway, to a lot located directly below the gondola at the uppermost point of Ski Trail Lane, and his jaw dropped. “I looked out and my very first thought was, ‘Wow. If I could buy this lot, I will put up a Montana log home, and my journey will come full circle,’” he says.

With the help of Gabe Butler with Montana Log Homes of Colorado, the couple created one of Steamboat Springs’ most recognizable residences, a custom-built Montana log home called See Me Lodge. A play on words for the initials of the couple’s three children—Christopher, Michael, and Erin—“CME” became “See Me Lodge,” the perfect culmination of their father’s dream home and a place for the family to enjoy their love for the town of Steamboat. “It’s fitting,” Donnelly adds, “because the home is on the highest lot on the mountain. It’s shaped so we have a really wide frontage, and then it narrows into a pie shape into the back of the mountain, which gives us the real panoramic views.”

With shared North-East roots, Butler and Donnelly instantly it off and set out to make Donnelly’s dreams a reality. Donnelly wanted a true Montana log home built with the Scandinavian scribed technique, something he has been attracted to over the years, as opposed to other styles of log homes.  He also envisioned a strong exterior with straight-lined stone columns supporting giant porches made with the largest logs they could find. “Gabe was the biggest blessing in the world,” says Donnelly, “because he articulated everything to a T and helped me get the dream out of my head and into an architectural plan.”

The home’s wide-plank floors and vaulted ceilings pay homage to true log home craftsmanship. And that’s not the least of it. The 6,000-square-foot home was built with entertaining and exquisite views in mind. Five bedrooms, five bathrooms, plus a detached guesthouse with a bedroom and loft, all capitalize on extraordinary vantage points.

“One of my favorite spots is the cocktail room,” says Donnelly, “an octagonal room off of the porch. You sit down and there are windows all around you. The views are absolutely to die for. You’re looking right down into Yampa Valley, and you’ve got these flat-topped mountains in the background. It’s just spectacular. It never gets old however many times I look at it.”

A couple blocks away, one can access the slope that leads to the gondola; the home is ski-in but not ski-out. After an afternoon of snow sports, one can return to refuge and warmth with the lodge’s four-car garage, three roaring fireplaces, hot tub with Steamboat slope views, billiards room, and a private pub.

With all the time, effort, and thought invested into the property, See Me Lodge is still more than a spectacular home; it’s a childhood dream come to fruition. “Very rarely do you get to pursue a dream that you’ve built up over the years,” says Donnelly. “Not only did I get to pursue it, but I got to accomplish it. And the best part is getting to sit back and say, ‘Wow, this is so much better than I ever thought we could do. It has surpassed my dreams.”


Photo: Matt Eidt

Photo: Roger Wade

Photo: David Patterson

Photo: David Patterson

Photo: Roger Wade

Photo: David Patterson

Photo: Roger Wade

Photo: Roger Wade

Photo: Roger Wade

Photo: Roger Wade


Photo: David Patterson


Photo: Roger Wade

Photo: Matt Eidt

Photo: Matt Eidt

Photo: Matt Eidt

Photo: Matt Eidt

Photo: Matt Eidt

Photo: Roger Wade

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