The Edgewood Story
The Edgewood Story
Brian Schafer has been in the industry for over 40 years. At only 21 years of age, he launched his first business, the Log Home Log Company, which milled and manufactured timber for wholesale distribution.
Without any formal education in engineering, Schafer built his mill out of an old steam-driven machine lathe (originally used to manufacture cannon barrels during World War I) and sourced all of the wood from a local logger. By the time the mill was completed, he had already sold seven log home packages. Before long, business flourished, allowing him to expand his distribution reach internationally—and he was only getting started.
Schafer longed to take his talents beyond the mill, striving to one day design and build exquisitely crafted log homes families would cherish for generations. Armed with only his dream and an unfinished high school degree, he spent the next ten years learning the ins and outs of the log home construction business.
“I knew that I wanted to get into the custom-creation side of the industry, and I felt that design was going to be a key differentiator there,” he recalls. “However, I also knew I needed to take the time to learn the business as a whole—the design side, the raw materials acquisition side, the on-site construction side—for this endeavor to be successful. I have a perfectionist element to my personality, an innate compulsion to do things the right way. I knew that I couldn’t create the high-quality, design-driven company I envisioned without a holistic understanding of all aspects of the business.”
As a young adult, Schafer spent five years in apprenticeship under several master builders. One of their favorite phrases was “anything worth doing is worth doing right,” and Schafer knew he wanted to apply the same approach to his own growing company.
Though this approach lay in direct opposition to the mass-production building models that have dominated the home construction markets since the 1970s, Schafer did not waver: “In the 1950s and ’60s, when a family built a custom home, they hired an architect/master builder who worked directly with them throughout the entire process. That individual not only designed the house, but also managed the construction of the project, reviewed and approved the payments to the people working on the project, and made key decisions about important material elements. This heritage of ‘creative ownership’ and craftsmanship in home building has been largely forgotten by the industry, but it still is—and always will be—the model for Edgewood’s business.”
In 1991, Schafer chose to relocate his company to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho—located just miles outside of Montana’s “Log Home Row”—where his original log milling business completed its transition into a full-service log home construction firm. He officially re-incorporated the company in 1994 under the name Edgewood Log Structures.
“By 1994, we had established a solid reputation as a firm and were known for putting design and client service at the forefront of everything that we do. We also gained a lot of attention and publicity for our numerous design and structural innovations,” Schafer says.
As Edgewood grew, so did the company’s reliability for consistently delivering extraordinary, previously unimagined log home designs, integral building practices, and an unprecedented level of personalized service on-time and on-budget.
The company attributes its growth primarily to people’s personal experiences within its homes and a stunning 90% client referral rate. “People walk up to our projects and their typical reaction is, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never seen anything like this!’” shares Schafer. “There is something fundamentally different from our work—it’s a grace and elegance that can most accurately be summed up with the word ‘forethought.’”
The same reputation precedes Edgewood when it comes to employing tradespeople. “Most of my staff has been working with Edgewood for years. They appreciate the thoughtful design and structural approach we apply to everything we do. They’re craftsmen who deeply care about the legacy of the work they leave behind.”
While it is certainly important for a client to hire a company that exhibits creativity in its projects, Edgewood believes there is so much more to be considered. “My team and I derive just as much satisfaction in the typically mundane details of a project, understanding that these smaller parts contribute just as much to ensuring each project is builder-friendly, structurally integral, as well as aesthetically pleasing. That is the innovation and attention to detail that provides intrinsic value to our projects and clients. This approach delivers a level of quality that is rather unheard of in our industry. In fact, after building more than 800 homes, Edgewood has never been called back on a single structural failure. Never.”
“The typical log home company today is a ‘supplier.’ Now, to build one of these homes you do need a supplier, but you also need an architect, a structural engineer, a general contractor, and an interior designer… and you need all of them to work together cohesively over an extended period throughout multiple project phases. At Edgewood, we take care of all of that for you, ultimately delivering an exceptional, one-of-a-kind home designed to last for centuries- not just a couple of decades.”
Today, Brian Schafer has achieved the career he once dreamt about forty years ago when he began his milling operation: designing and building bespoke homes for a limited number of clients at a time.
His long-held vision of creating a factory-direct company where the innovative and industry-changing architectural solutions perfected through Edgwood could be made available to the industry has come to life with the introduction of Big Cabin this past year. Previously only available in an Edgewood home, these magnificent systems are now available to architects, builders/developers, and discerning homeowners direct though our new website.
“In my experience, I’ve found that people can actually feel this level of thoughtful design and detailing when they walk into an Edgewood home,” says Schafer. “The discerning layperson can feel the excellence that our company’s respect for the trade and a true level of craftsmanship creates.”
Now, Edgewood has projects spanning the United States, primarily throughout the western Rocky Mountains, from Steamboat Springs and Telluride in Colorado; the San Juan Islands in Washington; Lake Tahoe, California; McCall, Coeur d’Alene, and Sun Valley, Idaho; as well as numerous locations in Japan.
Attention to detail, a sophisticated (and thoughtful) approach to design, and seamless, natural integration of the exterior landscape with the home’s interior… We are proud to say that these are the distinctive features of an Edgewood log home.