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Protecting Your Mountain Dream
by Jayne Stanley

Living in Colorado and at elevation fulfills many a mountain dream. Few places on earth can compare to the Mile High City and its neighboring mountain communities for beauty, outdoor adventure, sporting events, arts and cuisine — including world-class microbrews and fine wines. You have arrived … fulfilled the lofty goal of living in a lovely, Rocky Mountain home. But you might not want to wait for the alarm to sound before shaking off the dreamy haze and opening your eyes to reality at elevation — Mother Nature pummels your cherished castle daily.

A home at elevation, if not properly maintained, will last roughly half as long as its lowland neighbor because of our extreme variances in temperature, intense sun, dry climate and winds. Traditionally, homes have been our main asset, but they also reflect who we are — our status, our aesthetics, our lifestyle. We open our doors to guests, who (as you’ve probably noticed) visit frequently when you live in God’s Country. Naturally, we want our homes to be showplaces. If the big bad wind is huffing, puffing, and blowing Grandma’s hairdo from cracks around doors and windows, it’s just not pretty.

The trend in home building is “up, up and away” in size and location, and new building materials further complicate the picture. Homeowners find themselves overwhelmed by the home they have worked hard to achieve yet under-whelmed by the availability of reasonably priced, dependable home maintenance services. New high-tech homes and even the older mountain cabins require ongoing care to preserve and protect them against the elements, but who has the time or expertise? Time spent doing it yourself or repeatedly contracting for individual maintenance jobs takes time away from enjoying life and doing what you do best — making the living that enabled you to elevate your lifestyle in the first place.

Exhausted by nagging “honey-do” lists, husbands often put wives to the task of calling in several tradespeople for bids and timeframes. The wife, often alone or with children, then opens her door to complete strangers. Contractors often don’t return calls for small jobs, some never show up, and the worst ones make off with monies paid up front. Negative experiences sour homeowners on repair, encouraging neglect until time to sell, which then precipitates a mad rush and significant expense to bring the home back up to standards.

How interesting it is that when we purchase a new vehicle (a depreciating asset), we are handed a full-service plan spelling out precisely what must be maintained and at what intervals for the car to enjoy a long, healthy life. However, when we purchase a new home (an appreciating asset) we are typically given a one-year warranty and left to our own defenses.

Our homes grow gray around the temples, and so do we. In today’s frenzied world, finding freedom and reaping the joys of life far outweigh the need to track down or become a handyperson. When you put your thinking cap on you realize that approximately every $1 spent on preventive home maintenance saves $20–$100 in repair, not to mention time and frustration spent making multiple trips to the goliath home improvement center searching for that teeny-tiny, ill-fitting, plumbing part.

John Elliott, an 18-year Evergreen resident and former vice president for custom builder Sattler Homes, identified the need for affordable, reliable, long-term maintenance. In 2000, John teamed up with Dale Thornberry of Castle Rock to create a revolutionary concept: offer homeowners professional, year-round home maintenance services that save money and minimize stress. Let’s face it, home repair does not come cheap, and the water heater always decides to throw a tantrum during “emergency service” hours. In a fraction of the time, cost and misdirected energy spent pondering neglected projects, an ongoing, proactive approach can resolve issues before they become problems.

In 2001, after extensive research and development, John and Dale carried their home-maintenance concept to the next level, forming an Evergreen-based business. The first step they take is to provide a no cost, no obligation home inspection to identify what needs to be fixed, cleaned, replaced or preserved and at what intervals. They propose a custom but flexible maintenance and payment plan, allowing the homeowner to prioritize needs within budget and schedule constraints.

Most of us typically put off home care until we are faced with the costly ramifications of neglect. For the homeowner with foresight, John and Dale offer a sophisticated approach to home maintenance — providing secure, reliable, affordable, guaranteed service. They assign a company-trained and -monitored employee (no subcontractors) to each home, enabling that craftsperson to develop a relationship with the client and an understanding of each home’s needs. So, making one call may allow you to hit the snooze button and get back to dreaming or celebrating the splendor that our elevated Colorado lifestyle has to offer.

I have worked on numerous marketing projects with Len Brewer from Dreamprints Studio.