...Not Your Average Cabin in the Woods
Still Josh kept dreaming of the two-story 6,600-square-foot log home he had discovered while looking at investment real estate. The more he learned about the house, the more he wanted to know. The structure, nestled in the woods on the North Shore, was created from Rocky Mountain spruce logs which were standing, dead timber for at least 40 years. All the logs were lathed to uniform diameter in Montana. In the living room stood a 5-ton soapstone fireplace made in Sweden, and a meandering river ran through the property.
"This wasn't just a log home," says Josh. Eventually, he convinced his wife to "just have a look." Practically unmoved by the sprawling nine-bedroom, seven-bath home, Bridget came away thinking "Well, OK, we'll put our house up for sale and if it sells, fine we'll move."
In the meantime, the Fridays took Morgan, 10, Nolan, 9 and Bailey, 7, to look at the house. Nolan, so content in his present home, refused to get out of the car. It was only on a later visit, when he discovered an impressive treehouse and the river that he announced, "We're moving!"
The children were further impressed with what they call "the secret room," an attic large enough to practice hockey in.
"The place just slowly got to all of us," says Bridget. "The further we looked, the more we found ourselves imagining ourselves living here."
A very surprising two months later, their home sold and they began negotiating with the seller, Duluth surgeon Dr. Cory Siffering, who was moving south.
"We made offers and we negotiated, but I think what really made the difference was we finally wrote the Sifferings a personal letter," says Bridget. "We wanted them to know that this had become a place where we wanted to raise our children and a place where our kids' friends could come to play. We wanted them to know that we would open our home to our families and that our goal was that one day our parents could live here with us as well if need be."
A deal was struck and the Fridays moved into what had now become "our dream home." The first task at hand was establishing an ice rink in the back yard, where their daughter Morgan, who is on the boys' A-team hockey squad at Lester Park, could practice with her siblings (also hockey players) and her friends.
"It's such a nice feeling to be standing here looking in the back yard and know where the kids are and that they are enjoying being at home," says Bridget. "This is the vision Josh always had for our family."
The couple, who met as sophomores at St. Scholastica, agree they always wanted a big family.
"And now we have the perfect place to put them," adds Josh.