The property has been a part of the Hill family for decades. Brian’s parents, Gene and Roberta Hill, leased the property for 40 years and had created many happy memories there: picking berries and sandplums; hunting quail and dove; and picking their Christmas trees each year.
The Hills offered to buy the property many times through the years. When it finally was put up for sale in 2004, they immediately made an offer and got to work.
During the week, Brian was focused on his company and charitable work. But on Fridays he would head out for his “farm therapy.”
The massive stacked rock slabs you see throughout the property? Those were mined from four feet underground. With some assistance, Brian mined and moved more than 150 truck loads of rock slabs to landscape the property. He also dug eight ponds, maximizing both the beauty and function of the 320-acre property.
Brian would often work until 2 in the morning, crashing for a few hours of sleep in a trailer.
At first, he started by clearing brush to make just enough room for a few tents and a campfire. The Hills and nine other families in their close-knit homeschooling circle would visit, and each year the Hill family would improve the property a bit more.
By 2012, they were finally ready to start the lodge.
Brian and Marla’s vision for The Cedar Gate began a decade earlier, when they visited Rapid City, South Dakota. They were meeting with the Christian youth organization they sponsor, Young Life, and one of the board members opened up his family’s mountain home to them. The Hills were inspired to build their own “legacy home” that their family could share with others.
Throughout the design and building process, the Hills incorporated elements that were meaningful to their family. The lodge was built largely from lumber harvested from the barn Brian played in as a child, built by his grandfather a century ago. Read more about this here.
Through the years, Brian and Marla dog-eared many pages in books and magazines as they worked on the design for their home. They wanted to retain the property’s farming heritage, while offering modern comforts and amenities. The result? Natural building materials and carefully curated art pieces that work in harmony for an atmosphere of rustic elegance.
They filled the home with meaningful gifts and mementos they had collected through the years. The stories behind many of these objects are here.
The Hills finished the lodge in May 2014 and immediately began sharing it with family and friends.