To stay true to the time period, the Boguskys installed old, painted cabinets, copper countertops, and a farmhouse-style sink.
Photo by Jessyel Gonzalez & Melissa Melendez
Something Old, Something New
To stay true to the time period, the Boguskys left all of the indoor piping and wiring exposed rather than hiding it behind walls. They also installed a rusted corrugated metal (Cor-ten) roof and made age-appropriate fixture, appliance, counter and cabinet selections. For instance, they acquired old, painted cabinets; copper countertops with a patina finish; a farmhouse-style, dual-basin sink with built-in curved backsplash; a 1930s refrigerator, and a 1940s chamber stove.
“We wanted working appliances that looked old,” says Alex. “So we refurbished the inside but left the outside the way it was.’”
The majority of the door hardware was reclaimed from the original cabin. Some of the door latches have the original date of 1898. The hinges were fabricated out of old 1800s wagon wheels. To add to the cabin’s rustic charm, the couple also located cool period pieces such as a wooden telephone, iron mailbox, and rusted milk can.
The Great Escape
When they’re at the ranch, Alex, Ana and their two children, Zeke and Nadia, love observing wildlife, including osprey, hummingbirds and moose. The family also enjoys hiking, biking and trout fishing as well as riding horses and motorcycles on the area’s rocky trails. And of course, it wouldn’t be a ranch without a little sharpshooting.
“We have a small patio out back that faces the lake,” says Alex. “My son and I like to sit out there with a .22 [caliber pistol] and shoot cans off a wire.”
Besides engine revving and target shooting, the ranch is pretty quiet. There is, however, the occasional uninvited visitor who snoops around the property. Alex recalls the time he found his truck had been ransacked. But upon closer inspection, he noticed that his wallet was untouched – and that all of the energy bars had been devoured. It seems the thieves were of a famished, furry, four-legged variety.
“Interestingly, the critters closed everything up before they left,” says Alex with a laugh. “Almost as though they thought, ‘Hey, if we shut the doors, nobody will ever know we were here!’”
An Artistic Pinnacle
Alex, who works in advertising, admits that his career has enabled him to stretch his creative side. But he says that, creatively, the Phantom Lake Ranch restoration is the coolest thing he’s ever done.
“I got to take apart a 140-year-old cabin and put it back together,” says Alex. “My fantasy is that in 140 years, someone else will take another crack at it.”
And if they do, a whole new generation will get to admire and appreciate this amazing time capsule.
The closest Christy Heitger-Ewing has come to opening up a time capsule was when she cleaned out her parents’ spice rack and found some oregano dated April 1985.