Poland House

Poland House

BRAVA Signature Project (Synthetic Cedar Shake):

Poland House, Edwards Colorado

The Amazing Journey of a Historic Home, Reengineered with BRAVA​

The experience with BRAVA, on a scale [from] 1 to 10 — definitely a ten.”

— Roy Valenzuela, Owner, Rocky Valley Contractors

Distance from Warsaw, Poland to Edwards, Colorado: approx. 5,351 miles.

It was the legendary American writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin who said: “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.” For a shepherd and his family living in a modest Warsaw hut during the early 1900s, it’s doubtful they ever entertained the idea of moving thousands of miles away from the land they called home. It’s even less likely they imagined their actual home would one day do just that.

Poland House - Cedar Shake Roof

Nearly a hundred years later, Colorado resident Kevin Milbery was given the remarkable opportunity to help preserve the shepherd family’s history. But the only way this could happen was by knowing — and honoring — from whence it came.

“In our choices for roofing, we really liked BRAVA and especially this natural color that we chose as an excellent substitute [for cedar shake].”

— Kevin Milbery, Colorado Homeowner and History Caretaker

Poland House Moodboard

If you travel 110 miles west of Denver, Colorado, navigating the statuesque peaks and awe-inspiring valleys of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll find a small yet vibrant town located directly in the heart of the Vail Valley. Situated at an elevation of 7,226 feet, Edwards is known for its friendly neighborhoods, wide range of activities and, of course, its easy access to the popular Vail and Beaver Creek skiing destinations.

Edwards, Colorado

There, positioned on sturdy stilts and flanked by fir trees, resides a house that brings to mind a Swiss chalet, with its wide roof, wooden balconies, and decorative carvings. Most wouldn’t be at all surprised to find such a residence here, with its proximity to many of the premier ski resorts in the state. What would surprise is the fact that this home didn’t originate in Colorado.

“It’s very historic in our eyes,” says its owner Kevin Milbery proudly, standing in front of thick wood logs that were once part of a trio of shepherd huts located thousands of miles across the globe.

In the early part of the twentieth century on an estate in Warsaw, Poland, a shepherd and his family made those humble all-in-one dwellings their home. Nearly a hundred years later, long after the huts had been abandoned, they were suddenly given new life — an opportunity to be reborn, as it were, as the base of a residence to be built in America.

It’s probably the first and only time that cabins such as these were carefully disassembled, loaded into shipping crates, and sent on a voyage more than 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. The Milbery home’s original owner initiated this endeavor, even bringing Polish building specialists over to assist in the construction, as they’d previously done at an assembly test run for the home held just outside of Warsaw.

It all begs the question: why such tremendous effort for three unassuming huts?

Poland House Construction Photo Album

“The man was a good carver,” says Milbery about the Polish shepherd as he steps through his front door into the home’s central living area. The natural warmth of wood completely envelops the room from floor to ceiling, anchored by the stone fireplace. “You can see the work he did,” he adds, pointing to the honey-colored interlocking beams above his head, where an impressive series of intricate designs have been carved all along the surface.

“This records some of the history of the family,” reveals Milbery.

Poland House Carvings

“If these walls could talk” was never so fitting. As your eye follows the carvings, each tells its own story. There are several initials for members of the family; there is the IHS monogram symbolizing Jesus Christ; there are curved leaves and vines, which may have represented harvest or growth. All told, it’s a remarkable, meaningful, and historically significant piece of Polish ancestry.

It wasn’t, however, one that officials immediately agreed should be allowed to leave Poland’s borders. Lengthy evaluations of property rights and court appearances took place before the original homeowner could finish the inspired project. Then when Milbery and his wife entered the picture, they discovered the unique bonus that came with calling this dwelling their own.

“We feel like we almost are museum keepers rather than house owners,” shares Milbery, who takes his role of historical guardian very seriously. Living here means being willing to protect and preserve another family’s legacy, quite literally; the wood and the carvings are meant to be here to stay.

Poland House Aerial

So when the home encountered yet another challenge, this time in the form of county building codes that didn’t favor the original cedar shake roof, the Milberys faced a dilemma: how to comply while also remaining true to their promise.

“We wanted to keep [the home] as historically original as possible,” Milbery asserts.

Enter BRAVA.

“We prefer to use BRAVA over the competition because the colors, they’re more natural, they’re more real!”

— Roy Valenzuela, Owner, Rocky Valley Contractors

Coming into a roofing situation tied to such historical importance — and in a dynamic climate known for its large daily and seasonal temperature swings — could give any contractor pause. But Rocky Valley Contractors, a local family-owned business based in the Vail Valley, was more than up to the challenge.

“Whatever you do, you need to have discipline,” says owner Roy Valenzuela. “That’s what I tell everybody who works for me.”

It’s that discipline, along with the expertise that Valenzuela and his team bring to their work, that has helped earn Rocky Valley a loyal and growing customer base. “We do all types of roofs,” added Valenzuela, “and we’ve been using BRAVA for almost three years.”

BRAVA was the first and only choice when Rocky Valley was approached to install a new roof on the Milbery house. Cedar wood shakes, which originally adorned the home, are no longer permitted in Eagle County due to their fire risk. But finding a roofing solution to authentically replicate the look of natural cedar had been quite a challenge in the past.

Poland House Ridges

“That's what homeowners are looking for,” admits Valenzuela. “They don't want to miss that shake look … but they’re not allowed to go back to wood. BRAVA [gives] the best results.”

Milbery and his wife agree. They selected BRAVA’s synthetic cedar shake roofing for its incredibly true-to-life appearance and rustic split textures of real cedar. “We wanted the home to be as natural and as original as possible,” stresses Milbery. “We really liked BRAVA, and especially this natural color that we chose as an excellent substitute…. It looks very much like a natural wood shake.”

The rich, deep shades present in old-growth cedar have been expertly captured in BRAVA’s synthetic shake roofing tiles, making them even more accessible to a wide range of projects and customer preferences. “BRAVA [offers] the best option on colors,” Valenzuela adds. “BRAVA gives you that look. It was great for this house.”

BRAVA roofing tile products also undergo extensive testing in order to provide the highest levels of performance. They carry third-party certifications for the highest levels of wind, fire, and hail — crucial for the Denver climate — as well as a 50-year limited warranty. This makes the decision even easier for homeowners and contractors alike.

Rocky Valley relies on the celebrated roofing manufacturer’s dedication to excellence. With this specific install, the roof wouldn’t just be insulating its occupants from the often dangerous moods of Mother Nature; it would also be protecting an invaluable and irreplaceable piece of history. For Valenzuela, this was a no-brainer: installing BRAVA synthetic tile would mean long-lasting durability and performance.

With a natural shake roof, he explains, “you always have to do something every other year, go back to do some maintenance. You use composite (synthetic) — you do it once, and that’s it. You’re done. You’re set for the next 20-plus years.”

Having such trust in a roofing product is key to a contracting company’s success. For Valenzuela, though, the icing on BRAVA’s cake is its people. “BRAVA makes it very simple, very easy for everybody,” he asserts. [Our] experience with Brava, on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s ten. It’s definitely a ten.”

“We really feel fortunate,” concludes Milbery, standing proudly in front of his beautiful home.

About Rocky Valley Contractors

Rocky Valley Contractors is a premier family-owned commercial and residential roofing business based in Eagle Valley, Colorado, with over 20 years’ experience in everything from roof repair and replacement to expansion and beautification. Combining high-quality workmanship, dependability, and superior customer service, Rocky Valley offers expert solutions for all roofing needs in Colorado’s unique climate conditions.

Roy Vonzuela

Rocky Valley Contractors

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