Mammoth Summer of Gambrel Discontent

Like the historic log cabins of nearly 100 years ago,  Mammoth gambrels are from a bygone era too. What is a gambrel? Some people call them flat roofed “A” frames because they don’t have perpendicular side walls. But for the most part these structures are the product of the 1970’s and affordable/inexpensive construction of that period. The same residential lots people today want to construct 3,000 square foot luxury homes on had different visions back 40 years ago. People wanted simple weekend ski cabins or summer homes. They were the residential “crashpads” of decades ago. In the 70’s the lots were available for $6-7-8 K and a gambrel structure could go up on weekend. Some were completed as “spec” deals and sold as packages for $50K or so. Some of these gambrels occupy some of the nicest lots in Mammoth. Typically they aren’t constructed all that well BUT they have stood the test of time and all the big Mammoth winters and earthquakes. Most have minimal insulation. Over the years many have been bulldozed to make way for new construction. And over the years some owners have made substantial upgrades to these historic homes. One of the most popular upgrades is to encapsulate the entire roof and siding in metal roofing material. As I drive through the neighborhoods this summer I see three gambrels receiving substantial additions and remodels. This can be a very tricky economic decision. Some of these gambrel owners have fond memories in these properties (they love their Mammoth home) but desire more space including a garage. And some owners take the remodeling as an opportunity to reduce the “gambrel look” of the structure. This add-ons and remodeling are also a sign of the economic times; some are taking advantage of hungry contractors, and some are playing their “move-up” in a conservative fashion. Regardless, it is always good to see Mammoth’s housing stock being improved.

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