TETON COLLABORATORS: The Chinker Chicks Elevate Detailing To A High Art
A mountain lion as professional matchmaker? Only in the Rockies: Kimberly Mills met Greta Procious while trailing a cougar that had dashed in front of her dump truck en route to the Wyoming rock quarry where she worked. After her shift, she set out to find the feline in the mountains. While tracking, she met Greta, who was knee-deep in her own search, having just landed a job chinking 15 cabins on the Rockefeller Ranch—too much for her to take on alone so as she hiked, she wracked her brain for ways to make it work. On the trail, the two (and their dogs) hit it off instantly—trading stories from their kindred, hard-working backgrounds in farming. “We talked about dairy farming, animals, trucks, logging—typical girl talk,” Greta recalls, laughing. Within 45 minutes, Greta offered Kim a job: “I hired her on the spot.” And the two have worked side-by-side ever since as the <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/Chinker-Chicks-101217376594536/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”><strong>Chinker Chicks</strong></a>.
A bit more background: Greta had spent her twenties as a wildland firefighter and logger. Come winter, she would paint interiors, an extension of her art practice. Through interiors painting, she discovered chinking. “With my art background and my work ethic, it all just clicked.”
Meanwhile, Kim had been driving trucks and hauling heavy equipment for an excavation company. On parallel tracks, their meeting made for a perfect match. As partners, they have built their thriving Victor,ID-based business on integrity, quality and craftsmanship. “It’s all about the details,” Kim says. Details both seen and behind-the-scenes. “We do a multitude of things to keep the product from failing,” Greta says, like slinging canvas tarps around houses to keep the chink cool and dry. Effectively protective, the wrapping doesn’t discourage people from tagging the chink—a seemingly irresistible aspect of their trade. “Nobody touches wet paint or tile, but they always touch the wet chink,” Greta says. After several weeks of covered curing, they unwrap the house like a present. “It’s a big unveiling,” she says.
The final product blends in perfectly with the overall aesthetic JLF sets, often defined by reclaimed timbers. To match the weathered wood, the Chinker Chicks go to great lengths to make their new lines look like old mortar. “You have 100 years’ worth of dirt and debris on old timbers,” Kim says. “Each one is an individual and we address whatever the timber stack needs.” To ensure adhesion, they dremel a fresh groove. After they apply the chink, they tool it out, make trowel marks and apply a sand finish (JLF’s signature is an old-style blackish grey sand finish of varying densities).
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<p style=”text-align: center;”><em>JLF Architects’ signature chink with its blackish grey sand finish.</em></p>
This laborious process sets them apart from their peers. A lot of chinkers charge by the linear foot, which incentivizes moving quickly. Not the Chinker Chicks: They bid by project and prioritize quality. “We are efficient but we don’t rush it,” Kim says. Deferential to the variable weather—it snowed in June while chinking the Home of the Year—they never compromise quality when confronted by extreme conditions. Chiseling away at 10-foot-tall snowbanks are part of their Rocky Mountain reality.
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<p style=”text-align: center;”><em>Embracing the elements on a jobsite.</em></p>
Amid such fickle conditions, they appreciate the one characteristic coursing through every JLF Architects project. “It always feels like family working with Big-D,” Greta says.
<h6>ABOUT JLF ARCHITECTS: Building timeless structures rooted in eloquence and elegance, Jackson- and Bozeman-based JLF Architects sources authentic materials and regional solutions to create place-based houses reflective of their contexts, whether that be the Rocky Mountains or the Eastern Seaboard. Our award-winning portfolio features inspired custom designs achieved through a genuine alliance with Big-D Signature, built over 17 years of collaboration. Our streamlined process unites passionate architects with dedicated builders to enable the collective imagination of visionary artisans working with visionary clients. For more information, visit <a href=”https://www.jlfarchitects.com/”><strong>www.JLFArchitects.com</strong></a>.</h6>