A year after deciding to restore the house her father built by hand, Sunny Smith-Larsen is getting things together.
"We're ready to go as far as this summer," she said. "The (online) store is starting off slow, with just a few things available."
The house, which Larsen calls the "Smith Mansion," is a three-story home hand-built entirely of wood by Lee Smith of Cody that sits atop a bench in Wapiti. Smith died after falling off the second-story roof in 1992.
Smith started building the home in about the 1960s, and wanted to make something that would fit into the wild countryside. Inside the home are flourishes of his artistic side, including decorative sunbursts, a wind chime and a laundry basket that looks more like a chandelier he created from found materials.
Now, Larsen - who grew up in Cody and now lives in Billings - is working with a film crew from the University of Indiana to film a documentary about the house.
Andrea Lewis, a senior studying telecommunication and communication and culture, came up with the idea to focus on Lee Smith's creation.
"I was working in Yellowstone," she said. "One day we drove into Cody, and I saw it."
Lewis was fascinated by the odd-looking structure, but couldn't find much information on it.
Last fall, Lewis' senior film class required a pitch. By that time, Larsen had created a website that allowed Lewis to get more information.
The Smith Mansion was one of three pitches the class chose to pursue. The class splits into groups to film the projects.
"It will be screened at school," Lewis said. "And there's a possibility that if the local PBS guy likes it, it will be aired locally in Indiana."
For the interviews, Lewis relied on Larsen.
"Sunny's a total rock star," she said. "I contacted her over email, and she contacted a whole bunch of people, friends and family."
Lewis and her team - Amy Pottenger, Julian Shine, Scott Gill and Kate Ripley - set up about 10 interviews with people close to Lee Smith. They filmed recently during their spring break.
The 30-minute documentary is a big undertaking for Lewis.
"I've worked on numerous projects, but not on this level in terms of leading," she said.
Lewis hopes people who watch the film not only become interested in this area and the structure, but also are filled with the desire to learn more about the world around them.
Although the story still needs to be scripted and edited, Lewis has been surprised by her trip here.
"The structure is the thing that drew us here, but the story's become about the people (Lee Smith) knew and who he was as a person."
That is a sentiment Larsen also has discovered.
"This project isn't about me; it's about what he did," she said. "I'm realizing I didn't know my dad like I thought I did. I knew him as a child knew a father.
"I feel like I know him better than if I hadn't started this project," she added.
Larsen also was contacted by the Wyoming Area Paranormal Society to perform a ghost hunt. The group went March 12, gear in hand, to see if any paranormal evidence could be found.
Larsen and her mother, Linda Smith-Mills, both stayed for the investigation, which lasted for about eight hours, including set up and take down.
The group used several different types of equipment, including cameras, voice recorders and K2 meters, which measure electromagnetic fields.
Investigators split into groups and went to different areas throughout the night.
During down times, Larsen told stories about her father and how she grew up in the mansion.
"That's where my dad used to stand," she said pointing to the doorway in the "hot room," the only room in the home with a stove and heat. "All that black is from his clothing."
Some had personal experiences during the night, including hearing noises and having K2 spikes in direct response to questions.
Although WAPS has yet to go through all of the evidence, co-founder Jez Krubeck is impressed by experiences and evidence he's found on the recorder he took home.
"When we were in the sport room, the group heard a chain rattling, and we caught that on the recorder," he said. "It sounds distinctly like a chain being dropped and the links piling on each other."
Krubeck found other sounds, including footsteps and what appears to be hammering.
"That's one of the better investigations we've had in a while in terms of what we caught," he said.
The future of the Smith Mansion isn't quite certain at this time.
"The restoration is going to cost a fortune," Mills said. "Nineteen years is a long time for things to deteriorate."
Larsen said she's heard just to fix what's there, not including finishing the structure, could cost upward of $500,000.
To help with some of the costs, Larsen is putting together a fundraiser at Cassie's Supper Club in June 2012. Many local artists requested more time in order to create specific pieces for the event.
"It'll have an auction of donations," she said.
Donations range from paintings to prints to furniture, and most are from local artists.
The music will be provided by a band originally from Wapiti that now lives in Colorado called County 11.
"It's a tribute to my dad and to bring awareness (about the mansion)," Larsen added. "It's really important to me to get Cody behind me."
To purchase Smith Mansion merchandise, or for more information, visit smithmansion.org.