Step inside a Tennessee timber frame where a vision became a forever home
Lynn and Chris Langer’s new timber frame home is a stunning example of how a vision becomes a forever home. “I guess you’d call what we wanted a mountain-style, arts-and-crafts bungalow,” says Lynn, explaining that their idea had been to create the feel of the early 20th century Craftsman architecture frequently seen in Adirondack mountain lodges.
Originally from New England, the Langers retired to Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland region after finding land they liked online. They’d owned a timber frame in Connecticut, so they approached the design of their new home with a clear vision.
“It had to have a great room with high ceilings, an open floor plan and a cozy kitchen and dining room,” Lynn says. “We found Honest Abe, and now we have exactly what we wanted.”
Lynn said that she and Chris were drawn to Honest Abe Log Homes, which has been designing and manufacturing log and timber frame homes since 1979, because of its reputation in the industry. The fact that Honest Abe’s design team can easily convert any plan to a timber frame coupled with the caliber of Honest Abe’s products convinced the Langers that the Tennesseebased company was a perfect fit for their project.
“We were very familiar with post-andbeam construction, and right away we realized this was quality work,” Lynn recalled from her first visit to Honest Abe’s headquarters in Moss, Tennessee. “The wood was planed to a smooth finish, and the Douglas fir timbers were nice and straight with a stylish chamfer.”
Working with the Cookeville Honest Abe Log Homes sales team, Greg and Melissa Watson and Ed White, the Langers launched their design process in the spring of 2015.
The Navajo plan from the company’s Legacy Collection was almost exactly what the Langers had in mind, but they wanted to customize it on both the interior and exterior. Award-winning designer Michael Hix of Honest Abe’s in-house design and drafting department transformed the basic plan to match their concept.
For instance, a first floor guest room shown on the Navajo plan was repurposed into a full-time office, but placement of a Murphy bed in the office quickly converts it to a room for hosting guests like the couple’s two grown sons, both city dwellers, who Lynn says love to “come for a rest in the country.”
With the house located on 43 acres of rural land fronting the Caney Fork River in White County, Tennessee, the Langers wanted a comfortable spot for experiencing the seasons outdoors. Working with Honest Abe’s design team, they created a 16-by-18-foot outdoor room under a large gable roof featuring a wood-burning fireplace of natural, hand-cut stone. “With the outdoor fireplace there’s no mess or fuss,” Lynn says. “When we want a real fire, we just go outside.”
A gabled-roofed outdoor dining room connected by covered porches to the outdoor living room is designed with open walls to catch the summer breeze.
As for climate control inside the home’s 2,042 square feet, Lynn says that she and Chris are very impressed with their insulation package and the heavy timber roof system that resulted in surprisingly low heating bills.
“We always heated with wood in Connecticut, so we installed a Hearthstone stove in the kitchen area and our first-ever gas fireplace insert in the great room’s natural stone fireplace,” Lynn says, explaining that these supplement a propane fired HVAC system that keeps the home toasty warm during Tennessee’s colder months.
Lynn said the design for the entire house, which has 1,782 square feet on the main floor and a 240-square-foot loft, demonstrates “very wise use of space” and is expansion-ready. The Langers had a full walkout basement created using Superior Walls. When completed, there will be a common area, two spacious bedrooms, each with its own large window, a shared full bath and a shop.
“Our house is super comfortable for two people,” says Lynn, mentioning that because they plan to spend the rest of their lives there, they made design choices like creating a custom, wheelchair-accessible master shower and placing all living and sleeping spaces on the main floor to ensure that they will remain comfortable.
Lynn says that she and Chris remained “happy through every step” of the process that they had chosen Honest Abe Log Homes as their designer and manufacturer and also to complete the dry-in phase of construction.
“We are convinced that if you want a log or timber frame home, you need to get it from an experienced and reputable manufacturer,” Lynn says. “The people at Honest Abe and the quality of their services and products made them a great choice for us.”
Honest Abe’s homes are shipped across the U.S., and customers are
guided through the same process the Langers found comforting by a network of independent dealers and in-house sales consultants.
For more information about Honest Abe Log Homes visit honestabe.com or call 800-231-3695.
ABOVE: Centered on the front of the Langers’ timber frame is a gabled outdoor living room with a heavy timber roof. The handcrafted wood-burning fireplace, the accents surrounding the front door and the floor are of natural, hand-cut stone. A ceiling fan and accent lighting make the room usable day or night.
RIGHT: The Langer home features a covered front porch, covered outdoor living room with fireplace and an outdoor dining room. The exterior siding is made from Hardie board with accents around the front door being natural wood and hand-cut natural stone that matches the fireplace.
TOP: The great room’s focal points are the hand-cut natural stone gas fireplace, Douglas fir timber frame components, the heavy timber roof system, Eastern White Pine trim, 2-by-6-inch Engelmann spruce tongue-and-groove ceiling and dark hickory wide-plank flooring.
ABOVE: The main dining room is in the great room, but a cozy breakfast room with a wood-burning stove and a reading nook bathed in light from a row of clad windows are located off the kitchen.
ABOVE: Textured tile, dark-stained custom wood cabinetry and granite countertops create the feel of an early 1900s Craftsman house with the stainless-steel appliances and vent hood adding a modern touch.
RIGHT: The outdoor wood-burning fireplace is crafted of hand cut native stone and forms the left wall of an outdoor room centered on the facade of the house.