Honest Abe Living, July-Aug. 2016

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July-Aug. 2016

Celebrating National Log Cabin Month Featured Home – Compromise & Planning Choosing Stain & Finish Budget Development Dealer of the Year Cooking with Lodge

Our People July-Aug. 2016

In this issue... FEATURED HOME: Smart Decisions, Ethan Birdwell is an Honest Abe Sales Representative at the National Headquarters office in Moss. He also schedules production and coordinates deliveries. Having grown up in a log home, he understands the mindset of a customer whose desire is to live surrounded by wood.

Loving Compromises, p. 4

National Log Cabin Month, p. 9 Choosing Stain & Finish, p. 10 Planning a Budget, p. 11 Floor Plan Development, p. 12 Honest Abe Dealers, p. 14 Cooking with Lodge, p. 15 Honest Abe Living editing, design and layout by Claudia Johnson

Connect with Honest Abe Since 2000, Chris Cunningham has had multiple responsibilities at Honest Abe but none more important than running the various notching equipment that mills our log corners with machined precision. Chris is a certified TPI grader and will place the final log wall grade stamp on the logs, then bundle and prep them for shipping.

Facebook – Like us on our Facebook fan page and join the growing community. Pinterest – Make your board more beautiful by pinning Honest Abe pictures.

For photos, floor plans and much more visit

Google+ – Join the Honest Abe circle for photos, news, ideas and more.


Twitter – Articles, resources, photo galleries and log home news, all shared here first. YouTube – Watch and learn about log and timber frame homes on our YouTube station.

Meet Mike and Tonia Coulter, 2015 Dealer of the Year, on page 14. HonestAbe.com


LinkedIn – Follow company and log home industry news on our LinkedIn company profile page. 2

Find Honest Abe Living articles, stunning photography and more information at the Honest Abe Log Homes blog and news room. www.honestabe.com/blog Honest Abe Living July-Aug. 2016

From the President’s Desk by Josh Beasley, President, Honest Abe Log Homes

As all four of Honest Abe’s model homes and several of our independent dealers prepare for special events in celebration of National Log Cabin Month during July, I wish to extend a personal invitation for you to visit our National Headquarters in Moss, Tennessee, on July 16 to attend a log raising and take a tour of our manufacturing facility. We are proud to be a true manufacturer of log cabins and timber frame homes. On the surface, you would think all log home companies manufacture home packages in their own facilities, but that’s just not the case. In the 37 years we’ve been milling our own logs, crafting each and every custom log home package, we’ve learned a few things that only true manufacturers know. We’ve learned that preparation is key and simply cannot be rushed. We begin by selecting only the highest quality Eastern White Pine. To minimize movement, shrinkage and settling in the timbers over time, we combine natural air-drying and kiln-drying measures in the manufacturing of every Honest Abe timber. Every piece of wood we use is dried in our kilns, then stored under cover. The drying process produces a more stable log and tighter joints for the construction of your log home. Because we don’t believe in rushing this process, Honest Abe averages a nine-month inventory of timbers, something many of our competitors can’t say. We want our customers to feel comfort in knowing that the logs for their new home have already been

purchased and are being prepared, sometimes many months before they have even become our client. We’re not an average sawmill. Honest Abe uses 3-D modeling and computer-driven equipment overseen by a team of dedicated craftsmen. Every log that goes into your home is cut to exact specifications for a perfect fit – a critical step when it comes to windows, doors and corner notches. We know how to plan for shipping. For every individual home, the pre-cut logs are numbered, wrapped and neatly bundled for protection during delivery. You can know and trust that each piece of your log home that comes from our facility has been carefully produced, graded and packaged. Our wood meets or exceeds industry standards. Our manufacturing staff members are certified graders under nationally recognized Timber Products Inspection (TPI) regulations. In addition to monthly industry evaluations from TPI, we follow our own quality-control process every day to produce the best possible logs for your home. If you can’t make it to Honest Abe on July 16 or our final log raising of 2016 on Sept. 17, you’re welcome to call at any time to schedule a tour. We welcome visitors to our manufacturing facility because it really does exist and it is operated by real people, many of them with decades of experience crafting the components that go into an Honest Abe home.

July 16 & Sept. 17 9 a.m.-Noon

Log Raising Honest Abe National Headquarters

Families Welcome Lunch Served Indoor Event Registration Required HonestAbe.com


Honest Abe Living July-Aug. 2016

Smart Decisions, Loving Compromises By Claudia Johnson, Director of Marketing, Honest Abe Log Homes

Dreams, decisions and compromise. That’s the formula Doug and Noreen Williams can endorse when it comes to building a home – and a life – together. “It had been a dream to own a log home for many years prior to actually moving forward with it,” Doug said. “There is something unique and rustic feeling about a log home over a conventional home. Perhaps it has to do with a simpler time, though today’s log homes still have all the modern conveniences.” Doug said that before embarking on the homebuilding process, they visited models, perused log home magazines and attended home shows. “The Chantilly, Virginia, log home show is where we first encountered Honest Abe,” Doug said, explaining why he and Noreen chose Honest Abe Log Homes as their designer and manufacturer. “Through our research we discovered there are differences in log home manufacturers. The main thing to look for is someone who has been around for a while. That ensures that any problems with log species, settling, etc., has already been worked through and you will get a quality product.” Through the home show, Noreen became connected with Darlene Dawson, who along with husband Rodger, owns Bear’s Den Log Homes, an Honest Abe Log Homes independent dealership in North Carolina. HonestAbe.com


Honest Abe Living July-Aug. 2016

“When talking to Darlene, something clicked, and it appeared that the hurdle of who to use was settled,” Noreen said, concluding that choosing Bear’s Den was a “smart decision. Darlene has a thorough knowledge of the building process, and we could count on Bear’s Den to be there helping out in any way possible to make sure our dream home became a reality.” The Williams said their desire for a log home predated their choice of where to build it, though they always knew it would be either in the mountains or the foothills. “There is something extra special about a log home in the mountains; it just appears to belong there,” Doug observed. So, for several years the Williams explored locations, but the Asheville. N.C., area kept calling them. The couple said they were attracted to the region’s variety of recreational opportunities, as well as Asheville’s vibrant downtown and its outstanding medical facilities.

With 2,456 square feet the Williams house is spacious but cozy. Furnishings were chosen to enhance the home’s layout and design. Doug said that he and Noreen were initially seeking a design that incorporated a wall of windows surrounding the fireplace in a great room that was open to the kitchen and dining areas, creating one large room. “We still have many windows in our great room, though it is laid out differently,” Doug said. “We painstakingly drew up modifications to the design to incorporate our ideas of what we wanted. Honest Abe and Darlene Dawson were great to work with in helping us realize how to make everything work.”

The Williams explored various locations but decided on the mountains of North Carolina because they believed their dream fit the landscape. “We chose the lot for our home because of the potential for excellent views of the mountains, which we have, and that certainly makes living here extraordinary,” Doug said. “We not only have views from the front porch, but from our master bedroom and living area. It is a great way to start each day by looking out at the mountains. The design of our log home captures those views very well.” HonestAbe.com

The Williams wanted an open living area flooded in natural light from many windows and warmed by an intimate fireplace.


Honest Abe Living July-Aug. 2016

Honest Abe’s Legacy Clearbrook Plan was flipped to fit the terrain, a screened-in porch was added off the living room and other modifications were made for the Williams.

Honest Abe designer Mike Hix modified the Williams’ choice of the Honest Abe Clearbook floor plan to create the desired open living area on the main floor while making accommodations for stairs to a loft and steps from the basement garage to the main floor. “A large factor in choosing the Clearbrook was the exterior design of the home, it has a beautiful look on the front,” Doug said. “It also incorporated a front porch, which was a must, and we were able to build a screen porch off the end, which was something we would not compromise.”


Clockwise from top: House Front, Screened-in Porch, Rear with Patio


Honest Abe Living July-Aug.

However, Doug said that he and Noreen learned there are many compromises involved in building a home together.

“We inherited a dining table that will seat 8 to 10, so we made sure that the dining room is big enough if we want to open the table fully,” Noreen said. “We also took into consideration that we might want a king-size bed for our bedroom. The only furniture we did not already own was our living room couch, though we had that picked out and had laid it out to make sure that the fireplace and electrical outlets would be placed advantageously.”

A local craftsman created the staircase Noreen Williams had envisioned. “Noreen had in her mind what she wanted for the staircase leading to the loft,” Doug recalled. “When showed other options, she did not want to compromise. Fortunately, we found somebody locally who built the staircase railings as she had envisioned.” The Williams had no disagreement about how their 2,456 square foot home’s exterior should look. “There was never any real issue about the log style,” Doug said, explaining the choice of 8” D-logs. “Both of us wanted round logs on the outside and flat logs on the inside, and we both liked the look of the logs overlapping each other on the corners.” In modifying the The home office takes Clearbrook plan, the advantage of the view. Williams tried to take into account all possibilities. They planned the garage using their vehicles’ measurements. When laying out rooms, they actually placed furniture on their plans to ensure that everything would fit. HonestAbe.com

An heirloom dining table was accommodated in the floor plan design. Doug acknowledged that there were financial considerations to take into account with practical decisions, like lighting and plumbing, as well as in finalizing aesthetic choices.

Natural finishes keep the home’s interior light. The Williams chose D-logs, flat inside and rounded outside. 7

Honest Abe Living July-Aug.

“Fortunately, our tastes in design elements are very similar, so there was not too much disagreement over color choices for our home,” Doug said, adding that in all decisions they “tried to keep in mind that what we chose was what we really wanted, not something we’d want to change later on.”

The kitchen’s exposed beams, farmer’s sink, focused lighting and island stovetop add function and interest . The Williams are adamant that one of the smartest decisions they made was their move into an apartment close to the construction site. “Having never built a home before, we cannot say whether ours was smoother or rougher than most,” Doug said, admitting, “there were times of excitement, times of uncertainty and difficulties, as well as times of frustration. We survived it! Looking back on it, it was an exciting process to come out and see the progress being made and how everything came together.”

The master bedroom on the first floor is positioned for full exposure to the mountain vistas. Darlene said she was impressed with the Williams’ attention to detail that created a beautiful home, both inside and out, as well as their ability to communicate with each other and with her. “They are a super sweet couple, so easy to work with, and they knew what they wanted,” Darlene said. “They have both retired since we met, and I’ve been honored to share a glass of wine and a meal with them. Friends!”

Guests sleep in the loft bedroom and enjoy mountain sunrise through the great room windows.

The master bath and other first floor rooms are designed to let the Williams age in place. HonestAbe.com


Would they do it again? “We will never do this again, because there will never be any reason,” Doug said. “We went into this knowing this was going to be the last place we live, so we made sure it would accommodate us for the rest of our lives.” Honest Abe Living July-Aug.

Importance of Log Cabins in America’s Past and Future Celebrated with Events Honest Abe Log Homes is celebrating National Log Cabin Month by hosting special events throughout the month of July, including model home tours and log raisings. “We are proud to be part of an industry that is interwoven with the history of our country,” said Josh Beasely, President of Honest Abe. That history was recognized in the Congressional Record of the United States when Rep. Reid J. Ribble of Wisconsin spoke before Congress in 2012 about the importance of the log home industry, calling it "a quintessential symbol of the American pioneering spirit, embodying America's strength and ingenuity." "Log cabin production directly supports thousands of jobs from builders to sales professionals, as well as the housing market, lending institutions and many others," Ribble noted. "The people of this industry are hardworking, charitable and deserving of recognition for their centuries of accomplishment.” Honest Abe has operated its production facility in Moss, Tennessee, since 1979, shipping tens of thousands of homes across the country. “National Log Cabin Month is a great opportunity for our guests to experience first-hand the quality and beauty of a log home,” said Beasely. “The slate of events includes log raisings in Tennessee and Missouri and open house tours at four Tennessee model homes and the residence of Honest Abe dealers in Virginia and Kentucky.” During these free model home events information about all aspects of log and timber home design and construction will be available while guests tour the home and enjoy refreshments. The log raising set for July 16 in Moss is held in a climate-controlled building and includes lunch, a mill tour and a workshop during which a small cabin is built by Honest Abe staff. (reservations required) The two-day log raising near Branson, Missouri, is on the job site of an Honest Abe customer. Guests will see the home being constructed and be treated to a cookout. (reservations required) For details about the events, times, directions, log raising reservation and contact information, visit www.honestabe.com/events.

Free Events hosted by Honest Abe Log Homes July 9 Open House and Model Home Tour Honest Abe Sales Model, Murfreesboro, TN July 9 Open House and Model Home Tour Honest Abe National Headquarters, Moss, TN July 15 Open House and Model Home Tour Honest Abe Sales Model, Crossville, TN July 15 Log Raising & Cookout Show Me log Homes, Rosebud, MO July 16 Log Raising & Cookout Show Me log Homes, Rosebud, MO July 16 Open House and Tour Virginia Mountain Log Homes, Roseland, VA July 16 Honest Abe Log Home Raising and Mill Tour Honest Abe National Headquarters, Moss, TN July 23 Open House and Tour Dallas Powers Sales Office, Hawesville, KY July 30 Open House and Model Home Tour Honest Abe Sales Model, Cookeville, TN



Honest Abe Living July-Aug.

What Makes a Log Home Beautiful? By Perma-Chink Systems, Inc. What is it about Honest Abe homes that make them so appealing to so many people? We can talk about thermal efficiency, building with a renewable resource or living a log home lifestyle, but the main reason people are attracted to log homes is because they are beautiful. The question we must ask ourselves is “what makes a log home beautiful?” Design, style and architecture all play a role, but what really makes a log home stand out is its finish. Years ago protecting the exterior of a log home was almost an afterthought. People would apply substances like turpentine and linseed oil, transmission fluid and a host of other liquids on the exterior of their homes. Their goal was to protect the wood, not to make a home beautiful. These materials turned log homes black and did a very poor job protecting the wood. But it was what they had and used. In the 1960s colored semi-transparent wood stains began appearing on the market and by the 1970s log home owners finally had available options other than having a black, gray or painted log home. The problem was that the color only lasted a couple of years, and the protection provided by these finishes was negligible at best. We’ve come a long way since then. Perma-Chink Systems Lifeline finish system combines all of the protective attributes of a high-performance finish system with the beauty one would only expect to see on an expensive piece of furniture. When we introduced our Advance Gloss and Satin topcoats, we were told that no home owner would want their log home to look like their dining room table. But what we discovered was that log home owners do want their homes to look as beautiful as their dining room table. And they want that beauty to last. So let Honest Abe help to build you a beautiful home, and let Perma-Chink Systems highlight that beauty. Finish manufactured by Perma-Chink Systems is included in Honest Abe Log Homes packages. For more information about stains and finishes, contact Perma-Chink Systems at 1-800-548-3554 or visit online www.permachink.com. HonestAbe.com


Honest Abe Living July-Aug. 2016

Budgeting for a Log or Timber Frame Home By Wayne Brady, Sales Representative, Honest Abe Crossville In planning for a new wood home, it’s important to create a budget that allows for construction and considers future maintenance. That means asking yourself some realistic questions and answering them honestly. • How much money are you willing to put into your new home? • How much cash do you have available for a downpayment? • How much can you afford in monthly payments to cover the amount you need to borrow? • How much will the property taxes be on your finished home and land? • How much homeowner’s insurance will you need to cover your investment? • How much can you set aside for routine home maintenance and upkeep or non-covered emergencies? If you require a loan to complete your home project, you'll want to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. This takes your monthly financial obligations like house payment, car loan, charge cards, etc. (not utilities, food, entertainment) and divides the total by your monthly income. The final number should not exceed 33-36 percent of the cost of the home you are planning to build. Your monthly house payment should not exceed 25 percent of your stable monthly income. At Honest Abe we're experienced at helping you balance what you want and what you can afford. Give us a call and let us help make the budgeting process a little less scary.



Honest Abe Living July-Aug.

Develop Floor Plans Early in Planning Process By Claudia Johnson, Director of Marketing, Honest Abe Log Homes

Most people who want a log or timber frame home have been envisioning how they want their house to look from the outside for a long time before they actually have a plan for building it. They also have a sense of what they want and need on the inside, but often they are not quite sure where to begin. “As we help our clients on their path to becoming homeowners, we're often asked how to get the house plans started for their new log or timber frame home,” said Greg Watson, who has been a sales representative at Honest Abe’s Cookeville Model Home for more than two decades. “I can help with that.” Watson said that not only does Honest Abe offer dozens of Legacy Collection plans that can be modified to meet the specific needs of the homeowner, two other house plan development The Marshall Home, pictured above and on the options are available. “The Honest Abe Design Team can turn original ideas that are following page, is from a plan in the Customer Creations Collection. just concepts and dreams into plans that a customer can really think about and review,” Watson said. “It sounds cliche, but we really have had people bring us their ideas sketched out on a napkin or scrap paper, and they’ve become plans for beautiful homes.” The third option for developing a plan is to choose from the Honest Abe Customer Creations Collection. “These are some of the most beautiful floor plans for log homes and timber frame homes that started as a customer’s dream,” Watson said. “I have to admit, our design team is pretty proud of them, because they were able to capture exactly what the homeowner had imagined.” The plans in this collection were graciously shared by the homeowners who conceived of them. “They represent a lifetime of passion, and many years of planning for some,” Watson said. “They may not be the perfect fit for you, but they were made just exactly how someone else wanted them. They’re being shared for inspiration and to give others confidence that a dream can become a forever home.” Watson said it is prudent to start the plan design process as early as possible once the decision is made to build a wood home, adding that plans are free for customers who buy a home package from Honest Abe. “Not only will having plans enable you to make modifications, plans will be necessary when approaching potential contractors and lenders,” Watson said. “It's much easier to change your dream on paper than it is after you've started the building process.”

The Marshall Plan, Second Floor

The Marshall Plan, First Floor HonestAbe.com


Honest Abe Living July-Aug.

The Marshall Home Plan from the Honest Abe Customer Creations Collection is just one of dozens of plans available online at www.honestabe.com/floor-plans.

Master Bedroom

Great Room with Loft/Study

Dining Room

Great Room HonestAbe.com

Kitchen 13

Honest Abe Living July-Aug.

Honest Abe Independent Dealership of the Year is T&M Log Homes The reigning Honest Abe Log Homes Independent Dealership of the Year is T&M Log Homes of Albany, Indiana. T&M Log Homes, owned by Tonia and Mike Coulter, is a repeat winner, also having won in 2012. The Coulters started their dealership in 1997 after completing construction of their own Honest Abe Log Home. In addition to their log home business, Mike is a senior engineer with Rolls Royce in Indianapolis. Tonia brings a lifetime of business experience to the dealership, which she developed in her family's hog farming operation and national distribution of their products. "You don't have to be around the Coulters long to see their enthusiasm for their log home business," said David Everitt, Honest Abe Dealer Manager. "Meeting clients and helping them navigate the log home building process and making someone's forever home a reality fuels the Coulters' enthusiasm." In addition to making sales in Indiana during 2015, the Coulters delivered home packages to Kansas, Illinois and Ohio. Tonia & Mike Coulter, Honest Abe Log Homes Independent Dealers Tonia and Mike have added Kyle and Rebecca Taylor to and owners of tandmlogs.com, were awarded the Broad Axe plaque their team to establish a Kansas presence for Honest Abe's homes. for top sales in 2015 from Honest Abe's President Joshua Beasley, (right) Director of Sales Jeff Clements, (back) and Vice President of Past clients Matt and Tara Kammann are representing T&M Log Production Jackie Cherry (left). Homes in southwest Indiana. Both of these additions are examples of the Coulters' forward thinking. "They are building their own business as well as nurturing the business growth of others," Everitt said. "Honest Abe Log Homes is blessed to have Independent Dealership representation like the Coulters involved in our dealership family." Honest Abe offers dealership opportunities to ensure that customers across the country are served. In addition to Honest Abe’s company-owned sales models in Tennessee, Honest Abe Log Home and Timber Frame Home packages and products are sold through independent dealerships throughout the United States. “All of our independent dealer businesses receive support from our corporate office,” said Ronnie Wilson, Dealer Recruiter at Honest Abe. “What sets us apart is that the independent dealer businesses are as much a part of our family as anyone in our models or corporate office.” With a very attractive wholesale cost program to these businesses, Wilson said it’s easy to see why the independent dealership program continues to grow each year. “This is a great business opportunity,” said David Everitt, Honest Abe Dealer Manager. “Any individual with the vision will immediately recognize the benefit of carrying the line of products offered by Honest Abe Log Homes.” Everitt said these completely independent dealer-owned businesses are supported in their business efforts by a strong company that backs them up with a national advertising program and supplies excellent home packages to their customers. “Quality and value are strong elements in the Honest Abe experience,” Wilson added. Using only top-notch materials and a manufacturing process honed over the last 37 years, Honest Abe gives builders the edge they need in a competitive custom home market. Builders and log home enthusiasts wanting to get into another business or even people living in a log home and looking for a business opportunity, are encouraged to call. For additional information, call 800-231-3695. HonestAbe.com


Honest Abe Living July-Aug. 2016

New England Chicken Pot Pie Filling:

Biscuit Crust:

2 T. butter 2 medium onions, diced 1 celery rib, diced 1 large carrot, diced 3 c. cubed (1-inch) cooked chicken 1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen green peas 1 c. diced fresh mushrooms Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 c. vegetable shortening 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1 1/2 c. chicken broth 1 c. half-and-half

2 cups all-purpose flour 1 T. baking powder 1/2 t. salt 1/4 c. chilled vegetable shortening 1 c. whole milk

1. Grease a 2-qt. cast iron casserole pan. 2. Make the filling: Melt the butter in the casserole pan over medium heat, add the onions, celery, and carrot, and stir until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, and mushrooms, season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside. 3. In a heavy medium saucepan, melt the shortening over medium heat, sprinkle the flour over the top, and stir constantly for 3 minutes; don’t let the roux color. Remove from the heat and gradually add the broth and half-and-half, stirring constantly until well blended. Return the mixture to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Pour over the chicken and vegetables in the casserole pan. 4. Preheat the oven to 425. 5. Make the biscuit crust: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the shortening and cut it in with a pastry cutter or rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture is mealy. Add the milk and stir just until the dough forms a ball. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, knead about 8 times, then pat the dough out about 1/3� thick. Cut the dough to fit the top of the casserole, drape it over the filling, and secure the edges by crimping them. Cut a few vents in the top with a sharp knife and bake until the crust is nicely browned and juices are bubbling up through the vents, about 25 minutes. Serves 6.

With 200 recipes curated from Lodge's network of chefs and fans, Cast Iron Nation boasts a diverse array of recipes, stories and spectacular photography. Get it at www.lodgemfg.com. HonestAbe.com


Honest Abe Living July-Aug. 2016

The Smith Second Floor

First Floor

See this plan and many others at


9995 Clay County Highway Moss, TN 38575

800-231-3695 info@honestabe.com