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July-August, 2013

Tom And Kathy’s Tennessee Home

LOG RAISING: September 21, 2013 Wallin Finds His Life’s Calling Recipe by Lodge: Cherry Clafouti


July-August, 2013

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Cover Story: Tom And Kathy’s Tennessee Home Cherry Clafouti Recipe by Lodge Cast Iron Join Us For A Log Raising on September 21, 2013 Wallin Finds His Life’s Calling

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Tom And Kathy’s Tennessee Home


om and Kathy Daniel are from Pinellas County, Florida. Tom was born there and Kathy move there when she was 13. Pinellas County is the most densely populated county in all of Florida with 3,334 people per square mile. Both Tom and Kathy were fed up with the crowds, traffic, noise and light pollution for some time. Also Tom was at the point in his life where he wanted to sell his business and do something more than being a workaholic. Tom and his best friend Al wanted to look for a evening she contacted Marc Carlyle who owned 1700 large piece of property that they could hunt and rec- acres along Brimstone Creek Rd. and asked him if he reate on and by chance stumbled onto a website that would sell it. I am pretty sure that is what happened was advertising land in Clay County Tennessee. After because first thing the next morning she told us the a phone call and the purchase of plane property was not listed but he was ready “When we are at tickets Kathy and Tom along with Al and to sell it and had scheduled us to look at his wife Pam set out for Clay County to our log home in the it.” Said Tom. The property was very rugmeet with a realtor. “We had a four day middle of nature it is ged timber property with lumber roads our happy place.” weekend to look around and after two cut all over it and rock walls and creeks days we were about to give up because every where. They fell in love with it and nothing was close to exciting us. But then the realtor had a contract for half of the 1700 acres in the works took us on a short cut from one piece of property to before the group went home. another which turned out to be Brimstone Creek Rd. It followed along a large creek and the gravel road was As soon as they bought the property and started covered with a canopy of trees and it was amazingly to explore all the lumber trails, creeks, ridge top views, beautiful. Kathy spoke out that THIS is what she like water falls and endless natural beauty, it became and I quickly agreed with her. The realtor must have Tom’s favorite place to be. “Now the problem became took note of it because after she dropped us off that how to take a city, mall loving girl like Kathy into the

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woods. One of her favorite things to do is decorate so I decided that a log home might be the carrot to do it, but it would have to be a very special one to make this work,” Tom said. As it turned out Honest Abe Log Homes was 15 minutes down the road.

sales person, Inez Price, whom the couple thought was very knowledgeable and talked about the different types of construction such as open beam which is what they decided to go with. She explained how the large timber beams supported 2x6 tongue and groove which created a beautiful ceiling, and that R-30 foam When asked how they learned about Honest Abe, board insulation was placed over that and screwed Tom replied by saying, “We learned about Honest Abe down with 2x4 firing. Then plywood was nailed over from the realtor and by driving by their plant while the firing creating a vented air space which kept heat looking at properties. We stopped in and grabbed and moisture from building up. After that the shingle some literature while on the run so we could look at were applied over the plywood completing the single floor plans and dreamed about what we should come assembly system. Being in the insulation business for up with. After we closed on the property the thought over 30 years and a student of building science, Tom process became more serious and I started to talk to knew this was an extremely energy efficient design. a couple of customers of mine that has recently been through the log home process. Both said that they “We found a plan that was very close to the look felt that Honest Abe was reputable and they had not and floor plan we wanted but it had some issues we come across any thing negative in their research.” could not live with, such as very little master closet space and a cramped master bath with only one sink. At that point they decided to go back and meet So we took the floor plan back to St. Petersburg and with someone who could go over the entire process, meet with Daniel Dawson, the architect who defloor plans and prices. That is when they meet their signed our current house which we are very pleased 4 • Honest Abe Living • July-August 2013

with. He extended both end of the house out several feet which at one end gave us a much larger master suite with a walk in closet and double sink and vanity. It gave us enough room for a nice size shower and a cast iron slipper tub as well. At the other end it expanded the kitchen and dinning room which is amazing because we use the house for family gatherings during the holidays. We had a 12 foot custom table built that seats 14 and the kitchen is so large that no one is bumping into one another when creating a Thanksgiving feast. Also he expanded the family room out by cutting into some of the outdoor deck which as oversized at that spot anyway. Furthermore one of our MUST have’s was an out door living room with a real stone fireplace, and one of the options Honest Abe showed with our model was a detached family room connected by a breeze way. We had them build it with out the walls and add the fireplace. With these changes it now became OUR house. Honest Abe was able to accommodate the changes and the rest is history,“ said Tom.

Kathy on board so just the two of them came up there one weekend and drove around the property to find the perfect place to build it. “I had a lot more experience with the property because Al and I had spent several weekends up there exploring and recreating and I had found what I thought would be the perfect spot but I didn’t want to influence her decision so I did not share it with her. I first took her up on the ridge tops and we looked at several choices with a nice view but neither one of us was floored by it. So I drove her past my chosen location and as we drove by it she pointed to it and said I think that wood be a perfect spot. We laughed when I told her that was already my choice as well,” Tom added. The house is now there and it speaks for itself and the location was perfect. Turn off of Brimstone Creed Rd. onto their driveway which parallels Little Brimstone Creek for a half mile thru the woods until you come into a clearing where the holler opens up and there is the house sitting up on the side of the mountain with a drainage creek on both sides of it that runs into the creek bellow when it rains. Tom said the view from their house is lookNow that the seed was planted Tom need to get ing down into the creek. The water noises are very

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relaxing when the feeder creeks and main creek are running. There is also a waterfall behind the house when there is a good rain that adds to it all. He went on by saying, “The construction process with Honest Abe was wonderful. Their crew chief Joe had an old school work ethic and every thing went together nicely. I only wish that they built turn key but they take it to dry in and you have to finish the rest. They do have a list of recommended trades that can help you finish it, but since I was trying to build this from 700 miles away I chose a building contractor recommended by the realtor to help finish it and he turned out to be a disaster. I have since retired and have had the time to work out all the issues and it is now perfect. When we started this process it was our intention to move to Tennessee but keep our Florida home as our vacation home. But by the time we finished the house our daughter gave birth to our first Grandchild, Avery, and the Tennessee home became our vacation home. So the only thing I would have done different is find a place closer than the 12 hour drive to Clay County Tennessee. Also, I wish I had done more research on who to use to finish the house when Honest Abe turned it over to me to finish. Honest Abe would have given 6 • Honest Abe Living • July-August 2013

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better advise than I received from the realtor.”

room with the high exposed beam ceilings and huge stone fireplace is a cozy place to relax on cold winter As far as the stain color, the couple had an idea of days, this is where Kathy loves to curl up and read a what they wanted but Inez helped to fine tune our book. We have a large flat screen TV over the fireplace choices and they are still very happy with it. which works out nicely because it doesn’t take up any space.” When asked what their favorite room is, Tom replied by saying, “Our absolute favorite room is the Tom added, “Kathy and I love to take long walks outdoor living room and we spend most of our time through the woods with our lab Roxy and the 900 in front of the fireplace. Because it is outside the only acres with timber trails is perfect for this. The ground time of year we cant have a fire is the summer time. is straight up and down so you get lots of exercise The climate here has cool nights in the spring and along the way. My best friend and I like to deer and fall even if the days are warm. We sit there and enjoy turkey hunt and the property is perfect for both. the peace and quite. All you hear during the day is When we are at our log home in the middle of nature the birds and the wind blow. At night we listen to the it is our happy place. The warmth of the knotty pine hoot owls and the coyotes howl. Because our closest walls and the distressed hickory floors is amazing. neighbor is a mile or two away and no street lights, All the furniture, lamps accessories are hand picked the sky is alive with stars to the point you can see antiques. One of our favorite things to do is take day the milky way and a constant barrage of falling stars. trips to different towns to antique shop and bring One night we saw the space station go over and it felt back another treasure to hang on the wall. Because like you could reach out and grab it. My city girl now of the fireplaces, wood beams, walls and ceilings, our calls this her happy/peaceful place. I call it heaven. friends call it the lodge and our entire family looks forThe kitchen and dinning room is our second favor- ward to spending the holidays there. We have quads ite place because this is where the family interacts and atv’s to ride and the property is the perfect place and it is large enough for everyone. Then the family to enjoy it all.”

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Cherry Clafouti serves 12 1 tablespoon butter 6 large eggs 1 1/4 cups milk 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons brandy 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 pint black cherries (2 heaping cups), stemmed or 1 (12-ounce) package frozen cherries, thawed Confectioners’ sugar for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously coat a 10-inch cast iron skillet with the butter. 2. Process the eggs and next 5 ingredients in a blender until well blended. Add the flour and process until smooth and well blended. 3. Scatter the cherries in the prepared skillet and pour the batter over them. Bake until puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving, if desired.

We hope you enjoy this recipe from the new Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook: A Treasury of Timeless Delicious Recipes. The cookbook can be ordered from the Lodge web site or from Amazon.

“The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook: A Treasury of Timeless, Delicious Recipes” - Oxmoor House. 2012 10 • Honest Abe Living • July-August 2013

For more information about Lodge and their cast iron cookware, visit:

Join Us For A Log Raising!


hese demonstrations allow you to see firsthand how an Honest Abe Log Home is built. We’ll show you how to stack the log walls, install beams and ceiling and apply the roof system. Tour our manufacturing facility, and have the opportunity to speak with the people involved throughout the process.

September 21, 2013 View a YouTube preview by clicking below!

The log raising will be hosted by Josh Beasley, President and Jackie Cherry, Vice-President of Honest Abe Log Homes. Honest Abe staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. It is also very common for some of Honest Abe’s dry-in construction crew leads to be on hand to answer questions. So join us at our National Headquarters in Moss, Tennessee on September 21, 2013 at 9 AM CST. Seating is limited, so please call for more information and reservations at: 800-231-3695.

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Wallin Finds His Life’s Calling S

teve Wallin grew up deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, in a place known for the independent spirit, and the inherent kindness of its people. Like many young folks, Steve struggled after college to find what he was meant to do in life. Through the years, his resume’ included middle school mathematics and science teacher, purchasing and materials manager for a fortune 500 company and even the owner of a saw mill. Steve’s grandfather, Ruben, was a farmer and a Several years later when Steve’s career path took a carpenter, so Steve had been around construction turn that meant a much longer commute to work, the much of his life. In June of 1991, Steve began home was sold. Steve moved his family, which had construction of his own home. With the help of grown to include his daughter, Mckenzi, to a larger his recently retired father and a local carpenter home closer to his employer. Over the years, Steve the process of Steve’s first construction “It just goes to show began to realize that while others talked project began. The summer consisted of that you are never too about the horrors of building a home, he long and tiring days, but each new day old to figure out what looked back on the experience as one of brought a new experience in building his you want to be when the most rewarding accomplishments of home. From the pouring of the footings to his life. you “grow up.” the final piece of trim, Steve’s heart went into every aspect of his building project. Just before By 1994, Steve had left his job as a middle school Thanksgiving the home was complete. Steve, his teacher; realizing that teaching was definitely not his wife, Patricia and their son, Jeremy, moved in just in life’s calling. Steve tried his luck at owning and mantime to have Thanksgiving dinner in their first home. aging a sawmill. And when the sawyer suddenly quit

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one day, he even learned how to run the old Frick circular saw. The economy was difficult, and Steve struggled to compete with the larger saw mills. Necessity is the “mother of invention” though, so Steve utilized the ability of the old saw mill to cut 24’ house logs, and entered into a contract with a log home company to cut 6”x 12” house logs up to 24’ length. Steve eventually sold the sawmill to two brothers who used the mill specifically to cut large house logs for their Appalachian style log homes. The two brothers still own the sawmill to this day. Steve embarked on some years of “soul searching”; trying to find what he was meant to do. He spent a few years as a Purchasing Manager, and then Materials Manager for Trinity Industries; a Dallas based fortune 500 company that manufactures railcars. Steve then accepted a position as Purchasing Manager for Southeastern Container, Inc. Although the name may not be familiar, their products probably are. If you have ever enjoyed a Coca Cola product in a plastic bottle, the chances are pretty good that the bottle was made by Southeastern Container. Southeastern Container is a Cooperative owned by a group of Coca Cola bottlers. Steve realized that something was still missing, though. He kept looking back to the time he enjoyed building the home in 1991, and he began to realize that home building wasn’t just something he might want as a career, it was a passion; something so enjoyable that he couldn’t wait to get up each morning. So, in 2001, Steve obtained North Carolina General Contractor’s license, and began to build homes in a small community close to his home. By the time the third home sold, he was hooked. What he began to realize was that all the experiences that had seemed so painfully unstructured, had quite possibly been some of the best on-the-job training he could have ever experienced. As a custom home builder, he uses the teaching skills he learned to listen to customer’s desires, and turn them into reality. He uses the knowledge he learned as a sawmill owner to understand the complexities of the lumber industry; especially as it relates to the home building industry, and more specifically the log home industry. He uses the negotiation skills he learned as a purchasing manager to develop the very best suppliers and subcontractors based on lowest total cost, not just lowest price; taking into consideration quality, delivery and financial

stability. Sometimes, the best lessons in life happen when you have no idea you are being educated. The beginning of 2007 started like the four years prior in the home building industry; homes couldn’t be built fast enough for eager buyers. But, by the end of 2007, the world was definitely changing, and Steve realized that to survive, his business would have to change as well. He did what any self-respecting entrepreneur would do in the middle of a recession; he expanded! After some research, Steve realized one of the trends in custom homebuilding was the design center concept; one place where a potential home buyer could pick most of the items for their new home. Most of the design centers Steve had researched filled the space with products of other suppliers, and was only used for helping the home buyer make choices. But Steve realized that an even better situation, not only for his business, but also ultimately for his customers, would be to have a design center that also sold and installed the products it displayed. The design center, operating as Carolina Kitchens and Floors, Inc., was an instant success with Steve’s customers. Within a few months, Steve received a pleasant surprise; other builders who knew Steve, July-August 2013 • Honest Abe Living • 13

and had heard about the design center, began to send their customers to the design center too. The design center’s pricing was extremely competitive, and the choices were more diverse. Today, the design center offers 3000 sq. ft. of many of the items a customer would normally have to travel to several different retailers to be able to see; eight brands of cabinetry, a variety of countertop options, tile, wood flooring, closet shelving, shower doors, mirrors and door and bath hardware, all direct from the manufacturer. The design center employs a full time interior designer, and a full time flooring professional, with certifications through the National Wood Flooring Association.

building custom homes was indeed his passion, and building log homes was definitely in a league of its own with regard to customization, craftsmanship and skill. Log home owners aren’t just building a home, they are building a lifestyle. In many cases, a log home is the culmination of years of planning, saving, researching and dreaming. Log homes take on a character every bit as strong as the owner; a statement about who they are, and where they have come from. For Steve, being able to work with the home owner to make their log home dreams come true is an absolute pleasure, and absolutely worth getting up for every morning! Steve was so impressed with the quality of the log homes that Honest Abe supplied, that in 2011 he become an Honest Abe Log Homes dealer. Most recently,

About the same time Steve opened the design center, he had the opportunity to build his first custom log home. Steve built a beautiful modified Bellwood plan from Honest Abe Log Homes, and although he had never built a log home before, the training and support of the Honest Abe Log Home staff made it an absolute joy to build. About a year later, Steve built a modified Westport by Honest Abe Log Homes for another customer in the same development. By this time, Steve realized that

Nicole Coffin - Kitchen and bath designer at Carolina Kitchens and Floors, Inc.

Steve Wallin - Carolina Kitchens and Floors, Inc. owner, Custom Homes of Asheville, Inc. owner and Honest Abe Log Homes dealer. 14 • Honest Abe Living • July-August 2013

Donovan Norton - Flooring specialist and Certified NWFA professional.

Steve was honored to team up with fellow Honest Abe Log Homes dealers Roger and Darlene Dawson of Bears Den Log Homes, to build a beautiful modified Darlington plan for owners Rich and Linda Hespe. The home turned out gorgeous, and Steve, Roger and Darlene are planning to team up on more projects to start later this year. Steve takes his involvement in the home building industry very seriously. As someone who has seen the ups and downs of this important industry, he realizes that staying engaged with others in the industry is of vast importance, and fostering interest among young professionals to enter into the field is critical. Steve has been serving on the Board of Directors of the Home Builders Association of Greater Asheville for the past three years. It is the largest trade association west of Charlotte, NC, the sixth largest HBA in North Carolina, and the 64th largest HBA in the nation. In 2012, Steve’s company Custom Homes of Asheville, Inc. was honored by the Association as Builder of the Year, and Steve is currently serving as the Association’s 2013 President. It just goes to show that you are never too old to figure out what you want to be when you “grow up”.

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Honest Abe Living, July/August 2013  

Honest Abe Living is a publication of Honest Abe Log Homes Inc., which designs, manufactures and builds energy-efficient, custom log homes,...