Two homes manufactured by Honest Abe Log Homes are 2022 Jerry Rouleau Award winners. Recognizing the best structures in systems-built housing, each award category (by type and size) in this prestigious annual competition reflects the distinctive nature of a building technique, including log and timber frame, represented by the Building Systems Councils of NAHB.
 
Haven on the Hill is (below) being recognized by the Building Systems Councils of NAHB as the winner in the category of Log Home Design.Winning in the category of  Log Home Design is Haven on the Hill in Lebanon, Tennessee. Owners Alex and Connie Diamond drafted an original, functional and attractive design for for the home in which they wanted to raise their young children. The final floor plan was drafted by Michael Hix of Honest Abe Log Homes’ in-house design department. It was featured in a 2021 issue of Log and Timber Home Living.
 

Recognized as a Home of Distinction, Danny and Tia Suiter’s Cloud 9 Cabin (above) in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a three-story vacation home that doubles as a rental experience for visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains. The final floor plan was drafted by Melissa Copas of Honest Abe Log Homes’ in-house design department. It was featured on the cover of a 2021 issue of Log Cabin Homes.

Read more about these homes below by clicking the interviews with each of the homeowners to the right.

The Suiter Nomination

 
The 12″ D-Log Eastern white pine Cloud 9 cabin, positioned on one of the highest peaks in Gatlinburg, has a 360-degree view encompassing landmarks like Mt. LeConte, Ober Gatlinburg and Clingman’s Dome. It was designed as a replica of a splendid long-leaf pine cabin built in the 1980s that was one of the 2,460 structures engulfed by the November 2016 wildfires that also took 14 lives and caused $500 million in damage. Cloud 9 is the home away from home for Danny and Tia Suiter.
Tia acted as interior designer for the cabin, creating a distinctive character for each room by combining vintage and handmade pieces with interesting wall treatments. At nearly 5,000 square feet on three floors, the six-bedroom D-log cabin sleeps 18.
The Suiters have designated the three levels as Mountain Base, Mountain Middle and Mountain Top. Each bedroom is named for an historic or natural site in the surrounding mountains, with wall treatments, art, antiques, decor, lighting, linens, curtains and rugs chosen to enhance each theme.
The cabin’s exterior features are as welcoming as those inside and include multiple patios, covered porches, dining areas and an eight-person hot tub. The grounds are landscaped with plants and rocks native to the area, while metal silhouettes and carved wood statues of the indigenous black bear welcome visitors.
The site is designed so that seven cars can be parked logically surrounding the house.
When the original cabin burned, the Suiters could not locate plans, so Honest Abe designer Michael Hix used old tourism photos and what was left of the foundation to replicate the structure that was meaningful to decades of families and couples who had observed special occasions in the cabin. When the Suiters are not escaping  there together or vacationing at Cloud 9 with friends or family, the home is available for rental.
Six bedrooms each with a private deck or balcony, 7 baths, multiple dining, living and eating spaces on three levels. Basement: movie theater; den; game room; pool room; a pub with a wet bar; den. Second level: to two master suites with private decks, the second level has two living rooms with natural stone fireplaces, an indoor dining area that seats 14, a gourmet kitchen complete with a wine refrigerator and an outdoor dining space for six and a gas grill. Floor-to-ceiling windows and vaulted ceiling. The third floor loft: cathedral ceiling, double glass sliding doors. Outdoor living: luxurious eight-person outdoor jacuzzi and a furnished covered patio with a television mounted over a wood-burning fireplace of real mountain river stone under a cathedral ceiling. Floors: all are waterproof and scratch-proof vinyl in rich wood tones that simulate wide, hand sawn wooden planks. Wall: every interior wall is log, some with special treatments like cork, tree bark or tinted stain.
 
 
 

The Diamond nomination

 
Connie and Alex Diamond’s new 3,183-square-foot log home, Haven on the Hill, was manufactured by Honest Abe Log Homes from original plans conceived of by the young couple, who wanted a place to raise their small children and enjoy nature as a family. The home is situated atop 15 acres of farmland in historic Wilson County, Tennessee.
The 956-square-foot wrap-around porch terminates into a screened-in outdoor living space complete with a real stone fireplace, a television and room for sitting or casual dining. The adjacent patio is crafted from huge rocks harvested from the land, which is a mixture of forest and pasture and a creek, secluded but close to town.
The 8”x8” Eastern white pine butt-and-pass logs stained walnut are topped by a heavy timber roof with hunter green dimensional shingles.
The dry stacked natural stone chimney was specially ordered so that only earth-toned stones were supplied. The same rock is used to cover selected exposed areas of the foundation, as exterior walls for the timber frame breakfast nook and on fireplaces in both the great room and outdoor screened living room.
The Diamond home’s main entrance is covered by a heavy timber porch that extends around the front corner and terminates at the façade’s west-facing floor-to-ceiling great room windows. The Diamonds’ love for nature inspired the design of their timber frame, screened outdoor living room, which has a wood-burning fireplace and ample room for seating and serving. Mounted on the west wall is a rustic bar, while the east wall’s oversized door opens onto a patio with a picnic table, grills and string lights.
While exterior walls are D-Log, the  home’s interior employs both log and timber frame design elements. There are multiple heavy-timber beams in the great room. A large breakfast nook is nestled into a half-hexagon timber frame alcove. All the bookshelves and trim work were custom made as were the live-edge mantels that were hand-hewn by an Amish craftsman from a fallen tree from the Diamonds’ first home together.
Connie, who designed the home’s interiors, said she wanted a hybrid design of rustic log home and farmhouse with unique flairs that combined many styles.
Family bedrooms are upstairs, with Connie and Alex’s master suite at one end of the wide catwalk open to the great room and children’s rooms and bathroom at the other. The couple’s bedroom is rich with texture and color. The two exterior walls are log, lightly stained, both with oversized two-pane windows. The window facing west has a built-in window seat underneath and a handmade bookcase alongside. On the south wall is a natural stone gas fireplace. One interior wall is brick, while another is painted in a startling deep twilight blue. The floors are Eastern white pine.
The master bathroom boasts a jet tub, walk-in shower and double sink vanity. The tub and shower’s glossy subway tiles are in morning mist hues. The 8”X8” floor tiles complement the shower floor’s denim-vanilla colored circle tiles.
The focal point of the Diamond’s great room is the floor-to-ceiling west wall where sunset is living art in every season. Throughout the 1,935-square-foot main floor European white oak with a weathered aluminum oxide finish complements the light gray interior walls and the pine log exterior walls and pine ceiling planks stained dark natural.
The staircase risers are stained with dark natural, while the treads, newels and handrails are stained walnut. Spindles are wrought iron.
Natural stone, chosen for its earthy tones, forms the fireplace with a gas insert. The live-edge mantlepiece inscribed with “Haven on the Hill” was crafted from a fallen tree from the Diamond’s first home in Nashville.
The great room’s visually stimulating vaulted ceiling is of heavy timber construction with Douglas fir beams stained walnut. The timber frame breakfast nook is framed by a brick-fringed entrance. The half-hexagonal room has a built-in window chest for storage, painted drywall and a tongue-and-groove pine ceiling with exposed Douglas Fir beams stained walnut. Wide, east facing windows on each wall are installed at a height that takes advantage of morning light while offering privacy. Outside, the nook is covered in natural stone.