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 Diamond nomination
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 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.