Two custom of the five custom log homes by Honest Abe Log Homes that will be open to visitors as part of the Summer 2019 Log Home Tour on June 15 are at at Rock Hill Road Farm near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
One structure is an 835-square-foot log cabin, while the other is a 3,255-square-foot home. Owners R.J. Hadle and husband Sam Grano collaborated with Honest Abe designer Melissa Copas to create the custom spaces they had imagined.
Both homes feature square logs with chinking, but R.J. and Sam chose to have the exterior walls of the larger home hand hewn by Honest Abe. Because an experienced craftsman at Honest Abe uses a vintage tool called an adze to manually hew the log, the result is much the same as pioneer homes would have appeared. Sasco’s Bronze Pine stain creates the illusion that each home is aging gracefully with time.
The cabin was built as a transitional dwelling for R.J. and Sam as they were selling their first home in the South, which was not far from Rock Hill Road Farm, following a decision by the retired couple to move from a two-story home on sloping property to a one-story on flat, easy-to-navigate land.
Built in a traditional Appalachian style, the cabin has two bedrooms, a private full bath, a laundry room that has been converted into a storage pantry and a combination living, dining and kitchen that spans the front and opens onto a full-length porch.
In March 2018 the couple moved into their new home, which is a contemporary twist on a traditional design, a sort of 21st Century dogtrot home. Entering through a custom door from the recessed front porch, the large, open “central hall” is divided into a parlor and dining area through use of furniture arrangement and rugs on the solid hickory floors. To the right of the dining area is a spacious but cozy den where R.J. and Sam relax together after all their farm commitments, which includes goats, chickens and dogs not to mention several acres of wooded property.
To the left a modern kitchen, where Sam is the primary cook, is separated from the dining area by a bar. Sam’s specialty is bread making, and R.J. laughs that one particular double bread pan has been particularly deadly to their diets.
Flanking the front parlor are their private quarters. Each room is designed to reflect individual tastes. Both have a light-bathed office in front, but their décor could not be more different. While Sam chose to use a natural finish on his log walls and white on drywall, R.J. whitewashed her logs and chose a soft pink for drywall.
Sam’s bathroom boasts masculine, earth and sea tones and an open shower with faux rock tiles and a pebble floor. R.J.’s bathroom is pink with throwback white hexagonal floor tiles, a legged porcelain sink and an open shower with smooth, white rectangular tiles.
Sam chose a log and twig bed, while R.J.’s bed is of painted antique brass. Appointments in R.J.’s room are antique, delicate and feminine. Sam’s room is still being decorated, and R.J. says her husband is free to decorate in any way he wants as long as it includes antiques.
Both elected to have walk though closets absent of doors. Since neither of the bedrooms have a traditional ceiling, the heavy timber roof system – a combination of tongue-and-groove and open valley rafters – gives each room a lofty atmosphere.
The attached two-car garage offers entrance through a very practical vestibule that includes a half bath and an open, doorless area with two pantries, a laundry room and a mudroom. A second door makes the back deck accessible and provides an exterior connection to a swimming pool room enclosed with cedar board and batten and topped by a vaulted ceiling.
The couple installed geothermal heating and cooling, which coupled with the 6×10 chinked, dovetailed logs, produces a consistency of interior climate that keeps utility bills low and both of them comfortable. R.J. says their log home is the warmest she’s ever known, even with the thermostat set at 65 all winter.
R.J. and Sam share a love for creating beautiful things. They learned to bottom chairs and weave baskets using local white oak. R.J. is a textile weaver who creates as well as teaches using her impressive collection of antique and vintage hand looms. Sam enjoys capturing life’s moments with his drone, including creation of a video chronicle of the home’s construction featured on this page.
Honest Abe Log Homes Murfreesboro Sales Representative Dan Smith, who worked with the couple throughout design and construction process. will join R.J., Sam and fellow Murfreesboro Sales Representative David Mathis to greet visitors beginning
Call (615) 890-3648 to make reservations. The June 15 event begins with coffee and donuts at Honest Abe Log Homes Murfreesboro, 233 River Rock Blvd, Murfreesboro, TN 37128, at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 15. The tour is free, reservations are required for the event, which ends at 3 p.m.
Story by Claudia Johnson, Honest Abe Log Homes