From the President’s Desk
by Josh Beasley, President, Honest Abe Log Homes
It’s an extremely rare occasion that someone walks up to me and says, “We just decided that we want a log home, so we thought we would check into it.” No, our clients have been “all in” for years. They’ve experienced log home living through vacations, dreamed what their home should look like, and they have planned and worked toward making it a reality.
Unfortunately, many get stuck in the process. Let’s face it – building a custom home isn’t the easiest venture. There are easier alternatives, but they’re also less rewarding! It takes a certain drive, grit and hustle for most people to see it through. That’s part of why the log home lifestyle is so special!
In this issue of Honest Abe Living, you’ll read about someone who overcame huge obstacles to get the forever home she had always wanted. I’ll let her tell you the full story, but even after moving into her dream home, her challenges had just started. As major health issues impacted her ability to earn a living, maintaining her home became difficult.
Maintenance exists with any home whether it is a mobile home, brick or vinyl. If you name it, it has required maintenance. With any wood home, maintaining the exterior finish is a key element. It doesn’t have to be costly, but once ignored, issues can compound.
Fortunately for her, her forever home is a log home. The log home community is passionate about what we do, and she soon found some incredible people and companies who helped see her through difficult times.
Let me be very transparent. Publishing this kind of story feels risky. It exposes the “what ifs,” but those scenarios we imagine are what prevent us from doing great things. I personally feel it’s better viewed as a testimony to the will and endurance of our customers.
The story brings to light the passion that exists for the log and timber home lifestyle. It’s bold, real and empowering. If she can do it, anyone can. It highlights people that were willing to rally around someone in need to preserve a dream and to keep hope alive.
It is my hope that you hear that in her story, and we’re very thankful that her own story and hope continues.
By Becky Hofstetter, Honest Abe Homeowner
Photography by Dianne Woolfolk
My childhood fantasy was a log home with a blue tin roof and land for gardens, dogs and wildlife. Decades later that dream came true after finding the land, log company, financing, and beginning construction with no prior knowledge of log homes. However, this was to be my forever home, so I believed it was worth it.
Now, 15 years later, I was right! I love my home, which has become a local landmark (“When you pass the log home with the blue tin roof, you’re almost there!”). I have flower and vegetable gardens, two dogs, a cat and feed all wildlife. Moreover, it represents a lot of “sweat equity” with friends helping daily. We did cleanup, installed insulation, doors and shelving, painted inside walls, completed outside landscaping. They called it the “Work Farm” and showed up for work every day (I have great friends).
As a single parent and teacher, I realized my dream on a budget. I read publications, combed the internet, traveled to log companies and even knocked on doors, meeting owners who graciously answered questions and let me tour their log homes. I never met an owner not in love with their home.
Initially, I bought a couple of acres south of Nashville, paid it off two years later, then searched the country for a log company. I selected Honest Abe Log Homes. They were a local, Christian-based company with beautiful, quality homes. Their construction crew, who put up the logs and framed the house, were topnotch. I learned a lot about log homes in the building process, even more since then.
A large part of that maintenance is re-staining the logs, vital to preserving not only the look but also the health of the walls (for those who are unfamiliar, the logs are both the outer and inner walls of the house frame). About five years after moving in, I was still living on a teacher’s budget, so the Work Farm revived, and we stained the entire house. It took all summer, and I decided I was too old, too tired and too inexperienced for that job. So, I let it slide past time for the next re-staining.
It didn’t help any that I retired five years ago and in less than two years was diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of cancer. For the last three years, I have been fighting peritoneal cancer, which has changed my life in many ways. Nevertheless, I have been blessed every day, in so many ways. I have a wonderful doctor and staff, a close family, a caring church and an incredible support group (great friends, remember). I’m grateful for all they’ve done for me. Every day is a victory!
However, between retirement (fixed income) and (more) medical bills, I really watch the budget. Yet, the house is 15 years old and, like me, showing its age. I’m concerned because I love my home, and it’s my son’s only inheritance.
Several things around the house have fallen into disrepair over the last three years. It deeply saddened me to see the visible signs of a need for cleaning, repairing and re-staining. Knowing I couldn’t manage it myself but making it the top priority, I searched for a company to do the job. Turns out, there are many of those. I contacted the most promising for an estimate, but was crushed to find it was over my (strained) budget. So, I sent a “thanks-but-no-thanks letter” to these companies and relied on prayer to protect my home.
Then, Pete Malkmus, owner of Mountain Top Log Home Care and Restoration in Knoxville, contacted me in March 2014 stating he would re-stain my home free of charge – and he would be praying for my health. This started a process completed by the end of the year with Pete and his crew traveling more than three hours each way to work on my home every chance they got.
They were meticulous in treating my home, in caring for me (one of them presented me with an antique desk as a parting gift), in witnessing to the power of prayer and in the decency and generosity of people (Pete stays in touch and is still praying).
They rocked my world! God is good.
Pete contacted Tony Huddleston, VP of Perma-Chink Systems, and his company donated the media blasting materials, stains and caulking. Also, United Rentals donated the compressor. The miracles continued!
As you can see from the pictures, my home looks great now. Even better, I know it is protected for years to come. And, best of all, I have new friends who share my love of log homes, the Lord and a strong work ethic and pride in a job well done.
I am truly blessed.
Editor’s Note: Becky put up the good fight, but cancer won her body. It did not win her spirit. Here is her obituary.