Darlington B Plan Modified to Create Family Retreat
Larry and Pam Swift completed their new 1,750-square-foot D-log cabin from Honest Abe Log Homes’ Darlington B plan in 2018 as a family escape from the city. The Swifts recently shared their journey though planning and building their country retreat with Honest Abe.
Honest Abe: Tell us a little about yourselves.
Swifts: We are from Indiana. We went to the same school – a very small school. Our graduating classes had fewer than 20 students. Larry comes from a long line of farmers and grew up on a farm. Pam’s family ran a lumber yard in Homer, Indiana. We were married in 1967 and moved to Nashville for Larry to continue his education. We have two wonderful daughters and two sweet grandchildren. After our daughters completed their education, we began to look for some land.
Honest Abe: What kind of land did you want?
Swifts: Having been raised in a farming neighborhood, it had been our dream to one day have our own property. It took us several years to find the right place, but in 2005 we finally found what we thought was the perfect place in Hickman County.
Honest Abe: What made it perfect?
Swifts: It was 45 acres of pasture and woods and rolling hills – no buildings, no well, no electricity. We began to clean up the land, establish where we would like to ultimately build, and then we drilled a well. In 2011 we built a barn, which came in handy when we built the house. Pam loves flowers and gardening; Larry just loves any kind of cleanup work, mowing, trimming trees, cutting up downed trees and driving the tractor. He is a handy-man.
Honest Abe: Why did you choose a log home over a conventional home?
Swifts: We thought a log home would fit well on our farm, plus we liked the beauty and natural look of log homes.
Honest Abe: What led you to Honest Abe?
Swifts: We looked at a couple of log home companies. One of the main reasons we chose Honest Abe was Dan Smith [Honest Abe’s Sales Representative from the Murfreesboro, Tennessee, sales model.] He was very helpful and not a bit pushy. What cemented our choice was our visit to the home office at Moss for a log raising and meeting with the owners and other people associated with Honest Abe. That was a real selling point and confirmed our decision to go with Honest Abe. We had a great experience dealing with Honest Abe and would highly recommend them to anyone interested in building a log home.
Honest Abe: How did you settle upon the final plan and design for your home?
Swifts: We looked through all the plans from Honest Abe and talked extensively with Dan Smith about what we wanted and how we wanted it to look. Some choices were easy – like the log style and heavy timber roof. Other choices took a little more time and discussion. Dan was incredibly helpful and patient with us as we considered all the choices. We visited log homes in the area – two under construction – to get ideas and to see how certain features looked.
Honest Abe: What plan did you finally choose?
Swifts: The basic plan was the Darlington B, but we made modifications in the second floor eliminating one of the bedrooms and creating an open loft area. We originally thought we would have a deck at the rear of the house, but then changed to a covered porch to provide a nice place to view the farm.
Honest Abe: Is there anything special about where you placed your house?
Swifts: It sits on a hill that overlooks a large part of the farm. The hillside is beautiful year round, but it is very colorful in the fall and spring. Sitting on the back porch early in the morning is a wonderful relaxing experience, as morning light breaks.
Honest Abe: How was your construction experience?
Swifts: Excellent! Andy and his team were very friendly and always took time to describe what they were doing. It was a great team. Marty Wright was our contractor and did a wonderful job. We appreciated his attention to detail. He always had time to talk with us. We depended upon his judgment when there were decisions to be made.
Honest Abe: What is your favorite thing about your new home and why?
Swifts: When we began the process of planning, we said the house had to have two things: a fireplace and a front porch that extended the length of the house. We have both and they are favorite places for us to relax. The fireplace and the openness of the living room is a great place for family to gather. We love to sit on the porches – front and back.
Honest Abe: What makes this house the home you’d dreamed about?
Swifts: The view, the setting, just the “homeiness” of the cabin. Plus, most of the furniture in the house is from family – some quite old. The only things we bought were a bed, a sofa and a chair.
Honest Abe: Would you do this again?
Swifts: Absolutely! I don’t know that Honest Abe and Dan Smith could have done anything better than they did. It would have been better on our part if we had made the decision to build a couple of years before we did. Dan Smith was superb – helpful, gave great insights and suggestions, but he never tried to influence our decisions. He never pushed but always was available to answer endless questions. He is the greatest! We had a great experience from the planning through the delivery and construction.
Square footage of Main: 1120 ft2
Upstairs: 630 ft2
Porches: Front – 320 ft2; Back 240 ft2
Log style: Milled D – 8 x 8
Corner style: Butt Lock
Roof Type: Heavy Timber with architectural shingles
Rooms: 9 – master bedroom, master bath (full), guest bathroom (1/2), kitchen, living/dining room, mudroom (utility room), upstairs bedroom, upstairs full bath, and loft
Interview by Claudia Johnson, Honest Abe Log Homes