A Seasoned Contractor Builds on His Family Legacy
Building a new home is nothing new for Tom and Joan Rippel, whether it be for themselves, or their many customers over the years. Tom’s building career started at a young age in 1961 helping his father build conventional homes. That venture turned into a family business that still thrives today, literally giving them decades of building experience. Tom and Joan have even built multiple homes for themselves, but when it came time to construct a vacation spot, their desire was a log home.
“I knew right away it would be a different experience,” commented Joan. “Tom convinced me it was the way to go, especially when we were lucky enough to find a great building site.” That perfect site was found on Lake Pana in Illinois, a little more than an hours drive from their permanent residence. Proximity to their permanent residence isn’t all that makes the home’s location so special. “We have a multitude of family members that live within a couple hours in all directions from our home, so it’s centrally located,” noted Tom. A couple of cousins, and a close family friend are all within walking distance as well. “This is a family venture, as our daughters are part owners and it’s open to the family,” he said. Another great benefit of the property is that the home rests only about twenty-five feet from the shoreline of Lake Pana, and is also nestled in a grove of trees.
When it came time to construct the log home, the couple found some aspects of building with logs were quick and easy, while others were more challenging and time consuming. On a typical home, the log walls go up quickly, as they did with the Rippel’s log home. They chose Honest Abe’s eight inch “D-Log” profile, which is rounded on the exterior, with a flat interior surface. The home also features Honest Abe’s Heavy Timber Roof System, featuring exposed roof rafters. While the logs may go up quickly and easily, this style roof system typically takes more time, labor and skill to construct. “My crew and I had a lot of fun figuring out and addressing challenges, even more so than with a conventional home,” mentioned Tom. “It was work, but so radically different that it was fun and we enjoyed the experience.”
While Tom, Joan and their crew did the majority of the construction, Tom was quick to give Glenn Perrin of H.H. Log Sales a lot of credit. As an independent dealer of Honest Abe products and an experienced builder, Glenn made frequent trips to the job site to advise in different areas. Tom said, “At the start of each major area of the home, Glenn and his crew came and helped to get us started. Glenn is top-notch, and made lots of special trips.”
Joan chose to stain the exterior of the log home a gray tone, allowing it to blend into the natural surroundings, rather than stand out. They both agreed that the great room is their favorite location in the home. “It’s two stories high so you can see how the cabin is put together, and I still find myself being amazed at how all those separate pieces of wood came together so well,” commented Joan on her great room. Tom goes on to mention that there were only six pieces of dry-wall used in the entire home, and those are located in the bathroom. Everything else in the home is wood, adding to the comfortable and casual setting the family wanted for their vacation home.
With the home complete, Tom, Joan and other family members have been using the home about every weekend. It’s an experience that’s left a seasoned conventional home builder with the statement, “I would recommend living in a log home to anyone.” Tom further stated, “The idea that I can go sit in my hobby home makes me proud.” One thing is clear, Tom and Joan have built their log home with the purpose to stand the test of time, transcend generations, and to be a legacy to their family.
Article by: Joshua Beasley, Marketing & Advertising for Honest Abe Log Homes.
Editors Note: Special thanks to Glenn Perrin of H.H. Log Sales and the Rippel family for their contributions to this story.