by Joshua Beasley, Honest Abe Log Homes
Security, warmth, stability; these are just a few feelings and memories Rachel Meadows took away from a visit to her grandfather’s homeplace as a small child.
“I remember Daddy walking us through the log cabin he grew up in,” says Rachel. “I just remember seeing those big logs and feeling safe and at home.”
So began Rachel’s desire, passion really, of log homes. Of course, it wasn’t until later in life that her love of log cabins as a child would develop into a longing for one of her own.
Desire would soon turn into reality when Rachel met Landon Meadows. When the couple met, Landon had already started construction of the log home the couple would soon share. Rather than comparing between competing log home manufacturers, Landon was contrasting log homes and conventional “stick frame” houses, with which he was much more familiar. “Landon was before his time,” says Rachel. “He was most interested in strength and how easy it was going to be to heat and cool a log home, and that was in the mid 1980s. The phrase or idea of energy efficiency wasn’t a trending issue then, but it was important to Landon.”
After touring log homes built by Honest Abe and speaking to their owners, Landon was convinced. He started construction of Honest Abe’s Raleigh floor plan, one still popular today. At the time, the company only offered one log profile, so their home is constructed of 6” x 10” chinked logs known as the Original Log System. He utilized a combination of Honest Abe’s construction services, and working on the home himself. Joe Isenberg built the home, and it’s worthy noting that Joe still builds Honest Abe Log Homes for the company today. Ricky Hatcher, who also operates a dry-in crew building for Honest Abe helped Landon with the finish work. Landon’s research also paid off. Rachel noted that prior to their log home, she lived in a conventional brick home of about the same size. Their log home has always been more energy efficient to heat and cool.
It would be nearly 10 years later before Rachel would come to work for Honest Abe. Until then, she managed a production line at a local manufacturer. When the company left the area, Rachel took a job as the receptionist. “I already loved log homes,” said Rachel. “So coming to work for Honest Abe was a blessing. I immediately fell in love with the people here.”
As her knowledge grew of the products, Rachel earned an opportunity to start selling homes from the headquarters in Moss, Tenn. It was a position she thrived in, and she became one of the companies top professionals, breaking records as she went. Now, she manages the sales locations in Tennessee and independent dealer sales in the southeastern United States.
While Rachel loves her job at Honest Abe, her passion is for her family and her home. “We live in our home,” she commented. “It’s not huge or fancy, but it’s comfortable. It reminds me of my grandfather’s place.” R
achel says the kitchen is the center of the home to her. With two boys, now both married with children, she still has plenty of opportunity to cook and care for them. “We raised two boys in this house, and they were never able to kick a hole through one of my log walls.” she laughed. “Now the grand kids get to try.”
“Even though I sell these homes, I really am impressed with how well ours has aged,” she noted. The home is nearing thirty years old, and on average it has only been stained once every ten years. “Landon always goes around the house at least once per year to do light, seasonal upkeep. That makes a big difference, and it’s something we encourage our customers to do from the start.” The home was constructed on Landon’s family farm, and the stone on the fireplace was taken from local chimneys left standing from farm houses that were long gone. Front and back porches provide perfect outdoor living spaces, and a great place for the grand kids to run. The home was also built on a full basement, where the boys bedrooms were located, along with a common area and kitchenette.
A big smile stretched across Rachel’s face as she made her final comments, “Nearly thirty years later, people who walk in to my home for the first time are amazed. They go on and on about it, and they just feel comfortable. That makes me feel good, and I know I’m doing the right thing.”
Photography by: Joshua Beasley, Honest Abe Log Homes