Bailey High Forest Hideout is Dream Log Cabin in the Indiana Woods
By Claudia Johnson, Honest Abe Log Homes Director of Marketing
Some dreams are too strong to let go, and that’s why Chuck Bailey never gave up on his hope for a hideout in the woods.
“I lived at my parents’ cottage in Brown County, Ind., while attending Indiana University,” Chuck said. “After graduating in 1974, I moved to North Carolina to begin my professional career, hoping that some day I would be able to come back to this special place.”
Fast forward 33 years to 2007. After 28 years of marriage and having raised four children, Chuck and his wife Terri were finally empty nesters. Chuck was ready for country living, and though Terri was reluctant, the couple started exploring property suitable for building. But in four years everything would change for Chuck.
“When Terri died in August 2011 after battling cancer for nine years, it was time for me to start a new chapter in my life,” Chuck said. “Good friends cautioned me not to make any changes to my life during the first year of being a widower. Don’t sell your home, don’t quit your job and don’t make any rash decisions. That was good advice, but the desire to retire to a log cabin in Brown County had long been in the back of my mind. It was time to move on my dream.”
Chuck’s proverbial stars began to align, when he was offered the chance to buy 79 acres of land, 74 of it hardwood forest. The perfect building site was about 750 feet off the road – over a hill where it could not be seen from the road and overlooking an acre pond.
“I began researching log cabins in earnest,” he recalled. “I checked out a lot of companies on line, ordered floor plan books and spent a lot of evenings alone looking at plans. I wanted something that had all of the living area on one floor so I wouldn’t have to climb steps as I got older, and enough space for the kids and grandkids to come and visit. I found a plan from Honest Abe Log Homes that came close to fitting what I was looking for, the Westport. “
Soon Chuck accepted an invitation to visit a construction site from James Elkins, an Honest Abe Independent dealer with 50 years of experience in building structures of all types, dozens of them Honest Abe Log homes.
“Jim introduced himself and explained that he was the salesman, but he was really a carpenter,” Chuck said. “I was impressed that his crew of four had seniority from 10 to 23 years. That is unheard of in construction. He told me that if I wanted a beautiful home, he could build it for me.”
Chuck hired Jim to build the pole barn during the summer of 2013 as a test of the quality of Jim’s work before hiring him to build a cabin. Chuck was satisfied with Jim’s construction and decided to move forward with the design of the log cabin with him and Honest Abe.
“This project had started out to be a man cave for me, as it was my dream to live in the woods,” Chuck said. “On New Years Eve 2012, I took Ann Garrison out on our first date. On our second date during the first week of January 2013, I brought her to the farm. There was 8” of snow on the ground. It looked like a Christmas card. I thought when she saw how far out in the woods this is, she might do a 180-degree change. Not so. She loved what she saw.”
In 2014 Chuck and Anne made a trip to Honest Abe’s headquarters in Tennessee, visiting all four Honest Abe models, examining the quality of manufacturing and continuing to gather ideas. They modified the Westport plan and added a laundry room/mud room between the home and the two-car garage. They chose a 12” D log with a dovetail finish and chose a green metal roof, a covered front porch and a full walkout basement.
“Ann and I were married on Dec. 6, 2013 – soon after construction began,” Chuck said. “It seemed like we spent every Friday date night at Lowes, Menards or Home Depot picking out lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, showers and bathtubs, cabinets, countertops, fireplace inserts, stone for the fireplace, stain, roofing colors, interior doors, acoustical tile, carpeting, vinyl flooring, door knobs, insulation, stone flooring, shower doors and a hot tub. What am I leaving out?”
The Baileys made several trips out of state to find accessories for the cabin. The interior doors, rocking chairs and coat rack came from Amish craftsmen in Ohio. The porch swings, gliders and exterior rocking chairs came from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Ann crafted a copper sink for the half bath from a used wine barrel that the couple found in Wyoming. The Bailey name log at the end of the driveway came from a chainsaw artist in Trenton, Missouri.
Between the two of them, Ann and Chuck have seven children and 17 grandchildren, so family visits had to be considered in the design.
“I was originally going to build a three-car garage, but it looked as big as the cabin, so we went with a two-car garage that balanced the look better,” Chuck said, adding, “We can park more vehicles in the pole barn. The Westport gives us two bedrooms on the second floor, and we have three more rooms for guests in the full basement. When the whole family is here, the question has come up, ‘when does a log cabin become a lodge?’”
Since Chuck retired in June 2015 after 30 years as a commercial insurance agent, he and Ann have entertained many friends at their new home.
“Several have remarked that we are living every man’s dream,” Chuck said. “All have been impressed with the beauty and details of the construction. Jim and his crew did an excellent job of craftsmanship and paying attention to details. It is a beautiful home – which is what he promised from the beginning. Jim worked with us every step of the way. Jim and his crew were great to work with.”
Jim feels the same way about the Baileys. He was impressed with Chuck’s enthusiasm, patience during unavoidable Indiana weather delays and attention to detail. Working on the cabin, pole barn and other projects for the Baileys in the past three years, he counts them among his favorite clients in his long career and is proud of the finished cabin.
“This home has so much warmth and character, it feels so much like home,” Chuck said. “The focal point of this home is the 22’ tall dry stack fireplace. A friend of mine is a local stonemason and did a wonderful job creating that. We found a Swiss wood carver in Gatlinburg that hand carved the awesome mantle above the fireplace. Jim found our “hickory with character” flooring at a local lumber mill. It is beautiful and adds so much to the main floor of the home.”
Chuck said he and Ann would not change anything about their house and plan to live there the rest of their lives.
“My hope and dream is The Hideout can stay in our family for generations to come,” Chuck said. “My wish is that all who come here can enjoy this special place as much as I do. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”
Photos by LaDawn Weston of WestonHouse Photography