Smoky Mountain Views

The Cox’s Custom Home

Matthew & Ashley Cox chose the Smoky Mountain town of Sevierville for their new dovetailed, D-Log Honest Abe log home. The couple moved in December 2023 just in time to celebrate a Smoky Mountain Christmas in their log cabin.

In a recent interview Matthew shared with Honest Abe some of his thoughts and experiences in creating the home that he and Ashley had dreamed about.

Specs

  • Square footage of each floor or level: 1,277 main floor, 673 loft, 1,277 basement
  • Total square footage: 3,227
  • Plan: Custom
  • Profile: Dovetail D log profile
  • Logs: 8”X12” 
  • Roof system: Heavy Timber
  • Honest Abe Sales Consultant: Johnny Watson, Crossville Model Home
  • Builder: Foremost Construction 

Why did you choose a log home over a conventional home? 

My wife and I got engaged in the area, the smokies have a special meaning for us. Later in life we purchased an already built cabin and were very happy with it for several years. We decided to sell it as the area started to be developed, and we searched for a new property that would give us the long-distance views we desired as well as more peace and quiet.

What Honest Abe in-house sales rep did you work with and how did you find them? 

Johnny Watson (Crossville Model) – I called and he picked up the phone. During the log delivery Johnny thought I was the forklift operator. We had never met in person, and he kinda shook my hand and walked off to tend to other things. At first I thought that was a cold way to greet someone who cut you a big check, but the site was busy and lots going on. Turns out I just have that look about me I guess. We caught up a few minutes later and had a good laugh about it. Over time I’ve learned he’s a Cowboys fan. However, I’m an Eagles fan. This made for some great conversation over the year or so we worked together, and I am grateful for his support throughout the process. Top-notch communication and never left a follow-up. Outstanding.

Why did you choose Honest Abe Log Homes as the custom designer and manufacturer for your home? 

I went to a cabin raising with a friend several years ago. He used Honest Abe to manufacture and build his cabin four years or so before we set out on our project. Between my experience on site and my friend’s beautiful home today, the choice was easy.

The Floor Plan

How did you develop the perfect floor plan?

If you ask Ashley, it was because we spent months trying to find the right floor plan that fit our needs. When she landed on a custom plan she envisioned, she got butterflies. From that point on there was no turning back.

Download the plan here: Cox 1st Floor 

How did you settle upon the final design and log profile style?

There wasn’t really a decision here – round on the outside flat on the inside. We like that look.

Location

Is there anything special about the location of the home?

Folded mountain ridges. Wears Valley – close enough to get into town if you want but far enough away that you get the mountain experience. The lot is also large with a lot of roadside footage so any development on either side will not feel like you are being infringed upon. Lastly, always and forever, an unobstructed view. Nobody will ever be able to take my view away.

What is your own and/or your family’s favorite thing about your new home and why? 

The location – sure there are many details about the home that have our fingerprints all over it, but at the end of the day, we open that door to a 20 foot+ tall wall of windows that perfectly frame the mountains. It’s a feeling that will never get old for us.

Customization

What are the most outstanding design or visual features of your home? 

We would say the kitchen, specifically the double waterfall edge of the island and incorporating the loft post so that the whole island felt natural. Getting the island counter to work with the loft support was a challenge and took a lot of communication. The finished product turned out great! The other design element we like was the stick rail that we used for the stairs and the entire loft rail. We like that extra detail when looking back up into the loft or when hanging out in that space and looking out the windows. They also cast pretty cool shadows in the late afternoon!

Satisfaction

Would you do this again? If so, would you choose Johnny as your sales rep and would you choose Honest Abe as a manufacturer? 

Yes to all!

How was your construction experience? 

First time having a home built so there are always some things you learn and would think about differently. Overall Jason and his team with Foremost Construction are outstanding, and he would be my choice for a future build. Not even a question.

Any advice for others hoping to build a log home? Lessons learned?

Be thoughtful and thorough. Consider your outlets and your switches. Be mindful of your HVAC and returns.

Have you found the house to be energy efficient?

It’s too soon to know how energy efficient, but from what I can tell it holds temp well both heat and cool!

Interview by Claudia Johnson

Photos by Mandy Zierenberg Photography

Details to look for in the photos: chimney of manufactured stone with gas inset convertible to wood-burning; wood flooring is of hickory; staircase handrail is of laurel branches; basement flooring is LBT; kitchen cabinets & bathroom cabinets are hickory; custom-made table, chairs and benches; granite waterfall countertops in kitchen & bath; main bathroom shower wall is Bianco polished porcelain, and floor tile is charcoal mosaic porcelain; chandelier over dining table is a one-of-a-kind from Etsy; hog wire used instead of spindles on deck railings for safety and unimpeded view of mountains.

 

 

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