Creative Carpentry

Jimmy and Tabatha Clay realized their dream of having the log cabin they wanted by working with Honest Abe Log Homes’ design team and sales representative to create a plan from their original ideas.

Like many homeowners, they wanted to finish the home themselves, and that they did. The applied all the stains, blew in their own insulation, completed the interiors and handled all the finishing touches inside and out after Honest Abe’s dry-in team had erected the log cabin’s structure.

The one-story, 1,109-square-foot Clay Cabin is built of 6’x12’ square, dovetailed, chinked logs and sits on 18.5 acres that’s been in Tabatha’s family for more than 150 years.

A man with skills

Ask Tabatha and she will tell you that it is her husband’s creativity and carpentry skills that made the difference in the outcome of their dream cabin.

“I think he does excellent work,” said of her husband of more than 30 years. “I do believe I’ll keep him.”

The two great room photos above illustrate why Tabatha wants to be sure she keeps Jimmy around for a few more decades.

Jimmy made the fireplace using an old log from a lifelong friend’s barn for the mantle.

“He also built a ‘mini loft’ to display our most beloved pieces,” she said, referring to the area to the left of the fireplace where several heirlooms can be easily viewed from the great room but are safely out of the way.

Even in an 1,109-square-foot cabin, the Clays found nooks to display personal treasures, like the recessed shelf they built above the HVAC return.


Right: Downsizing from a traditional home the Clays were most concerned about displaying photos and knicknacks in their log cabin. Jimmy built a shelf along the wall above the window in the great room that holds their keepsakes.


Left: The Clays love their woods, and the wall in their bedroom is paneled with horizontal planks milled from the native trees in their Southern Middle Tennessee region.

Laundry and Half Bath

So that the utility room could serve multiple purposes in the compact cabin, the Clays included a commode and built a cabinet from a repurposed pallet around an oval galvanized tub fashioned into a sink. Jimmy surprised Tabatha by creating a mirror using objects from her grandparents’ barn.

I have pretty much done some wood working since I was just a boy helping my dad remolding houses we lived in to help with rent. Then when he finally bought one, we remolded the house from top to bottom. Also, I use the internet to see how someone else does things.

Jimmy Clay


Master Bath

Jimmy built the cedar master bathroom cabinet and crafted a countertop from a thick cedar slab, pouring layers upon layers of epoxy to seal the wood. The stand-alone sink and the antique pump faucet accent it beautifully along with the light fixture above it that he also made from new metal pipes and other items purchased at a hardware store but treated to make them appear old.


It’s pretty hard to make a propane tank look interesting, but Jimmy managed that by encasing it in a custom designed “wagon” remiscient of ones in their favorite sho, “Lonesome Dove,” which inspired much of their decor and the name of their farm, Lonesome  Ridge.

Garden Shed

“Nadine was my grandmother,” Tabatha said. Her parents and grandparents owned the land that our home is on. When we first married we wanted a garden and she taught us and showed us all we know today about gardening and putting up vegetables for the winter.”

Jimmy built a potting shed and produce processing station in honor of Nadine.

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