Retired Veterinarian Builds Log Cabin Filled with Memories
Interview by Claudia Johnson, Honest Abe Log Homes
Answers and Photos submitted by Dr. Locke
Dr. Bryan “Doug” Locke retired from his busy veterinary practice in Corinth, Mississippi, to relocate to the Summit, Arkansas, area where he now lives with his two standard poodles in his new Honest Abe Log Home.
A widower since 2001, he raised his daughter alone. When she married, he realized that his attachment to the area where he had made his home for several decades along the Mississippi-Tennessee border did not hold the same attachment it had in the past.
“I sold my practice, farm and large house and ‘pulled the trigger,’” he said, adding. “I’ve no regrets.”
Dr. Locke shared the story of his transition in an interview with Honest Abe Living.
What are some of the reasons you wanted a log home?
Dr. Locke: There are several…(a) I prefer the rustic look; (b) I like the stability of the large timbers that make the home; and c) the reputation of the company and contractor near where I wanted to live.
How did you decide on moving to the community in Arkansas that’s more than 300 miles from where you raised your daughter?
Dr. Locke: From December 2017 to July 2018, I searched property in the vicinity of Mountain Home, Arkansas, with set parameters… (a) near a paved road; (b) the proximity of electricity; (c) property that would percolate; (d) within a half hour’s drive to a large medical facility; (e) a half hour’s drive or less to the Buffalo River National Reserve and the White River; and (f) most importantly, a view that satisfied me.
I literally looked at almost 100 properties and serendipitously ran across the property I settled on by just driving across the area. The owner had put his for sale sign out that very morning. It fit my parameters, and I have a view on Lee’s Mountain and can see almost 40 miles from it. Lee Mountain is where the granite for Bull Shoal’s Dam was quarried. It actually is near Summit, Arkansas, but the mail comes from the Yellville post office.
You used Farrel and Vicki Raney of Everton, Arkansas, of Verona Log Homes as your Honest Abe Independent Dealer and General Contractors. How did you find them?
Dr. Locke: I found them by searching online for the contractors in the area for which I wanted to live that built log homes. They were professional and helpful when I first had contact with them in 2016. I had several options for log home builders but made inquiries about what log home providers and contractors had the best reputations for honesty and integrity. The location of the builder’s residence and proximity to my proposed new residence was also a factor.
Farrel Raney was honest and reliable. The weather was horrible during the build with which he had to deal with often, and as most know prices escalated catastrophically from 2019. Not to mention the Wuhan virus experience.
Are you pleased about your choice of Honest Abe Log Homes as your manufacturer?
Dr. Locke: I visited the Log Home Builder’s Show in Nashville in January of 2018 and met several of the company’s representatives. After studying the options Honest Abe had the best overall offerings in my opinion. I attended the Honest Abe Log Raising in August 2018, and the people there were genuine and truly invested in making a good product. In the interim I also visited competitor’s offerings and homes that were being built and spoke with the owners that had chosen other companies and the problems they had incurred. Options, employees, service and finished products by the company finalized my selection of Honest Abe. The fact the owner is married to a veterinarian (Dr. Nick Patterson) was helpful.
Dr. Locke’s Advice for others: I believe the preparatory research and selection process was the most difficult, which Honest Abe came out on top. Personnel, product and the contractor’s support even after the build. Do the homework. Go to the Log Home Building shows. Visit where the logs are processed. Visit homes that have been built from other companies and those built by Honest Abe. Talk to the owners of log homes that have been built.
Tell us about your plan and how it was developed.
Dr. Locke: I wished for a simple plan. I was downsizing from about a 4,000 SF foot home with four bedrooms, three baths, large living room and large dining room. The Creekside was chosen, and Honest Abe drafting personnel helped me extend the living room for the Creekside, eliminate the upstairs extra bedroom and enlarge the master bedroom and bathroom. We made two adjustments with the design after the initial draft. Downstairs was left unfinished for me to finish after I moved in. I wanted the largest logs for safety, appearance and insulation. A safe room for bad weather was considered, and the basement bedroom addressed that issue.
Square Footage – 2,275 SF
Main Floor, 1,275 SF
Basement, 1,275 SF
Deck & Porch, 575 SF
Log Profile Type: Genesis Log 8” X 12”
Roof Type: Conventional
Move-In Date: May 31, 2020
Dr. Locke: The back porch picture above shows a part of a bench that was the only surviving piece from a square dance hall that was located between Ramer and Chewalla, Tennessee, from 1960 to 1972. The view from the South in the photo below shows the walk out “basement” and the angle of the terrain with me using rocks gathered from all over the place to discourage erosion. One thing that is plentiful are the rocks here. The bottom picture is the old oak and pine from the Locke barn and store that was located between Ramer and Chewalla, Tennessee. I didn’t plane the wood all the way so as to leave some of the character of it remaining. The 65-year-old oak also required several sets of planer blades as it was tough. I used a metal detector to find the old nails before planing.
Any outstanding features?
Dr. Locke: The appearance of the home in the location. The large bathroom with a walk-in shower, large tub and an armoire built by my grandfather over 100 years ago instead of cabinets. A large living room with dining and kitchen. A guest bedroom and bathroom in the walk-out basement with an appliance room for the washer, dryer, water treatment, well pump and water heater.
The garage is ample for “junk,” a motorcycle and a truck. The insulation is superb as my electric bill has been less than $75/month since moving in. The fireplace is more than sufficient when the temperature is below freezing. The back porch and view are remarkable.
What is most special about your new home?
Dr. Locke: Downsizing from a home as large as the one I sold in Corinth, Mississippi, I kept the nostalgic furniture from my Grandparents. While waiting for the log home to be finished I dismantled an old barn and store and salvaged wood that belonged to my Grandparents to use in the log home. I refinished two doors from the old store to be used in the downstairs portion of the log home. Several items of furniture have unique histories that were used in the home and locations envisioned long before the home was finished.
The quiet, the view, the comfortableness of the home. Even though the home appears quite rural, I have a gas station, grocery store, liquor store, post office, sheriff’s department, hardware store and many other amenities nearby (less than four miles) as well as Crooked Creek to fish in. My two Standard Poodles are happy.
Kitchen & Great room
Dr. Locke: The old Atwater Kent Radio still works and was purchased by my grandparents in Memphis in 1925.
The kitchen table is the one that was in the back of the Locke Store, where on Saturday nights my grandfather and Buford Pusser would sit and talk politics and everything under the sun. I was 15 years old and was told to just shut up and listen and learn something. This went on for several years, and therefore the special place for the old oak table.
The kitchen stove is a Heartland propane/electric. Much of the home was inspired to make sure that heat was provided by several methods so as to not be without it in a severe incident. Propane, wood, and electric heat are all three available.
Note: For those of you too young to remember McNairy County, Tennessee, Sheriff Buford Pusser made famous in the Walking Tall movies, learn more about the man who “walked softly and carried a big stick” here: Buford Pusser.
Main Floor Bedroom & Bathroom
Dr. Locke: I enlarged the bedroom, living room and bathroom on the main floor and eliminated the extra bedroom from the standard Honest Abe Creekside Plan.
The large bathroom with a walk-in shower, large tub and an armoire built by my grandfather over 100 years ago instead of cabinets.
combination Bedroom & Study with Adjacent Small Bathroom on the Walk-out Basement Level
Dr. Locke: In the lower level I used lumber that I repurposed from my Grandfather Lockes’s old oak and pine barn and store that were located in McNairy County, Tennessee, between Ramer and Chewalla.
Dr. Locke: The two doors, shown a the right, belonged to the old Locke Store between Ramer and Chewalla and through those doors Buford Pusser walked many a time. I salvaged them and restored them and used them in leading to a study/bedroom and the basement bathroom.
Main Floor Bedroom & Bathroom
Dr. Locke: This is the stairwell leading to the basement hallway. I had many prints in a much larger home where I downsized and the stairwell was a great place to put many of them. Because of the insulation from the logs and this area being underground all that is needed is a small propane heater in the hallway.