Overlooking Tennessee’s Center Hill Lake, the D-Log home of John and Cindy Fitzmartin designed and manufactured by Honest Abe Log Homes has 4,340 square feet of indoor living space, 3,172 square feet of porches and a 1,440-square-foot detached garage with a studio and half bath.
Story by Claudia Johnson
All roads may lead to home, but John and Cindy Fitzmartin’s path took a very circuitous route. The couple met when John was working in the aerospace industry in Southern California. Between their 1979 marriage and their final move in 2004, they relocated 11 times.
“One of these times we lived in Cookeville, Tennessee,” John said. “We loved the area and decided to purchase property and retire in Tennessee. We also bought land close by for Cindy’s horses and chickens as she loves animals.”
John said they decided on log construction for their forever home not only because they found the rustic style to be warm and inviting, but they liked the superior structural strength of log walls as opposed to a conventionally built house. When it was time to choose a manufacturer, they chose Honest Abe Log Homes.
“We visited completed homes that we liked,” Cindy said. “We liked the way Honest Abe’s homes were constructed, and they were willing to work with us on our design.”
The Fitzmartins selected Honest Abe’s Madison floor plan, and aided by Honest Abe Sales Representative Greg Watson, they customized it to fit their vision and their property overlooking Center Hill Lake.
“It was great working with Greg,” John said. “Since our original build in 2002, he has helped us with the garage addition and a 2014 remodel and expansion. No matter what I need or problem we’ve had, Greg has stepped up to take care of it to our satisfaction.”
The finished seven-room, D-log home had just under 2,000 square feet on the main floor and loft and a 1,392-square-foot basement with a 400-square-foot garage. The Fitzmartins later built a 1,440-square-foot detached garage with a studio and half bath.
“The first build, Cindy and I were living in Northern California and it was done by long distance,” John recalled. “Our son was taking pictures to show progress. During the 2014 remodel I was the General Contractor and coordinated all the activities, and we lived in the house as it was progressing.”
The 2014 project resulted in substantially more square footage and added luxury features the couple could enjoy after John retired the following year as well as when their three grown children visit. They said they learned that before building they should have taken “a look at what our lifestyle would be and accommodate that instead of building in the present.”
After the expansion the main floor and the basement each measure 2,080 square feet, while the upstairs loft remains 180 square feet.
“The living room was too small, and we wanted a dining room,” Cindy said. “We also wanted to have a fireplace on an outside wall and not in the center of the great room.”
Cindy said they’d found the master bedroom closet was too small, so in the new design it became a walk-in closet three times its original size. “The interior finished better than what we had imagined,” she said.
Currently the house has an open kitchen, dining and living room, a master bedroom suite, two guest bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a workout room, a sauna and a recreation room.
“The full-service bar has an undercounter cooler, wine cooler, ice maker and sink/dishwasher combination,” John said of the basement recreation area remodel.
“We installed theater seating with Bose surround sound and a 78” curved TV with another TV behind the bar. It’s a great place to watch college football and other sports. There’s an 18-foot shuffleboard table with a pinball machine for fun and games.”
Additionally, the Fitzmartins added porches and decks that offer 3,172 square feet of outdoor living space.
“The lower deck expansion was done with Trex decking for lower maintenance,” John said. “We added a gas firepit on a Tennessee flagstone inset. With outdoor furniture around the firepit facing the lake, it is a relaxing place to talk and visit with company.”
Lovers of the outdoors, in 2018 the couple bought nearby RiverWatch Golf Club & Resort, Tennessee’s first 18-hole championship golf course. They enjoy taking their fifth wheel on camping trips, and John loves riding his motorcycle through the Tennessee hills and mountains. However, their home has more than enough to keep them entertained. They added a combination golf green and bocce court with artificial grass turf. The landscaping includes raised garden beds, outdoor LED lighting, a coi pond, plants and walking paths.
“We also installed a 10’X15’ endless pool – a wave pool – with a deck and pergola,” Cindy said. “Adding trees to the roadside gives the feeling of privacy and creates a nice place to exercise and have morning coffee.”
It seems that after journeying 40 years together, the Fitzmartins are finally home. Additional details about the Fitzmartin home… Must-haves for the master bathroom were a walk-in shower, a claw foot tub and a heated floor. Stained glass windows provide privacy and beauty. The Fitzmartins’ master bedroom has exposed beams, painted interior walls, a stained glass window and a sitting area.
During a 2014 expansion project, they converted a small closet into a walk-in closet and dressing room three times the size of the original. Four huge sliding glass doors open from the basement recreation room onto a massive deck featuring a gas firepit on a Tennessee flagstone inset, creating an easy flow between indoor and outdoor living with a stunning view of Center Hill Lake.
Shielded by trees, the 10’X15’ wave pool with a deck and pergola offers a private space for exercise and solitude. Other landscaping features include a combination golf green and bocce court, raised garden beds, outdoor LED lighting, a coi pond, walking paths and a variety of plants.
The Fitzmartins’ 2014 expansion project included remodeling the main floor from their 2002 build. The great room now encompasses a living room with a fireplace, a dining room and a kitchen. The couple said that the large lake-facing windows and doors on both floors are their favorite features of their home.
The basement recreation area includes a full-service bar, theater seating with surround sound, a 78” curved TV, an18-foot shuffleboard table, a pinball machine, a workout room and a sauna.
Click on the photos below to see how the project turned out for the Fitzmartins.