From Texas to Tennessee

Of course Tammy and Sam Taylor decided to build a log house. After all, they were moving from the Texas panhandle to Tennessee, and Tammy thought it was just an obvious choice.

She’d grown up in rural Tennessee, and after decades away, she was feeling the pioneer spirit.

Tammy and Sam are still newlyweds, having married only six years ago. Both had lost their spouses, but when they found each other their spirits were renewed. Tammy sold the pest control business she operated with her late husband in Amarillo, Texas, and Sam retired from the defense industry.

Like Tennessee’s pioneers, the Taylors fashioned their home from dovetailed, square logs with wide chinking.

“I wanted it to look like it had weathered over a long time, and it does,” Tammy said, explaining that Perma-Chink’s Smoke Gray stain produced the aged look on the brand new white pine logs manufactured by Honest Abe Log Homes.

Sam said their only regret is that they did not choose to have Honest Abe hand hew each log to give it the authentic feel of a cabin built by early Tennesseans.

This “cabin” would have been inconceivable to visitors from the region’s past, however. The two-story, 5,189- square-foot house sits on 23 acres of a farm where Tammy roamed as a girl. The house has three bedrooms, two full and two half baths, a family kitchen and a commercial kitchen for Tammy’s Pepper Works business, a game room and home theater in the finished basement and a closet room that would most definitely spark joy in Marie Kondo.

On the grounds are a two-acre stocked pond, three bay garage, 4,500 SF metal shop and a 3,000 SF woodworking shop that Sam uses for his Taylormade Woodworks business.

The Taylors designed their own plan, which was drafted for manufacture by Honest Abe’s design team. They worked closely with Honest Abe Sales Representative Dan Smith to ensure that every step of the process went smoothly, from design through construction through move-in.

In addition to a functional floor plan in which every inch of space is wisely used, the home is visually stimulating without being overwhelming, thanks to Tammy’s artistic eye.

It’s a home where antique furniture doubles as bathroom cabinetry, vintage fixtures co-exist with sleek new finds and Sam’s wood crafting mastery after only four years of engagement is evident throughout.

There is much attention to detail. A handmade quilted piece by Tammy’s daughter here. A collection of antique fishing lures there. Oil paintings by Sam’s mother everywhere.

The L-plan creates a covered porch on the front, while the cabin’s rear has a covered upper deck with a hot tub and swing and an open lower deck with a grilling and eating area.

Entering through a foyer there is a half bath on the left and a staircase leading to two bedrooms, a full bath and the open loft on the second floor. The loft, wide enough for a sitting room, office and library, overlooks an open great room below and provides a close up view of the heavy timber roof system.

The main floor’s great room has a roomy open kitchen conceived of by Tammy with cabinets designed and made by Sam to Tammy’s specs. In fact, Sam crafted furnishings and cabinetry to appease Tammy’s organizational leanings throughout the house

The home is ideal for being together, developing their respective businesses, enjoying their hobbies – including fishing for him, sewing for her – and entertaining their combined families, especially the passel of grandchildren who see their grandparents’ home not as a cabin in the woods but an escape where childhood memories are made.

Second Floor Guest Quarters & Office

There are two bedrooms upstairs that share a bath. The office is situated on the loft with ample room for working on projects like the dollhouse Tammy is building and displaying treasures like a vintage fishing tackle collection.

Commercial Kitchen & Pantry

Sam built a small passthrough door from the garage into the adjacent commercial kitchen so that Tammy would not have to walk up steps with groceries.


Every shelf in the huge pantry is so organized that a screen door, not a solid door, was used.

Mudroom & Entertainment Center

In a wide enclosed breezeway connecting the main house to the three-bay garage, Sam built a coat and shoe cabinet in the mudroom with a botton detatched bench that can be pulled out for cleaning deeper cleaning. Hank, an Australian Shepherd named for the “Hank the Cowdog” book series, has his own custom furnished spot for eating and sleeping.

The commercial kitchen Tammy uses for her jelly and jam business as well as the pantry and appliances are also located in this section. Beneath it is the basement gameroom and theater pictured below.

A barn door on wrought iron sliders separates the breezeway from the main house.

The commercial kitchen Tammy uses for her jelly and jam business as well as the pantry and appliances are also located in this section. Beneath it is the basement gameroom and theater pictured below.

Story and photography by Claudia Johnson, Director of Marketing, Honest Abe Log Homes

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