Why wait to have the log home of your dreams? That’s a question Connie and Alex Diamond asked themselves as their family began to grow, and the answer was very clear – Go for it now!

“We really wanted our log home to be a retreat for us,” says Connie. “We are a close-knit family and value doing things together. We also place a lot of value on the simple things in life.”

The couple poured over floor plans from a variety of sources, including Honest Abe Log Homes, all of which inspired Alex to design a custom home manufactured by Honest Abe that encapsulated their desires for the home where they are raising their children and plan to grow old together.

“We both love being in nature and felt a log cabin would capture our dream of a home that is rustic, warm, unique and would incorporate elements of the outdoors,” says Alex, who is a pediatric sports medicine physician at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and a team physician for Vanderbilt University, the Nashville Predators and Nashville Sounds.

While exterior walls are D-Log, the 3,165-square-foot home’s interior employs both log and timber frame design elements. There are multiple heavy-timber beams in the great room. A large breakfast nook is nestled into a half-hexagon timber frame alcove. All the bookshelves and trim work were custom made as were the live-edge mantels that were hand-hewn by an Amish craftsman from a fallen tree from the Diamonds’ first home together.

“I didn’t want a typical log home style,” says Connie, who designed the home’s interiors. “I wanted a hybrid design of rustic log home and farmhouse with unique flairs that combined many styles.”

The couple wanted the house to feel comfortable, open and peaceful.

“I love color combos of blues and greys with pops of yellows and greens,” Connie says of her design choices. “I wanted our home to be an extension of the outside with different colored woods and colors and feel of nature. I love the combo of natural stone and wood. This is a place where our family will be making memories, so it needed to be personal and approachable.”

Connie, who has a master’s degree in counseling, is taking a break from her career to raise the couple’s children, Evie, 8, and Evin, 5.

“My mama stayed home with me and my sister, and even though I didn’t appreciate it until I was older, it meant so much to me,” Connie observed. “I wanted to be present and available to my children. Even though my husband puts family first always, he still has a very demanding job away from home, so we knew before we decided to have kids that it was imperative I would be a stay-at-home-mom. It’s been the hardest and greatest joy of my life.”

Alex says that the decision not to wait until retirement to build was an easy one.

“We wanted the kids to grow up in our forever home and have those memories that they can share with their kids one day,” he says. “We chose as a family to live in a slower and simpler environment close to nature.” 

The Diamonds designed their exterior spaces for immersion in nature. The 956-square-foot wrap-around porch terminates into a screened-in outdoor living space complete with a real stone fireplace, a television and room for sitting or casual dining. The adjacent patio is crafted from huge rocks harvested from the land, which is a mixture of forest and pasture and a creek, secluded but close to the historic town of Lebanon, Tennessee.

“We prayed for a piece of land that connected us to nature,” Connie says. “We desired a refuge for our family, our friends and anyone who came to visit. That’s why we named our spot ‘Haven on the Hill.’ We love our sunrises, sunsets and the 360-degree view of the surrounding hills during the day and the city lights off in the distance at night…breathtaking views from our great room windows.”

The family has created raised gardens on the expansive lawn where the children are learning to grow herbs and vegetables. The Diamonds are currently working with their Honest Abe sales representative, Dan Smith, who navigated the couple through their original project, to design and build a log garage with a second floor bonus room connected to the house by a breezeway.

“We feel like God has blessed us with a special place to make lifelong memories where we can relax, play, pray and grow together,” says Alex. “We have found our forever spot. It was an amazing adventure, and we have enjoyed it every step of the way.” 

This story by Claudia Johnson appeared in Log and Timber Home Living in 2021

Photography by Brandon Malone


Photo Notes

Exterior Facade

Connie and Alex Diamond’s new 3,183-square-foot log home, Haven on the Hill, was manufactured by Honest Abe Log Homes from original plans conceived of by the young couple, who wanted a place to raise their small children and enjoy nature as a family.

The Diamonds combined log and timber frame construction with drywall interiors.

“We wanted the true log natural feel on the exterior but wanted to have the ability to decorate freely on the inside with the flat log,” explained Alex.

The 8”x8” Eastern white pine butt-and-pass logs stained in Perma-Chink Walnut are topped by a heavy timber roof with GAF Hunter Green dimensional shingles.

Aerial Shots

Haven on the Hill is situated atop 15 acres of farmland in historic Wilson County, one of Middle Tennessee’s earliest settled areas. In fact, there’s a 19th century cemetery not far from the Diamond family’s raised vegetable and herb garden.


The dry stacked natural stone chimney was specially ordered so that only earth-toned stones were supplied. The same rock is used to cover selected exposed areas of the foundation, as exterior walls for the timber frame breakfast nook and on fireplaces in both the great room and outdoor screened living room.


The Diamond home’s main entrance is covered by a heavy timber porch that extends around the front corner and terminates at the façade’s west-facing floor-to-ceiling great room windows.

On either side of double doors leading into the foyer are planters made by a local craftsman from Jack Daniels Distillery whiskey barrels. An iron silhouette sign welcomes visitors to “Haven on the Hill, est. 2018.”

A wooden hanging swing on the northeast corner of the porch provides a cool outside escape from Tennessee’s relentless summer heat.

The Diamonds installed an extra wide door from the front porch into the great room for ease of moving furniture as well as preparation for remaining in the home as they age. These days, they watch the drama of the sun setting over the rolling hills from traditional porch rockers while the children play on the wide porch or on the front lawn.

Coat Room and Laundry

Instead of a typical mudroom the Diamonds designed a laundry room and a separate coat room as a first stop from the back yard or the main entrance.

Behind the sliding barn doors of the laundry room are a washer and dryer topped by a wooden work surface and hanging rod above, a wall storage cabinet and a corner sink and additional sorting space. The tile floor makes for easy cleanup.

Through the tall open doorway of the coat closet winter and rain outerwear hang neatly on a row of pegs. Baskets on a high shelf organize gloves and hats. Boots and shoes stand in rows beneath a handcrafted bench.

Entrance Hall

“Trees are special to us,” says Connie. “We were married under a tree.” The entrance hall table has a wood and metal tree as a base, and a wooden tree with the Bible verse “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” hangs above a collection of photos of the Diamonds and their children among the trees.

Guest Room

With Alex being from Pennsylvania and Connie hailing from Florida, guests are anticipated and welcomed. Connie chose Valspar Filtered Shade paint to create a relaxing guest room atmosphere while adding excitement with Valspar Classic Teal for an accent wall.

Weathered gray and teal guest room furnishings are repurposed vintage finds. A wooden guitar art piece pays homage to Nashville, where Connie and Alex met and lived during the first years of their marriage.

Connie contrasted vintage distressed pieces with a luxurious guest bed. The tuft-and-button upholstered headboard and a pair of mounted, extendable reading lamps create a relaxing experience.

Guest Bathroom

A local craftsman converted a Jack Daniels barrel into a guest bathroom lavatory with copper rings and leather hinges, in which a copper sink was installed. Connie juxtaposed the dark wood barrel with lighter metal accents and pendant lights. Paints and fixtures in whites and grays, including the subway tile-lined shower/tub combination, are highlighted by the tongue-and-groove ceiling.

Boy’s Room

Five-year-old Evin says the best thing about the house is “having my own room to play cars and look out at nature from the big windows.” His love of cars is seen in the roadmap rug on the natural pine floors, the car bed frame, tractor and automobile wall art and a display of his favorite cars.

The 1940s-era chest and bedside table with a nautical motif are part of a set that Alex and his own father used in their rooms as boys.  

Girl’s Room

Together, Evie Diamond, 8, and her mom chose a feminine pink and gray decor for her room, but Evie is proud of having decided how her space is arranged. The glass teardrop chandelier adds a regal elegance for a girl who loves dolls.

She says she loves that she has extra space with a window seat built into the dormer where she can read from the books shelved on either side. “My favorite thing about our house is how pretty it is,” Evie says.

In addition to their personal rooms, the children share a downstairs playroom complete with toy storage, a craft area and their own library.

Master Bedroom

Family bedrooms are upstairs, with Connie and Alex’s master suite at one end of the wide catwalk open to the great room and children’s rooms and bathroom at the other. The couple’s bedroom is rich with texture and color. The two exterior walls are log, lightly stained, both with oversized two-pane windows. The window facing west has a built-in window seat underneath and a handmade bookcase alongside. On the south wall is a natural stone gas fireplace. One interior wall is brick, while another is painted in a startling Deep Twilight Blue by Valspar. The floors are Eastern white pine.

Master Bathroom

Connie and Alex’s master bathroom boasts a jet tub, walk-in shower and double sink vanity. The tub and shower’s glossy Mirage Crystile subway tiles are in Morning Mist hues. The 8”X8” floor tiles by ISG in the Loft Toledo pattern compliment the shower floor’s Soho denim vanilla circle tiles.

Outdoor Living Room

The Diamonds’ love for nature inspired the design of their timber frame, screened outdoor living room, which has a wood-burning fireplace and ample room for seating and serving. Mounted on the west wall is a rustic bar, while the east wall’s oversized door opens onto a patio with a picnic table, grills and string lights.


Just outside the screened outdoor living room is a patio fashioned of rocks harvested from the Diamond farm. Natural stone covers the extended timber frame breakfast nook, while the remainder of the house is of butt-and-pass, 8”x8” Eastern white pine log construction.

Breakfast Nook

The timber frame breakfast nook is framed by a brick-fringed entrance. The half-hexagonal room has a built-in window chest for storage, painted drywall and a tongue-and-groove pine ceiling with exposed Douglas Fir beams stained walnut. Wide, east facing windows on each wall are installed at a height that takes advantage of morning light while offering privacy.


The kitchen is the center of activity for the Diamonds, so Connie wanted to use space wisely. Instead of cabinet-covered walls, a pantry stores food and small appliances, and a window overlooks the fenced back yard. Cabinets of soft maple glazed in dull white encompass the refrigerator, microwave, oven and an organizational cubby. On either side of the hammered copper farmhouse sink are mounted shelves holding often-used dishes just above the aged brick backsplash.

Installed in the “L” of the L-shaped island is a gas range. The Diamonds often eat on the white quartz countertop, which is wide enough for food prep and serving. Star-shaped pendants light the island, which is painted Silver Mist with walnut stained endcaps that mimic barn doors.

A coffee bar is set up on a small distressed chest outside the breakfast nook, while floating shelves for cookbooks use bonus space at the end of a cabinet.

Great Room

The focal point of the Diamond’s great room is the floor-to-ceiling west wall where sunset is living art in every season. Throughout the 1,935-square-foot main floor Nature Reserve’s Buckskin European white oak with a weathered aluminum oxide finish complements the light gray interior walls and the pine log exterior walls and pine ceiling planks stained dark natural. 

The staircase risers are stained with Perma-Chink’s Dark Natural, while the treads, newels and handrails are Perma-Chink’s Ultra-2 Walnut. Spindles are wrought iron.

Natural stone, chosen for its earthy tones, forms the fireplace with a gas insert. The live-edge mantlepiece inscribed with “Haven on the Hill” was crafted from a fallen tree from the Diamond’s first home in Nashville.

“Connie loves books and once we saw the fireplace built in, we wanted to fill the space that would have been wasted and feature some of her favorites along with family photos,” Alex says of the twin bookcases flanking the fireplace.

The great room’s visually stimulating vaulted ceiling is of heavy timber construction with Douglas fir beams stained with Perma-Chink’s Ultra-2 Walnut.


Square footage

1935 1st

1230 2nd

956 porches

Manufacturer: Honest Abe Log Homes

Dry-in: Honest Abe Log Homes

General: Contractor: James Wallace

Original Design: Dr. Alex Diamond, Connie Diamond

Blueprint Drafting: Honest Abe Log Homes

Request Free Info From Honest Abe