Illinois Rubenacker Home Created from Grandfield Plan

Dennis and Marsha Rubenacker moved into their home near Daghlgren, Illinois, in March 2017. The home was created using the Honest Abe Grandfield plan and was modified to create the custom cabin the couple wanted. The 8″x”8′ D-log home has a heaver timber roof system and butt and pass corners. The 12-room cabin was sold and built by Honest Abe Independent Dealer Glenn Perrin

Marsha Rubenacker and daughter Stephanie Clark were interviewed by Honest Abe about the project’s details and their feelings about the experience.

HA: Tell us a little about yourself.

Marsha: Dennis and I will be married 50 years in August 2019, and we have three grown daughters, six grandkids and one great grandchild.  Through our marriage we have always farmed. We have raised hogs, farrowed to finish among many other animals. I was a hairdresser for years and quit to farm full time. Dennis also worked at a factory. When we married, we moved into our first and only home that was also Dennis’ grandparents’ home, where his father was born and raised. 

Stephanie: This is a very hard working couple that worked for years to build their dream log cabin in the heartland that was very tastefully done that would appear to all buyers and budgets! It is a country home that welcomes everyone to come on in and enjoy the people and the home!

HA: Why did you choose a log home over a conventional home?

Marsha: Dennis has always thought log homes were really something special. Our house was very old and when we decided we were going to remodel again or build, the decision was to build a log home.

HA: Tell us about your plan development and choices.

Marsha: We liked the look of the Grandfield home exterior and the basics of the floor plan. The wrap-around covered porches were very appealing, and the fireplaces were a must for Dennis. He also wanted a basement and a loft area.  In his eyes a log home was not complete without a loft. A walk-in pantry was a “must” for me along with a main floor laundry and mudroom. We needed two bedrooms on the main floor, and for the most part the Grandfield floor plan fit the bill. 

HA: Did you make any modifications to the Grandfield and what where they?

Marsha: In order to accommodate our “must haves” we tweaked the standard Grandfield floor plan. We attached the two car garage instead of the breezeway. By attaching the garage it allowed for main floor laundry/mudroom and a walk-in pantry. We removed the wall between the kitchen and living room to accommodate an open concept and keeping the stairs to the loft and basement very open. To keep the rooms open we opted for open stairs with no kick plates/riser to the loft to keep the rustic feel. The shower in the master bathroom was enormous, so we took some of the square footage from the shower, removed the bathtub and expanded the master closet. The change in the shower and removal of the bathtub would be unknown to most since it is still very large. Coming from an old home with little storage we wanted to make sure storage was plentiful and that is definitely something this house provides. 

HA: How many rooms are there, and what rooms are included?

Marsha: Master Bedroom, Master Bathroom with walk in closet, Kitchen, Mudroom, Pantry, Kitchen (open concept), Dining (open concept), Living Room with gas fireplace (open concept), Main Floor Full Bathroom, Main Floor Spare Bedroom, Loft Family Room, Loft Bedroom 1, Loft Bedroom 2, Loft Full Bathroom, Garage (2 car), Basement (walkout with open concept kitchen, dining and living room with a wood-burning fireplace, Full Bathroom, Workout Room and Storage Room.

HA: How did you settle upon the final design, your choice of log style and other technical specifics?

Marsha: Neither of us wanted the round log inside of the house, so we liked the “D” log. Dennis kept saying if it is a log home and on the inside it should all be logs or wood and no drywall. So nowhere in the house is drywall – not even in the basement or the garage.

HA: Is there anything special about the location of the home? If so, explain.

Marsha: When we started looking at land to build our original location is not where we ended up building the home. We ended up building across the field from Dennis’s childhood home. He can look out the north side of the house and see his childhood home every day.

HA: What is your favorite thing about your new home and why?

Marsha: We love the entire house. The porches are my favorite. Really everyone who comes brags on our porches. Dennis has a wood burning fireplace in the basement and spends lots of time in the winter watching the fire burn, him and his dog Spec. One of the best items of the house is all the storage. We have storage throughout upstairs in the dormers and roof slopes.  It makes playing hide and seek with the grandkids so much fun! Our house is warm and inviting.  People are frequently asking would it be possible to come and see it and to us that is wonderful.

HA: Why did you choose Honest Abe Log Homes?

Marsha: Truthfully it was a fluke. I had talked to a guy in St. Louis, Missouri, and was not impressed with what we were seeing and hearing.  So frustrated, I got on Honest Abe’s website and looked up the closest sales representative and found it was Glenn Perrin, and he was about 20 miles away. I called, and he came to us. We told him what we were looking for and explained “we” were going to build. Glenn let us know he would be pleased to help and guide us throughout the process. And that is how it worked. 

HA: How did you like working with Glenn?

Marsha: Glenn and his crew built the exterior of the house, and we picked out all materials interior and exterior. Among Glenn’s crew, other contractors and some sweat equity, we have a home even better than we could have expected. Anytime I had questions or was a little up tight, Glenn was there to help see me through the details. Glenn and his crew were very nice and helpful. I wanted a few things that were different and each time they would provide options.  

HA: How was your construction experience?

Marsha: Our construction period was a little stressful. We were farming so we were trying to juggle the house and planting and harvesting the crop throughout the season. We would go by the house site in the morning, noon and in the evenings. The weather was also a challenge. Instead of dry weather like normal for our Southern Illinois summers, it was very wet and it added to the stress. Glenn and the crew stayed positive and reassured us that all would work out and it did in the end. I can remember walking in and asking Glenn how things were going and were we going to fight and he would just laugh.  We never did!  This is the first house we ever built. We always remodeled.  The crew was very good about asking in advance on decisions that would impact the design or footprint of the house and it continued throughout the process.

Stephanie: Throughout the build my parents got to know the crew and on multiple occasions were frying fish for lunch on a Friday for the entire crew. When you work for my mom and dad they truly treat everyone like family. 

HA: Any final thoughts?

Marsha: We love our house! Our experience with Honest Abe was very good and if everyone is treated like we were, we can’t see why anyone would use another log home dealer.

Stephanie: Mom and dad did a wonderful job making their “cabin” their own.  Coming from an old farmhouse (over 200 years old) with original timber supports this is their dream house. It is classy and very well done. As a matter of fact they are “living” upstairs in one of the spare bedrooms instead of the master on the main level because they say, “if we are still young enough to climb the stairs we are staying upstairs so we can enjoy the view!” My parents are very active compared to most their age so who knows when they will move into the master bedroom. They truly bring the meaning of country living and not just in a log home. They are very humble and modest and taught us all very well.

Interview by Claudia Johnson, Honest Abe Log Homes, Director of Marketing, 931-310-6733

For the past two years the Rubenackers have  hired a very well-known Southern Illinois band to come and play each August for family and closest friends (100 to 150) in front of the garage at “the cabin.”

Square Footage

Main Floor       1876

Upstairs            1248

Basement         1876

Garage             624

Porches            1284

Deck                360

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