The Langer Timber FrameAn Honest Abe timber frame in the Tennessee countryside
Visit a Timber Frame Where a Vision Becomes a Forever Home
Story by Claudia Johnson
Lynn and Chris Langer’s new timber frame home is a stunning example of how a vision becomes a forever home.
“I guess you’d call what we wanted a mountain-style, arts-and-crafts bungalow,” Lynn said, explaining that their idea had been to create the feel of the early 20th century Craftsman architecture frequently seen in Adirondack Mountain lodges.
Originally from New England, the Langers retired to the Tennessee Upper Cumberland after finding land they liked online. They’d owned a timber frame in Connecticut, so they approached the design of their new home with a clear vision.
“It had to have a great room with high ceilings, an open floor plan and a cozy kitchen and dining room,” Lynn said. “We found Honest Abe, and now we have exactly what we wanted.”
Lynn said that she and Chris were drawn to Honest Abe Log Homes, which has been designing and manufacturing log and timber frame homes since 1979, because of its reputation in the industry. The fact that Honest Abe’s design team can easily convert any plan to a timber frame coupled with the caliber of Honest Abe’s products convinced the Langers that the Tennessee-based company was a perfect fit for their project.
“We were very familiar with post-and-beam construction, and right away we realized this was quality work,” Lynn recalled from her first visit to Honest Abe’s headquarters in Moss, Tennessee. “The wood was planed to a smooth finish, and the Douglas fir timbers were nice and straight with a stylish chamfer.”
Working with the Cookeville Honest Abe Log Homes sales team, Greg and Melissa Watson and Ed White, the Langers launched their design process in the spring of 2015.
The Navajo plan from the company’s Legacy Collection was almost exactly what the Langers had in mind, but they wanted to customize it on both the interior and exterior. Award-winning designer Michael Hix of Honest Abe’s in-house design and drafting department transformed the basic plan to match their concept.
For instance, a first floor guest room shown on the Navajo plan was repurposed into a full-time office, but placement of a Murphy bed in the office quickly converts it to a room for hosting guests like the couple’s two grown sons, both city dwellers, who Lynn says love to “come for a rest in the country.”
With the house located on 43 acres of rural land fronting the Caney Fork River in White County, Tennessee, the Langers wanted a comfortable spot for experiencing the seasons outdoors. Working with Honest Abe’s design team, they created a 16’x18’ outdoor room under a large gable roof featuring a wood-burning fireplace of natural, hand-cut stone.
“With the outdoor fireplace there’s no mess or fuss,” Lynn said. “When we want a real fire, we just go outside.”
A gabled-roofed outdoor dining room connected by covered porches to the outdoor living room is designed with open walls to catch the summer breeze.
As for climate comfort inside the home’s 2,042 square feet, Lynn said that she and Chris are very impressed with their insulation package and the heavy timber roof system that resulted in surprisingly low heating bills.
“We always heated with wood in Connecticut, so we installed a Hearthstone stove in the kitchen area and our first-ever gas fireplace insert in the great room’s natural stone fireplace,” Lynn said, explaining that these supplement a propane fired HVAC system that keeps the home toasty warm during Tennessee’s cold months.
Lynn said the design for the entire house, which has 1,782 square feet on the main floor and a 240-square-foot loft, demonstrates “very wise use of space” and is expansion-ready. The Langers had a full walkout basement created using Superior Walls. When completed, there will be a common area, two spacious bedrooms, each with its own large window, a shared full bath and a shop.
“Our house is super comfortable for two people,” Lynn said, mentioning that because they plan to spend the rest of their lives there, they made design choices like creating a custom, wheelchair accessible master shower and placing all living and sleeping space on the main floor to ensure that they will remain comfortable.
Lynn said that she and Chris remained “happy through every step” of the process that they had chosen Honest Abe Log Homes as their designer and manufacturer and also to complete the dry-in phase of construction.
“We are convinced that if you want a log or timber frame home, you need to get it from an experienced and reputable manufacturer,” Lynn said. “The people at Honest Abe and the quality of their services and products made them a great choice for us.”
Honest Abe’s homes are shipped across the U.S., and customers are guided through the same process the Langers found comforting by a network of Independent Dealers and in-house sales consultants.
For more information about Honest Abe Log Homes visit honestabe.com or call 800-231-3695.
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Descriptions for Langer Timber Frame Photos
The 2,042 SF Langer Timber Frame was custom designed, manufactured and built by Honest Abe Log Homes in 2016. It is located in a clearing on 43 acres of wooded land along the Caney Fork River near Sparta, Tenn. The house features a heavy timber roof system, a 240 SF loft, an outdoor dining room and separate outdoor living room with a wood-burning fireplace and a full walkout basement.
Timber frame components of stained Douglas Fir, dark hickory floors, Engelmann spruce tongue-and-groove ceilings, pine trim and molding, a heavy wood front door, stained glass, reproduction fixtures, use of hand-cut natural stone both inside and out and the tile and cabinetry choices in the kitchen and bath evoke the Adirondack lodge, arts-and-crafts architectural style popular in the early 1900s desired by the homeowners. The look is further enhanced on the exterior by multiple green metal-covered gables positioned at various angles, heavy timber beams, handcrafted stonework and painted Hardie board that affords the look of wood siding without the maintenance.
Centered on the front of the Langer Timber Frame is a 16’x18’ gabled outdoor living room with a heavy timber roof. The wood-burning fireplace, accents surrounding the front door and the floor are of natural, hand-cut stone. A ceiling fan and accent lighting make the room usable day or night. Flanking the home on the right side is a gabled, covered outdoor dining room that connects to the covered front porch and an outdoor gabled living room.
Entering the main floor of the house through the full-length porch and outdoor room, there is a foyer leading to the open great room. To the left of the foyer is the study, which converts to a bedroom through use of a Murphy bed. To the foyer’s right is a full bath. An adjacent mudroom is accessible from the porch.
A tile shower with a wood ceiling in the master bathroom is wheelchair accessible and includes a safety bar and a showerhead and spray at various heights to ensure the Langers can remain in place despite any life changes.
The loft over the study creates the only second floor area of the home. The great room’s focal points are the hand-cut natural stone gas fireplace, Douglas fir timber frame components, heavy timber roof system, pine molding fashioned to mimic the Craftsman style and a 2x6” Engelmann spruce tongue-and-groove ceiling.
The kitchen and a breakfast nook lighted by a row of clad windows are heated by a wood-burning stove and are separated from the great room by columns. The kitchen island houses a farmer’s sink and carries forth the Craftsman style with a burnished copper faucet set, a tongue-and-groove pantry door and reproduction light fixtures.