Why Wait for Retirement?

Let’s Do It Now!

by Katie Clay Bertrand

Living in Louisiana all his life, Jamey wanted to retire in a log home in the mountains where they have changes in seasons. I am originally from the mountains in Virginia but have lived in Texas for the past 30 years, so when Jamey and I got married in 2018, I was 100% on board with his retirement dream.

In 2020 we began looking for property to purchase for future retirement. We decided Tennessee was the perfect place. We started looking on the internet for equine properties, and Jamestown, Tennessee, popped up.

On our first visit to Jamestown, we fell in love with the small town and large equestrian community. We purchased our land during Covid at the time when everyone was working from home.

Jamey’s company told him he could continue working from home and live anywhere. I am a flight attendant, so I can live anywhere and commute to my home base in Houston. We decided why wait until we retire? Let’s do it now!

We talked to several log home companies. There seemed to be a lot of extra expenses, and the quality wasn’t as good.

With Honest Abe there were no shades of grey, no unexpected surprises. We decided to go with an honest Abe log home, and so our dream began!

Our home was completed in October 2021 and we immediately moved in.

We built the Highlander plan using 8 x 8 milled-D logs and a rafter roof system. The first floor has 891.44 SF and the second floor has 499.63 SF. The porch and deck cover 618 SF.

The dream of owning a log home.

We researched log home companies in Tennessee and found Honest Abe in Algood, where we met Greg and Melissa Watson. We visited with several log home companies and Honest Abe homes were the best fit for us.

Floor Plan

We chose the Highlander. We modified the floor plan with a focus on our future needs. Since it’s going to be our retirement home, we switched the original floor plan putting the master bedroom on the main floor. We also added a half bath on the main floor for guests.

On the second floor we put a guest room and an office/guest room and a full bath. I wanted a hallway leading from the upstairs bedrooms so you could look out at the beautiful view out the large windows in the living area.

On the exterior we extended the porch to run all the way across the front of the house. Melissa Watson was a huge help with the modified floor plan. She made great suggestions and really listened to my ideas. If she wasn’t available when I called, she promptly got back with me.


We wanted to retire in Tennessee and chose Jamestown because it’s a huge equestrian community with easy access to miles of horseback and hiking trails at Big South fork National Forest and East fork Stables.

We also love the laid-back town and friendly people. Our favorite thing about our new home is that it is cozy, perfect for the two of us and the occasional guest.

It’s the type of home that makes you want to curl up by the fireplace in winter watching the snowfall out the beautiful large windows and in summer, time grilling out on the deck with friends.


We wanted a modern rustic feel. We added a stone wall behind the staircase and stone wainscoting on the second-floor hallway.

We decided on a natural wood burning fireplace that ties all the stonework together. We did some drywall in a few sections, and I manually did some heavy skip trowel texturizing to keep the rustic feel throughout the cabin.

Our contractor customized built our staircase, and that really added character to the living area. In the kitchen we decided on a center island with a slide-in stove that gave us more counter space.

We went with a rugged concrete countertop and a tin backsplash that brightens up the room.


We would absolutely go with an Honest Abe log home if we had to do it all over again. We are very happy with the process and the way the cabin turned out.

Advice for others

Write down everything you want in your home from air vents to light switches and outlets. Wiring a log home is different from a conventional home, so you want to make sure you have everything correct before you start the process.

Our home is holding up great, and we are very surprised how energy efficient it has been.

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