A Couple’s Love Encompasses All
The Godsey home is located near the community of Crab Orchard in Cumberland County, Tennessee. High school sweethearts, Dana, a home health physical therapist’s assistant with Amedisys, and Rick, who works at Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, will have been married more than 30 years. They have one son, Jackson. Also sharing their home is Dana’s sister, Teri, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 59.
Rick photographed the cabin for this article, and Dana unfolded the inspiring – and serendipitous – story in the narrative below.
Dana’s Log Home Story
When we were first married we both dreamed of having a log home, but it was just a young couple dreaming. We purchased Rick’s grandfather’s home, and there we stayed for 26 years. We finally decided it was time to move on.
We knew we would like to build a home, but the whole dream of a log home seemed like a million years ago. We began looking for land.
The Right Location
Since I work in home health, I cover a lot of territory. I had a couple of patients in Hebbertsburg. Hebbertsburg is a very rural community on the eastern side of Cumberland County. It is considered to be far out in the country by most. It is actually only about 10 minutes outside of Fairfield Glade and about 20 minutes from town. As I drove out here twice each week, I would always be thinking how much I liked it. It is bordered by Catoosa Wildlife Management, has many creeks and branches and also a community center with music, dancing and food every Saturday night in the summer. I decided one night to search for any land available.
Berkshire Hathaway popped up right away with a post for 16 acres with a creek bordering the whole tract. Wow! Sounded perfect! The following day Rick researched the property and called me. He said the property was owned by an Ava Lancaster in Nashville. Rick would not have known that my cousin’s full name was Ava Dean Lancaster, because he only knew her as Deannie. I flipped! I knew her father had left her some land out here but certainly didn’t know she was selling. I called her immediately, and the property was closed in a couple of weeks. Deannie was and still is thrilled!! Our branch is Crab Apple Branch, which flows into Daddy’s Creek. This was May of 2016.
So, we have this beautiful property in the woods in the country. There was no doubt in our minds the only choice was a cabin. The dream we had when we were young was going to become a reality. We worked for a couple of years in our spare time clearing for a very long driveway, 1,200′. Some local men did some logging, and we cleaned up.
The Right Plan
We were so fortunate to have a local Honest Abe Log Homes Model and Sales Center nearby in Crossville. I must have driven our sales representative, Wayne Brady, crazy. Knowing we wanted a cabin was easy, choosing the plan was not. But Wayne was so patient and kind, always assuring me that I was being totally normal.
I am a lover of anything old, anything primitive, anything antique. We wanted simplicity. A single floor for living space. Lots of porches. A simple roof. The chosen spot for the house was perfect for a basement. We actually did have a plan chosen with living space on two floors however this was before Sis needed us and two floors just wouldn’t be good so it was back to square one.
I had searched till I was about to lose hope and then Wayne showed me the Stanton. I immediately loved the open floor plan, the layout of the bedrooms and laundry room and the basement. Perfect.
The basement was opted instead of a garage at this time, giving Jackson lots of space for his own, lots of storage and a crafting area. We added the porch on around, added a fireplace, a handicap shower and doors and turned the walk out to the side.
The Right Details
As I said, I love anything old. I wanted our cabin to have the look and feel of days gone by. There was never any question that it had to have square logs with wide chinking, a dark exterior stain and a light natural interior. I had also kept a pic from a Log Home Living issue of a cottage with a dark exterior stain.
However, it had whole peeled logs for the posts, which were stained natural. This change was also made. The whole logs for the posts. We love so much how they turned out. They have been such a super hit with every single person who sees them.
The chinking has also been a big hit. However, it was also the biggest challenge by far. We found ourselves in quite the pickle when we discovered that our kit came with the chinking but did not cover the labor. To make a very long and very stressful story short, Rick and I became “chinkers.”
We learned how to chink, and chinking became our lives from March to September of 2019. Every spare second of our lives was spent chinking. Family helped every night and weekend with my sister. Everyone pitched in at some point or another.
Rick is super good at it now. I say it was absolutely worth it! (Maybe don’t ask Rick that question, lol )
Rick did his research and chose the fireplace insert as opposed to gas logs or a regular fireplace. We have made two fires so far, and it is also working beautifully.
I love old metal outdoor lawn furniture and enamelware. Thus, one side of the porch displays my collection so far.
We had whole logs for the posts. We love so much how they turned out.
The Right Finishing Touches
My Mom and I used to do craft shows throughout the South until she passed away 5 years ago. I continued on my own for awhile on the side until my sister, Teri, couldn’t be alone any longer. The stitching on the table is a sample of the type of craft I used to sell.
The three paintings of flowers on the wall of my sister’s room were painted by our mom, Ann.
The stained glass angel is in Teri’s window was a gift from a home health patient of mine.
We did lots of other things too. My cabinets and vanities were made at a local cabinet shop, Palmers Cabinets. Palmers made them, brought them out to us. We painted them, and then Palmers came back for the install.
We also made the island top and vanity tops, which we finished with the coolest product called Waterlox. The dark mantle, dark island top and vanity tops were chosen to be dark to incorporate the dark exterior stain a bit inside and also blends well with the floors.
I struggled a lot with how to light up the open area. I couldn’t find anything I liked very much, hence the bucket lights came to be. I had seen them in a restaurant a while back and had kept them in mind but really didn’t think we had the time. Needless to say, we made time. We aged galvanized buckets, and I found the mason jars on eBay.
You can’t chink in high humidity so during those times, we painted cabinets and made lights.
I have a horrible weakness for old crocks, firkins, baskets, shaker boxes and plan to slowly fill the place up! My first love is cross stitching, and my house will always be full of it.
I had really wanted a walk in shower in the master bath but the space just wouldn’t quite allow it, so I decided on the claw foot tub with the shower ring and I LOVE it. I got it from Vintage Tub and Tile, it was very reasonable and is working great.
The Right Happy Ending
We made it! We have been in for about two months now, and during these two months, the chinking has been completed entirely, and clear coated, the staining of the porch posts, rails, spindles and floor is now done. We actually have a bit of grass! Still yet, the list of things to do never seems to get shorter.
Interview and story design by Claudia Johnson, Honest Abe Log Homes
Photos provided by the homeowners