David and Kerrin Everitt started building their dream home in 2002; a 2600 square foot Honest Abe Log Home, modified Western floor plan in the Genesis log, two stories, Heavy Timber roof system, wrap around porch (except for the kitchen bump out) and a full walk out basement under the main section. It took about eight months to complete at about $90-95 a square foot (where they did some of the labor themselves). Heres what they had to say about their Log Home Story...
Why did you choose a log home? David: I have always liked log homes. I have had the opportunity to be in quite a few and have always thought that this style suited me. Kerrin: I thought they were neat because they are part of Americas history. However, I did not think I wanted to live in one based on the mental picture I had of log homes. I had always thought of them as being very dark inside and more of a cabin thing than a home. I also dont like chinking and thought all log homes had to be chinked. Since David had got to the point of really wanting a log home, we went to look at some. That made up my mind that I could live in one. I saw that unstained interior walls (with a clear sealer) and a good amount of windows made the house plenty bright inside.
Why did you choose Honest Abe? D: Through past business dealings with Honest Abe and some of their dealers, I was very familiar with the product and company personnel from the President of the company on down. I was always impressed with how they had paid their bills to me and the effort they made to try to accommodate me as a supplier. K: Good product at a good price. They also had the log style that we preferred.
What considerations did you have for the layout? D: Master on the main floor, large open area and an open kitchen and dining area.
What would you have done differently with the floor plan now? K: We have lots of windows, which has cut down on the available space to put certain furniture. D: The one thing that I would change is the kitchen. On the original plan the bump out was stick built, in hind site, I would have changed that to a log wall.
What kind of floor, wall, and ceiling coverings did you choose? D: All of our floors are wood. The downstairs is 10 heart pine. The ceiling for the first floor (which is our flooring for our second floor) is the spruce that is included in the Honest Abe package. A few of the ceilings are sheet rock, they are covering plumbing. All of the interior partition walls are sheet rock. This allowed for a lot of color contrast to break up the wood tones. K: The first floor is heart pine. We chose not to put a "finished" floor covering on the upstairs floors, but left the 2"x6" exposed that serves as the ceiling for the first floor. We have the heavy timber roof system, so, for the most part, we have 2"x6" wood ceilings. The bathrooms and mudroom/laundry room have sheetrock ceilings to allow for pipes, etc. to be run more easily. The interior partition walls are all sheetrock because I don't like wood everywhere.
Where is your favorite spot in your log home? D: In the winter it is in my rocking chair in front of the fireplace. When the weather is warm, we enjoy our porch a lot. K: Im no chef and I cook because we have to eat, but I really have enjoyed our kitchen. It turned out to be much larger than I thought, and we have plenty of cabinet space. Weve got an island with a downdraft stove/oven in it. That freed up areas along the wall to allow for more cabinet space. I also really like our porch. Where we live is very quiet. Its nice to sit back in a rocking chair and listen to the birds and watch the deer.
Fun construction stories? K: My dad helped with the entire construction process, from excavating the basement to helping me paint the interior partition walls. He does not like heights, but got up on the third set high of scaffolding to help seal the ceiling in our great room. He made lots of sacrifices to help us out in this project. My entire family got involved in putting in the kitchen countertops. David and my brother-in-law went to get the soapstone and handle the prep work. My older brother cut pieces of soapstone and ended up with a gray talc material all over him. My brother-in-law, Mom, and I sanded the pieces. My sister grouted while our ten-year-old niece put the puzzle pieces of the countertop together. Dad made sure things were level. My brother cut out space for the kitchen sink. With all of the help, the entire project took a little more than a long weekend. David, my two brothers, and a friend from church all worked to put down the pine floors. Our preacher painted our front and back doors for us, and also did some of the interior painting. A friend from church helped us make some stair rails. D: None. Construction wasn't fun. I guess the only ok story is doing our soap stone countertops. This was very much a family project. My brother-in-law, Dan, and I went to pick up the soap stone and supplies to do the installation. Our ten-year-old niece placed the pieces. Kerrins father and brother cut any pieces that needed to be customized. I did the mortar and actual installation, My brother in law Dan assisted in several ways, from prep, to carrying stones to sanding stones. Kerrin's dad was the perfectionist on hand to make sure the counter top was perfectly level. Kerrin did a majority of sanding as well as helped grouting, Kerrin's sister, Dan's wife assisted with placing stones. But quite a few members of the family were involved in the project. The heart pine flooring was the same way. We had some folks from Church come and help as well as the family. We did almost 1500 sq ft in basically two days. That is really rocking and rolling.
How did you do with your budget? K: We went over-budget slightly. Let me just say that anyone who builds needs to have EVERYTHING, no matter how small, in writing with their general contractor. Besides the general construction part of it, we did go over because we had to have a pumped septic system which about doubled the price of a standard system. We built during a drought and were fortunate to find water for our well in the first hole.
How much labor did you do? D: We did excavating, driveway, retaining wall, constant cleanup, cleaning logs, staining and painting, all flooring, kitchen counter tops, milling the hand rails and guard rails. That doesnt sound like a huge amount but we spent a lot of hours working on the project. Kerrin and I each spent 25 to 50 hours each week working on our home. K: We did a fair bit of labor. We stained exterior logs and porch. We put clear sealer on the inside and ceilings. David, Dad and our brother-in-law built retaining walls. Dad excavated for the basement. We put down floors and finished them. We put in kitchen counters and installed stove/oven. We painted all interior partition walls.
What changes did you make to the floor plan? D: We first went and visited the exact floor plan that we were interested in. We drove four hours to Nashville to do this. We would have driven further if we needed to. This was invaluable to our planning. At that point we compared it to the home that we were currently living in. We decided that we wanted more space in the master bedroom. We extended the length of the house by six feet. This also gave us a larger great room. We reconfigured the master bath and closet area to match the current house we were in. We deleted the Sunroom and added more porch. We thought that we would use the porch more than a sunroom. We also reconfigured the second floor based on not liking the actual floor plan after we saw it first hand. We also made the kitchen "bump out" a rectangle rather than the half of an octagon that was originally in the plan. This was done to more easily accommodate cabinets in the kitchen. The home in Nashville that we saw had an "open" staircase. We really liked it. We incorporated that into our design. This gave us a view from one end of the house to the other. K: We changed the bathroom and closet configurations to be similar to a house we'd previously lived in. We moved the loft to the center of the house and made the second upstairs bedroom larger.
What kind of exterior stain did you use? D: Water based, Perma-chink lifeline ultra one, Autumn Gold (which turned out about Caramel color....I think due to the temperature in which it was applied and the texture of the logs absorbed more stain.)
What kind of lights did you use? K: We actually got a good number of our lights while they were on sale at Home Depot or Lowe's. We have light/fan combinations in our great room, kitchen and each bedroom. We actually used some outdoor lighting as indoor fixtures because we couldn't find anything that we could afford that suited us from interior lighting choices. We went a lot with the wrought iron/old bronze/copper look. We used matching antique looking lights at each entrance. We also put in overhead lights along the porch with the thought of possibly putting in fans later on. No accent lights.
Would you have done anything differently? K: I would have put insulation in the interior partition walls between the living and sleeping areas to cut down on the noise.
What kind of heating does your home have? K: We have a heat pump with a zone control system. We have one zone on the main floor, one on the second, and two separate zones for the basement. K: We have a wood burning masonry fireplace with stacked cultured stone face. We really enjoy our fireplace. It draws everyone's attention. It is very nice to back up to when it's cold outside. D: Great except for the mess of bringing in wood, which is just part of the deal
What do you wish someone had told you before you started building? D: Research a builder extensively. Land went perfect, we worked through the bank issues. We could have done a much better job picking out a contractor.
K: 1. Get your septic system and well put in before you do too much work. We had the house almost finished before we had our well and septic system installed due to waiting on approval by the county. Go ahead and start with the professionals and don't think because someone gives you a lower price that it's the best deal. We had several people not even show up to do jobs.
2. Hire a general contractor that has a good reputation. We wanted to get our project done as soon as we could and didn't do the research we should have. However, we've had an earthquake and a hurricane since it's been built and have had no problems. Just make sure you get what you want and what you pay for.
3. Land was the best story of the whole project. When we were looking for land in Virginia while we were still living in Georgia, a friend from my old church in Virginia told my Dad that he had some land he'd sell me. David, Dad and I went to look at it and it was the prettiest land and view we'd seen in our search. Needless to say, that's the land we have our house on. Now, we are neighbors to that friend, who happens to be 94 years old, and his wife.
What do you really like? D: I really like the overall general effect of the house. I like the color contrast of the sheet rock walls and the painted cabinets against all of the wood and log walls. I love the soap stone counter tops and the heart pine floors. I really like the fireplace. It is very much the focal point of the great room and possibly the entire house. K: I like the openness of the main living area. It's very nice for church or family gatherings because we can accommodate a good number of people. I really like the fireplace. It makes the interior of this house different from traditional homes. The combination of the openness and the fireplace give it a lodge-type feel. I also really like the almost-wrap-around eight foot porch and the wide steps leading up to it. I like the unique ceiling that we have due to the Honest Abe Heavy Timber Roof System. It is so different from a traditional stick built home.
|Photos February 2004
Kerrin & David on their hearth
Belle Boyd protects the porch
Mr. Grey's Master Suite
Front of the house
Back of the house
Heavy Timber Ceiling
View under stairs from Kitchen
Dining Room & Kitchen
Kitchen with beautiful soapstone counter tops
Guest Room (yes, you can paint walls in a log home!)
Trophy Corner with His 'n' Her fish!
Photos taken 2003