The Heads’ hybrid home may be nestled into a wooded area overlooking Tennessee’s Center Hill Lake, but its unique whitewashed, half-log exterior keeps it from fading into the woodwork. The home’s heavy-timber roof system and architectural details were executed by Honest Abe Log Homes, which also drafted the home’s final plans from the couple’s original concept.
Something different. That’s what homeowners Priscilla and James Head imagined when they pictured a custom wood home of their own near Tennessee’s Center Hill Lake.
“I wanted a home style that would match the middle Tennessee scenery,” says Priscilla. “I grew up in Golden, Mississippi, with more traditional homes, so ‘cabin style’ is not my typical style. But after living in downtown Nashville for several years, James and I were ready for a home that felt cozier than our modern condominium.”
Through the years, Priscilla and James had fallen in love with Center Hill Lake — and the marina near the small community of Silver Point, in particular — located about an hour east of Nashville.
“Prior to owning our cabin, we found ourselves spending more and more time on the lake and at our houseboat,” Priscilla recalls. “We decided that we wanted a more permanent residence in Silver Point — and a much slower pace than our lifestyle in the city.”
James, a native of Celina, Tennessee, not far from Honest Abe Log Home’s
national headquarters, had previously built an Honest Abe structure to accommodate his business office, and the couple had visited several houses by the 40-year-old company. After touring the “Cambridge” model in Crossville, Tennessee, and meeting Honest Abe independent dealer Dallas Powers, they were certain Honest Abe was the company that could deliver their singular vision.
“We loved the idea of hiring a local company,” Priscilla shares, adding, “and I loved how unique we could make our home.”
Priscilla and her mother, Linda, worked together to draft a floor plan that encompassed must-haves
like a dog bath in the garage, a porch for outdoor living, a man cave for James and a 1,530-square-foot walkout basement with a wet bar, lounge and exercise room.
“We wanted a modern flair with simple, clean lines and something different than the typical cabin,” Priscilla explains. “We chose log siding, since we didn’t want to have too much exposed wood on the inside. The timber frame interior is rustic and cozy but not over-the-top.” Melissa Copas, an Honest Abe designer for more than 20 years, drafted the final plan for the two-story house.
The 1,530-square-foot main level features an open great room, kitchen and dining room. A breezeway connects the three-car garage to the main home through the laundry room, which includes a half bath. The master bedroom suite has double walk-in closets and a full bath with a shower and separate tub, a private toilet closet and dual sinks. Two private bedrooms with a shared bath and an open loft comprise the 900-square-foot second story.
Priscilla and James used Honest Abe’s dry-in service to construct the home. “They were very quick,” Priscilla says excitedly. “It was great to come by every afternoon and see the progress. They were helpful in answering our questions and accommodating all our needs. They really seemed to take pride in the project and treated it like their own.”
Once the home was erected, contractor Richard Norton stepped in to oversee the cabin’s completion, which included installing plumbing and electric; lighting, bath and kitchen fixtures; and cabinetry. Applying interior and exterior paint and stain, as well as the roofing materials were also handled by Richard’s crew.
“He did an excellent job blending the dried-in home with my chosen finishes,” Priscilla raves. “I was involved in this build every day, from design of the plans to fixtures to plumbing to small woodwork decisions and last minute adjustments.”
To create the modern visual impact the couple desired, they made a number of bold choices
, both inside and out.
“Staining the cabin white was my idea, and James loves it, too,” Priscilla says. “Along with the white exterior, we decided to paint the interior tongue-and-groove ceiling white. My contractor and painter cringed, but we were adamant. It covers the wood grain, which most builders hate, but it offers great contrast between the stark white cathedral ceiling and the deep brownish-gray stained wood beams in the living room.”
Both Priscilla and James said that despite the challenges inherent in building any type of custom home, it was well worth the effort.
“Now we have a home that is just what we envisioned — a perfect blend of our styles,” Priscilla says. “I just don’t feel that we could have a more unique house by building it any other way.
The fusion of cozy, rustic and modern makes our home a joy to come home to every day. Also, the fact that there is no other one in the world like it makes it all the better.”
A view from the second-floor loft office showcases the intricacy of the dark stained Douglas fir timbers that support the heavy-timber roof system.
Square Footage: 3,960 (including basement)
Designers: Priscilla Epps Head and Melissa Copas