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The Tennessee Timber Frame Hybrid Home

What's old is new again in one Tennessee timber frame hybrid home.

Photography by James Ray Spahn

When most set out to build a custom home, they say they want something that’s one-of-a-kind. In the case of Rick Peterson and his log cabin-meets-timber home in southern Tennessee, checking that goal off the list came as soon as he picked out the materials he would build with. “I wanted something unusual,” says Rick, “so when my friend in the woodworking business told me he’d found a more than 200-year-old log cabin that we could dismantle, I couldn’t pass it up.”

From there, Rick and his builder let the logs do the talking, and set out to design a new house that could be built with the pieces of the old cabin. This journey took them to Knoxville, Tennessee, to StoneMill Log & Timber Homes, where they found the company’s Kelly Plantation plan, modified the drawings to suit Rick’s vision for the home and started the two-year process of building a home that perfectly pairs old construction materials with new technique and a new timber frame. “We built this house like Johnny Cash built his Cadillac,” says Rick. “You know, one piece at a time.”

The first piece: Incorporating those centuries-old logs into the front, “old” part of the house — a project that took about six weeks. “The friend of mine who found the log cabin is also the master of a woodworking school, so his students came out to the site and put all of the logs together themselves,” says Rick.
In the front section of the house, Rick and his building team stuck to a traditional design, complete with first-floor master bedroom suite, a formal dining room and two upstairs bedrooms, connected by a Jack and Jill bath. From there, they wanted to add extra square footage and a more open feel in the back of the house — the perfect place to incorporate a timber frame. “We were limited on what we could do with the logs, so we had to do something different on the back,” explains Rick. “We felt like using StoneMill’s timbers was the way to go.”

“The timber frame portion gave the homeowner the best of both world’s; he wanted antique logs, but now the back feels a bit more modern and bright,” says Mathew Sterchi, VP of sales and marketing at StoneMill. “Also, because the logs were reclaimed and had already done their shrinking and settling years before, we didn’t have to worry about attaching a new timber frame to new wood that would move and settle over time. That was a huge benefit.”

From the outside in, the back of the home has a newer feel, giving the illusion that the house has been added on to over time. Tongue-and-groove siding complements the interior living space, as well as the top-of-the-line kitchen. A mix of wood was used for the floors throughout the home, creating a unique contrast against the Douglas Fir frame and interior spruce walls.

See also You'll Love This Rustic-Meets-Comtempory California Timber Home

The variety of woods and the use of reclaimed materials makes the house truly unique, and one with its natural surroundings. “It’s so comfortable and secluded,” says the builder on the project. “That kind of peace can be hard to find nowadays.”

Rick agrees. “It’s definitely a place where you can turn your phones off and just enjoy being out there,” he says. “When I’m there, I want to get on my tractor and just ride around. I never want to leave.” 

Square footage: 4,600
Timber provider:  StoneMill Log & Timber Homes, 800-438-8274

Tour the Tennesse Timber Frame Hybrid Home

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