A North Carolina couple shares lessons learned while building a mountain dream home that incorporates dreams and needs for present and future enjoyment, allowing them to stay in the home for the rest of their lives. See the complete gallery HERE.
By Claudia Johnson, Director of Marketing, Honest Abe Log Homes
Dreams, decisions and compromise. That’s the formula Doug and Noreen Williams can endorse when it comes to building a mountain home – and a life – together.
“It had been a dream to own a log home for many years prior to actually moving forward with it,” Doug said. “There is something unique and rustic feeling about a log home over a conventional home. Perhaps it has to do with a simpler time, though today’s log homes still have all the modern conveniences.”
Doug said that before embarking on the homebuilding process, they visited models, perused log home magazines and attended home shows.
“The Chantilly, Virginia, log home show is where we first encountered Honest Abe,” Doug said, explaining why he and Noreen chose Honest Abe Log Homes as their designer and manufacturer. “Through our research we discovered there are differences in log home manufacturers. The main thing to look for is someone who has been around for a while. That ensures that any problems with log species, settling, etc., has already been worked through and you will get a quality product.”
Through the home show, Noreen became connected with Darlene Dawson, who along with husband Rodger, owns Bear’s Den Log Homes, an Honest Abe Log Homes independent dealership in North Carolina.
“When talking to Darlene, something clicked, and it appeared that the hurdle of who to use was settled,” Noreen said, concluding that choosing Bear’s Den was a “smart decision. Darlene has a thorough knowledge of the building process, and we could count on Bear’s Den to be there helping out in any way possible to make sure our dream home became a reality.”
The Williams said their desire for a log home predated their choice of where to build it, though they always knew it would be either in the mountains or the foothills.
“There is something extra special about a log home in the mountains; it just appears to belong there,” Doug observed.
So, for several years the Williams explored locations, but the Asheville. N.C., area kept calling them. The couple said they were attracted to the region’s variety of recreational opportunities, as well as Asheville’s vibrant downtown and its outstanding medical facilities.
“We chose the lot for our home because of the potential for excellent views of the mountains, which we have, and that certainly makes living here extraordinary,” Doug said. “We not only have views from the front porch, but from our master bedroom and living area. It is a great way to start each day by looking out at the mountains. The design of our log home captures those views very well.”
Honest Abe designer Mike Hix modified the Williams’ choice of the Honest Abe Clearbook floor plan to create the desired open living area on the main floor while making accommodations for stairs to a loft and steps from the basement garage to the main floor.
“A large factor in choosing the Clearbrook was the exterior design of the home, it has a beautiful look on the front,” Doug said. “It also incorporated a front porch, which was a must, and we were able to build a screen porch off the end, which was something we would not compromise.”
However, Doug said that he and Noreen learned there are many compromises involved in building a home together.
“Noreen had in her mind what she wanted for the staircase leading to the loft,” Doug recalled. “When showed other options, she did not want to compromise. Fortunately, we found somebody locally who built the staircase railings as she had envisioned.”
The Williams had no disagreement about how their 2,456 square foot home’s exterior should look.
“There was never any real issue about the log style,” Doug said, explaining the choice of Clearbook floor plan. “Both of us wanted round logs on the outside and flat logs on the inside, and we both liked the look of the logs overlapping each other on the corners.”
In modifying the Clearbrook plan, the Williams tried to take into account all possibilities.
They planned the garage using their vehicles’ measurements. When laying out rooms, they actually placed furniture on their plans to ensure that everything would fit.
“We inherited a dining table that will seat 8 to 10, so we made sure that the dining room is big enough if we want to open the table fully,” Noreen said. “We also took into consideration that we might want a king-size bed for our bedroom. The only furniture we did not already own was our living room couch, though we had that picked out and had laid it out to make sure that the fireplace and electrical outlets would be placed advantageously.”
Doug acknowledged that there were financial considerations to take into account with practical decisions, like lighting and plumbing, as well as in finalizing aesthetic choices.
“Fortunately, our tastes in design elements are very similar, so there was not too much disagreement over color choices for our home,” Doug said, adding that in all decisions they “tried to keep in mind that what we chose was what we really wanted, not something we’d want to change later on.”
Darlene said she was impressed with the Williams’ attention to detail that created a beautiful home, both inside and out, as well as their ability to communicate with each other and with her.
“They are a super sweet couple, so easy to work with, and they knew what they wanted,” Darlene said. “They have both retired since we met, and I’ve been honored to share a glass of wine and a meal with them. Friends!”
“Having never built a home before, we cannot say whether ours was smoother or rougher than most,” Doug said, admitting, “there were times of excitement, times of uncertainty and difficulties, as well as times of frustration. We survived it! Looking back on it, it was an exciting process to come out and see the progress being made and how everything came together.”
Would they do it again?
“We will never do this again, because there will never be any reason,” Doug said. “We went into this knowing this was going to be the last place we live, so we made sure it would accommodate us for the rest of our lives.”
To see additional photos and get more information about this home, read the article originally published in Honest Abe Living HERE.