Nina Smith blames murder mysteries for the innovative design elements she came up with for her log home on the outskirts of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
With a hidden office, two folding Murphy beds and an honest-to-goodness false-back bookshelf that reveals a storage area when you pull on a lever that looks like a book, Nina admits, “I guess I’ve seen one too many Alfred Hitchcock movies.”
No matter her inspiration, Nina’s 5,000-square-foot reclaimed-wood home is a virtual treasure trove of creativity. The seeds of the home first sprouted from Nina’s stay in an Atlanta hunting cabin. For four years, Nina rented a turn-of-the-century log lodge tucked in the middle of the bustling city. She fell in love instantly with the antique charm of the old home.
Nina tried to buy the house, but the owners wouldn’t sell. So she set out to build herself an antique cabin of her own, incorporating her quirky design ideas along the way.
Here are some of the design ideas that went into Nina’s building project:
• She loved the Old World feel of antique wood, so she used reclaimed timbers rather than a traditional log home kit.
• Nina chose Walden 19th Century Antique Log Homes os her log home company. Luckily, Walden had reclaimed southern yellow pine on hand when Nina came calling and she snatched it up immediately for her home.
• Nina designed the house in 22- by 22-foot sections, the original dimension of the tobacco barns from which the wood was salvaged. That way, the old corner notches would show through.
• Nina patterned the curving staircase in her home after the one in the Atlanta cabin and designed a truss system with 12-inch-high bump-outs, fitted with glass.