For Don and Nancy Finkell, their reasons for wanting to build a log home can be traced back to when they first met.
“We both attended the University of Tennessee as out-of-state students in the early 1970s,” says Don. “We loved exploring the Appalachian countryside and were taken by the simple grace of the lifestyle and their structures. With the children grown, it was like circling back to our youth and re-creating the simple pleasures that brought us together.”
The breathtaking property is located in Lake Adger, a mountain community near Asheville, North Carolina, and features a stunning 360-degree mountain view. Four lots were combined to create about 20 acres bordered by streams and an equestrian trail.
The Finkells built their 2,545-square-foot, three-bedroom log cabin as a second home, with easy access to their main residence in Spartanburg, South Carolina, exactly one hour away. Their two daughters, Allie and Erin, along with Erin’s husband Nathan, are frequent visitors.
Don and Nancy chose Hearthstone Inc., a Tennessee log and timber home producer, because they offer the Bob Timberlake line of authentic Appalachian-style logs. The house features Eastern white pine logs, ranging from 14 inches to 21 inches wide.
“The wider logs are irregular in shape and had to be pieced together and filled in with chinking, just like the pioneer-built structures,” Don notes.
Chris Wood, vice-president of sales at Hearthstone, who helped on the project, says there were some issues that had to be addressed. “Setting the rear gable porch with a crane during the log construction had to be coordinated, with decks prepared and support piers in place before the logs arrived,” Chris explains.
A non-practicing architect now running the family business (Anderson Hardwood Floors), Don was ahead of the game when it came time to plan. He worked on the design, and Hal Minnick—a retired industrial designer who worked on contract for Hearthstone—completed the working drawings and structural plans.
“Nancy and I kept mental notes of places we’d stayed over the years and wanted to build something that would not look new or old but timeless,” Don says.
The Finkells also worked with Rich Privee, a general contractor from Reidville, South Carolina, who they’d worked with in the past, and builder Jim Skutka of Artefice Builders based in Greenville.
The most difficult challenge was the lighting, according to Don. “I wanted to use indirect lighting to illuminate the surfaces and objects in the room,” he explains, adding, “With a log home you have to figure out most of this ahead of time and run the wiring through the logs and chinking.”
While Nancy prefers comfort time on the porch, Don gravitates toward the expansive great room. “I like the cozy areas of the cabin, and Don likes big spaces,” says Nancy. Don wholeheartedly agrees, saying, “The great room has a sense of space, the nicest view and is the center of activity.”
Square footage: 2,545
General Contractor: Artefice Builders
Log Producer: Hearthstone Inc.