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The Natural: A Log Home in Tennessee

When it comes to craftsmanship and longevity, a Tennessee home proves that building with logs is the only way to go.

Paul Meng builds conventional, stick-built houses for a living. So you might logically think that, when it came time to construct his dream home, he'd go with what he knew best. But this doesn't account for Paul's desire to build a classic—something he was sure that logs could deliver.

Paul's cozy back porch overlooks a yard brimming with scores of mature trees. Low-maintenance landscaping plantings, including azaleas, ferns and hydrangeas, also grace the yard.

"We had our eyes on a log home for a few years, and when my wife and I actually visited one, we decided right then and there that's what we wanted to build," says Paul, who had toured a house built by Tennessee-based StoneMill Log Homes. "It was a lifestyle we knew was right for us." Paul was particularly impressed with the style of log home that StoneMill specializes in—a dovetail corner rectangular log with a 4-inch chink joint—which the company has made its hallmark since 1974.

Matthew Sterchi, StoneMill's vice president of sales, says this log home design is popular for both aesthetic and practical reasons—including the fact that the flat logs help the home shed water away from the structure. So over the next year, Paul worked with StoneMill to build his dream home, and as a builder himself, he knew exactly what he wanted and how to communicate with company representatives in a common builder's language. Paul made extensive modifications—such as adding a garage, dining room and an extra bedroom—to one of StoneMill's stock floor plans.

Butcher-block sits atop an island in the kitchen, which sits alongside the great room to make family time and entertaining more convenient.

In order to cut costs, Paul decided to have his own company pick up the project where StoneMill left off at the shell. His crew took the lead on the construction of the home's interior. Although this allowed him to cut back on some expenses, Paul found that the process cost more than he expected, and he advises anyone building his or her log home to keep a watchful eye on the bottom line. "No matter how much you plan, building a home costs a lot more than you think it will," he says.

The Mengs fell in love with the classic charm of log homes, despite Paul's background in stick-built construction. But his building know-how aided in a smoother construction process.

But as Paul is quick to note, it's a price that delivers comfort, warmth and the setting for unmatched memories.  

Home Plan Details:

Square Footage: 6,000

Log Company: StoneMill Log Homes

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