Why Visit when you can own? You have to take a look at this great hunting cabin in Tennessee
The setting for his log cabin proved just as important to Ed Adams as the home itself. Adams, an avid hunter, wanted acreage with vistas and tranquility, as well as the vegetation and flowing water attractive to deer and turkeys. He found what he was looking for in a hundred-acre tract in Van Buren County, Tenn., a couple hours’ drive from his home in Chattanooga.
Time to buy your own Hunting Cabin?
For years, Adams had hunted with friends on their land. But after one friend canceled a trip that Adams had been looking forward to, he began to rethink his options. “My wife [Terry Miles] said, ‘Why not buy your own property?’ ” Adams recalled. “That’s all I needed to hear. I called a Realtor friend who put me in touch with a land broker.” To really appreciate any land, Adams said, he needs to walk it. Over the course of a month, he hiked nearly a dozen properties. One rainy day, he and his land broker went to see a parcel completely covered in trees. About a hundred yards into their hike, they came across a little creek fed by springs. Hardwoods stretched into the distance, and smaller plants and acorns that animals consider fine dining covered the ground. “It was so peaceful, so quiet,” Adams said. “I said, ‘This is the one I want.’ ” His offer was accepted, and he closed in a matter of weeks. “It was like it was meant to be,” he said. “Now I don’t have to ask permission anymore when I want to hunt. I just walk out my back door.” See also Explore This Timber-Frame Dream Cabin in Michigan
Camper or hunting cabin?
What that door would look like changed over time. Initially, Adams thought about building a one-room hut or even buying a camper, just some place to spend the night before the long drive home after a day of hunting. But Miles dismissed those options as impractical. The couple heard about an open house at Southland Log Homes in Nashville, and as soon as they walked through the door of the model, they fell in love with the idea of a log cabin. They selected a basic floor plan and set about customizing it.
Choosing a log supplier & a builder
Southland, the log supplier, put Adams and Miles in touch with Richard Wilkinson of L&C Custom Homes, a builder who specializes in log and timber home construction. Building a log home may look as easy as snapping together Lincoln Logs, but the wiring, plumbing and insulating that are straightforward in a stick-built home take on another level of complexity in a log home. A general contractor who builds conventional homes, even an experienced one, won’t know that a log home settles differently than a stick-built home or that the logs must be predrilled for wiring. Look for a supplier who is a member of the Log Homes Council, a government agency that serves as a Better Business Bureau for log homebuilders, Wilkinson advised. “If a company is not a member,” he said, “you’ll want to find out why.”
The list of must-haves
Adams and Miles selected a single-story plan with a gabled roof. Then they worked through their list of must-haves. Because outdoor living was a priority, they wrapped the deck all the way around the house. Some of it they covered, and they screened in another section. They sited the house along a north-south axis to enjoy sunrises from one deck and sunsets from another. “I’m out on the deck more than anywhere else in the house,” Adams said. “The views are breathtaking. I’d rather eat off a paper plate on the porch than off fine china in the dining room.” Like almost every log homeowner for whom Wilkinson has built, Adams wanted a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. The wood-burning fireplace has a propane gas ignition system that eliminates the need for kindling. The couple simply stacks the split logs, lights a piece of paper and turns on the propane until the wood catches fire. “It seems like a little thing, but it makes a big difference,” Adams said. See also The Best 20 Cabin Renovation + Remodel Tips
Adams chose underground propane tanks to fuel the fireplace, outdoor grill and the kitchen stove/oven. It also works with the smart duel HVAC system that switches between electricity and propane, depending on which is the most economical for the outside temperature. Given that the cabin serves first and foremost as a hunting lodge, Adams added a mudroom with its own entrance, laundry and full bath. When he comes in muddy after a day in the woods, he can clean off before he walks through the rest of the cabin. A stone portico that converts the back entry into a second main entrance – and serves as shelter from the rain – was added. Wilkinson said stone accents are becoming more popular as the price of cultured stone is about on par with tongue-and-groove stained wood. All of the interior walls’ planks have a smooth finish, and they leave a lingering scent of fresh-cut wood. For the flat ceilings in the kitchen and dining room, Adams and Miles used a thick white stain to brighten the space. They opted for recessed lights, custom cabinetry and high-quality appliances, fixtures and faucets, as well as tiled baths and plenty of closets. The cabin has WiFi, so Adams can work remotely at the retreat during hunting season. Rather than have a loft bedroom above the master suite and guestroom, Adams and Miles chose soaring ceilings and extra windows near the peak of the roof. As they move toward retirement, they and their guests don’t want to climb stairs.
Less maintenance, more relaxation
In fact, Adams wanted the entire property as maintenance-free as possible. He upgraded to a standing-seam metal roof (which reduces the likelihood of screws pulling away and needing repair) and durable Douglas fir for the decking. The outdoor entertainment spaces consist of a patio with a fire pit and a pond. Adams landscaped with shrubs, pea gravel and a very slow-growing creeping red fescue that needs to be mowed only once a year. “I didn’t want to come up to the cabin with a lawn mower and trimmer,” he said. “I go up there to enjoy the property.” He and Miles have an agreement: “When she comes up, she doesn’t clean or do chores; that’s my job,” he said. “She takes care of our home in Chattanooga, and I take care of this one.” The more time he spends at the cabin, the more Adams appreciates the “total experience” of hunting, not just bringing home his bounty. Because he eats what he harvests, “once you pull the trigger, the fun is over, and the work begins,” he said. More often than not these days, he goes hunting with his camera. His property is covered in wildflowers that seem to change weekly in the spring. He can sit in a tree and wait for the deer to show up, or he can sit on his deck, “if you’re quiet and don’t move a lot,” he said. “I don’t have to pull the trigger for it to be a fulfilling day.” ABOUT OUR AUTHOR
Nancy Oates is a writer based in Chapel Hill, N.C., who would be happy to write from a screen porch or sun deck.