The Best Things in Life: An Elegant Log Home in Tennessee

A businessman builds a graceful log home in Tennessee, perfect for casual, friendly entertaining.

Elegant exterior of the Tennessee home

Log homes and hospitality go hand in hand. At least that’s how Charlie Mann feels. He first became intrigued with the notion of building with logs 30 years ago, when a long-time friend invited him to visit his log cabin in Franklin, Tennessee. “He had a place deep in the woods,” recalls Charlie, who spent many weekends horseback riding, playing tennis and enjoying his friend’s casual barbecues. “He liked to entertain, like I do,” Charlie explains. “No coat-and-tie type of functions. Just laid-back, enjoyable country living.”

As the owner of his own company, however, Charlie had little time to consider building a rural getaway of his own. Since the 1950s, he had been gradually acquiring land in central Tennessee, eventually amassing more than 800 acres. But it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that Charlie finally had enough leisure time to plan the gracious log home in Santa Fe, Tennessee, that he now shares with his wife, Debra, and their six dogs.

Here's how they put together their 6,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, six-bath home:

• A design by Shawn Stearley for Heritage Log Homes, the Tennessee-based manufacturer they hired to build their home.

• Dozens of windows overlooking the peaceful property and the flowering gardens that surround it.

• Elegant interior decor, yet comfortable enough for anybody to come in and put their feet up.

• Space for entertaining, including a gourmet kitchen and a wide porch covered by an old-fashioned red tin roof where the couple hosts alfresco cocktail parties and sit-down dinners.

• A dash of red in almost every room for warmth and vibrancy.

• Sections of neutral-toned drywall to break up the expanse of log and wood-paneled walls.