Photo Credit: Brandon Malone
Some happy endings are bittersweet. That’s certainly so for Michelle Hedges, an Honest Abe homeowner who, with her husband, spent decades planning
their forever log home, only to lose him suddenly in January 2014, just as the home had been ordered.
“The people at Honest Abe Log Homes were patient and supportive until I was ready to build
,” Michelle recalls, adding that her two grown sons encouraged her to move forward with the project because their father would have wanted it that way. Michelle worked with Inez Price, a sales representative at Honest Abe’s National Headquarters in Moss, Tennessee, and staff designer Mike Hix to customize Honest Abe’s “Westfield” plan.
“This is the home I had envisioned,” Michelle says of the 2,750-square-foot house located on Tennessee’s northeastern Highland Rim.
Local contractor Joe Isenberg built the dovetailed, square log home on the exact spot where her great-great-grandfather was born on Revolutionary War land-grant property — a parcel that’s been in her family for roughly 200 years.
“My parents live at the end of this road, and my sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren visit often,” Michelle says. “I love my log home because it is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. It’s roomy, yet cozy. It is without a doubt the sturdiest well-built home in the area. I hope it lasts for many generations.”
From the beginning, Michelle was determined the home would be a special retreat for her grandchildren, who were 7, 6 and 2 in July 2015 when she moved in.
“Each December, I turn it into a Christmas house for them,” she says, admitting that decorating was accomplished with a heavy heart the first two years she lived there. Then, last Christmas, something magical happened.
“The heart heals, and I had a new man in my life,” Michelle says. “Inspired by nature and a new relationship, I was really ready to decorate.”
Apparently, Rick Etheridge was the perfect partner for decking the halls.
“He’s quite creative and an artisan, too,” Michelle says admiringly. “Instead of spending a lot of money on decorations, we re-created ideas we’d seen and even came up with a few new ones.”
Rick up-cycled wooden pallets into Christmas Trees, snowmen and greetings for the front porch
and lawn and used vintage tobacco sticks to frame colorful Christmas gift bags as art for the clear finished log walls.
The pair used ribbons and greenery to craft the dining room
light fixture into a festive bell. They wove fresh pine and cedar into swags, wreaths and garlands accented with treasured ornaments. They gathered pinecones, branches and dried wild plants from the farm to spray paint.
“Some of them, I didn’t even know what they were,” she laughs. “But we were bringing back Christmas!”
Trees were decorated, bows were tied and strands of tiny white lights joined flickering pillar candles for soft illumination. Crimson stockings were hung from the mantel with care, and velvety poinsettias accented each room. The house was ready for making new memories while savoring the past.
“I really wanted to create the kind of Christmas my kids had always enjoyed,” Michelle says. “I think we did that.”
Square Footage: 2,750
Log Provider: Honest Abe Log Homes
Tour the Tennessee Highlands Home
For the holidays, owners Michelle Hedges and Rick Etheridge use fresh greenery for wreaths and swags to create a holiday flow on the front porch.