As today’s consumers try to co-exist with nature and adopt a greener lifestyle, some Clevelanders are considering the economic value of living in a log cabin as a way of enjoying a simpler life.
Vernon and Billie Renner, married 54 years, are the latest couple in Cleveland to embark on the transition from modern housing to a log home, which is considered an energy efficient, durable and environmentally friendly alternative to a typical stick frame construction.
Vernon, a 72-year-old Cleveland native, said, “I’ve always been interested in log cabins and my wife likes the look of them. So we thought we’d try one. We’re thinking about selling our house after we move in and see how we like it. It’s a little smaller than what we have but it should be easier to clean.”
Meigs County residents Dave Hampton, 63, and Timothy Bailey, 63, said they are “staying busy” as the two senior citizens construct their third, most elaborate log cabin in 12 months.
“This one is 16 [feet] wide and 32 long,” Bailey said. “It will have an upstairs loft, a storage room, bedroom, front and back doors with a front porch and back porch. It will have central heat and air, plumbing, electricity and whatever else they want. It’s going to be a full-time home for them.”
Hampton, the self-employed owner of Hampton-Made Log Cabins, said, “This one is twice as big as our other ones. We’re putting tongue-and-groove flooring on the upstairs and downstairs floors as well as on the roof. It will all be insulated. This one will have much more details since they’re planning on living in it.”
The Renners, who have been on their property for 47 year,s said they are aware that living in a log cabin will take some getting use to, but both said they are ready and willing to try.
“We’re getting older so we thought we would downsize,” Vernon explained. “Besides, we’re out here in the country so we thought we’d enjoy the wildlife and being outdoors more. Growing up, my family had a big two-story house. We tore it down when I was about 18 and rebuilt it.”
The longtime property homeowner is assisting Hampton and Bailey, while overseeing its design. He said he is excited about working on his first log home and the anticipation of moving in within a few months has him and his wife thrilled. Expectations are to have the Renners in their new home by the holidays, although the cabin will have to pass state-regulated safety inspections. Vernon said he read about Hampton in the Banner and the log cabin he built for Carol Jobe, one of his neighbors.
“We went over there and looked at it,” he said. “My wife liked the way it looked so we decided to call Mr. Hampton and see what it would cost to build us one.”
Regarding the advantages of log homes, www.ehow.com., said, “A heating and cooling system in a log home can be up to 15 percent more energy efficient than the same system in a similar traditional wood frame home. Log walls are natural sound insulators too. Not only does the mass of the log prevent sound from passing through, but the log walls deflect sound by virtue of the texture created by their rippled contour. Yet another advantage is new tax laws that offer deductions or rebates for log homes. Check with a tax advisor to see how the laws apply.”
Vernon, who attended Bradley High School and worked at Hardwick Stove (now Whirlpool) for 46 years before retiring, said, his new log cabin home may have a rustic look outside, but he and his wife will keep many modern appliances inside, including satellite television, if possible. Hampton and Bailey said they have had help from expert roofers when installing the ceiling, but both men describe the grueling work as “good therapy” as well as an enjoyable way of working with their hands to make a living.
“It keeps a man on his toes,” Renner said. Hampton said his hope is that this will mark the start of something innovative for the housing market, which has struggled for several years.
“We do have some interest in some others who have been calling,” he said. “So far we’ve been able to keep up with supply and demand.”
Bailey, a longtime friend of Hampton’s, added, “I enjoy doing things that benefit people and building a home is something everybody needs. I’ve enjoyed learning how to do it through the years and I plan on doing it forever. It reminds me of the Scripture in Isaiah that says, ‘They will build houses and have occupancy, and they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. The work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full.’ I believe that day is coming — but until it does — Dave and I plan on building log cabins for as long as we can to meet the economic needs of the people.”
Experts say natural log construction is on the “green’ list, in part, because it eliminates many of the toxic materials used in insulating traditional wood frame homes.
Another environmental benefit is that in the future, when the log home is demolished or deconstructed for its component parts, the logs will provide value as a source of quality timber for producing other lumber and wood products, unlike stick frame construction which is often demolished and shipped directly to landfills.