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Down by the Riverside: Retirement Home in Tennessee

A Tennessee retirement timber home offers room to roam.



When retirement beckoned, Jack and Renee Martin bought a lot in a subdivision located along the Tennessee River and recognized that such an idyllic setting deserved a special kind of dwelling. They felt a timber-frame home would be perfect and found exactly what they were looking for after visiting Pioneer Log Systems of Kingston Springs, Tennessee. A neighbor, architect Rick Ray of Creative Home Designs, helped them draw plans for the home.

After Pioneer’s crew set the frame, Jack and Renee did a lot of the work themselves, aided by friends and tradespeople who became their friends because of this project. “We worked on the home whenever we could, and it took so long that everyone involved became like family,” Renee notes.

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Because the new home was larger than their former one, Renee didn’t wait until the house was finished to shop for new furniture, starting four years before they moved in. She also added family heirlooms that had been stored away. “I looked for ways to make the open space look cozy,” she says, acknowledging that her biggest challenge was choosing pieces that featured verticality to match the upward thrust of the open great room space. “I shopped tall.”

The poplar frame stands higher than most because the Martins decided to leave the timbers their full length. As a result, the ceiling ended up higher than planned, and what was intended to be a simple loft offered enough space for several upper rooms. Because of their sloping site, the home also has a spacious walkout basement. In all, the Martins say they can sleep 11 people comfortably.

Tour the Retirement Home in Tennessee