Kentucky Couple Brings Antique Log Cabin Back to Life

More than a Blast from the Past


When Jan Paul Donelson saw an antique log cabin while house-hunting in Kentucky, he immediately knew it was THE one. His wife, Tammy, later affirmed his decision telling him “this place feels like home”.  And while restoring the place was certainly not a walk in the park, the couple can now probably say they own one of the most beautiful vintage log cabins in the state – if not the country.


…Nestled in a wooded area on a 3-acre lake, the cabin was covered with English ivy. Jan Paul first sighted the cabin while house hunting in Louisville, Kentucky, with a real estate agent. “It was the first house we visited on the second day of searching,” he says. “We turned off an overgrown road, crossed a bridge over a creek and went up along a lake. I wondered where the Realtor was taking me.” When Jan Paul saw the vintage cabin, which he believes is about 175 years old, he said, “This is it. You don’t have to show me anything else”…



…He and Tammy pulled the ivy from the exterior, put on a new shake roof, installed a new water line, HVAC system and heat pump. Inside, they cleaned the floors and ceiling (both poplar) and tore down wallpaper. They painted some walls to lighten up dark spaces…



…He installed a new standing-seam metal roof and lowered the pitch to where it would have been originally. He replaced the posts with ones made from cedar trees on the site. He also used the cedar to create a rail fence…



…The master bedroom and bathroom are the only rooms on the second story. The first floor’s main attraction is the cozy living room with its limestone hearth. And the small kitchen, featuring original 2-inch wide, pegged plank floors and exposed ceiling joists and beams, rivals the design of any new home where rustic farmhouse meets contemporary sensibilities…



…The Donelsons are passionate about their cabin and about its importance as a living piece of history. “This place whispers to me every day, of where we have come from,” Jan Paul says. “Not everyone who crosses our threshold feels the connection, but for those who appreciate the sense of place, time and heritage our forefathers gave us, they find the cabin a comfort. They feel that warm embrace of romance from our heritage.”



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