The first icon of the American Dream probably was the humble log cabin.
Early generations of Americans grew up in cabins. Seven U.S. presidents, including Kentucky’s Abraham Lincoln, were born in log cabins. And every humble cabin, whether in a mountain hollow or on freshly cleared lowland, embodied a family’s yearning for freedom, security and a better life — the same things we want today.
Of course, today’s modern log homes are anything but humble; they offer all the comforts and amenities we’ve come to expect. But a rustic log home somehow still looks “right” standing amid green fields and shady woods.
Just ask Steve and Pam Hubbard, whose 3,500-square-foot hilltop log home sits on 36 acres of rolling former farm land at 651 Brewers Mill Road, about eight miles out of Harrodsburg.
Pam admits that she got teary eyed the first time she saw the place.
“I really did,” she said. “The peace and quiet and the beauty were so incredible. I loved being outdoors in nature when I was younger. And coming down here and walking over the land just brought all that back.”
The home boasts four bedrooms; three and a half baths; dual heating systems and central air conditioning, a cozy loft and a spacious great room; a first-floor master bedroom and bath; space for live-in parents; a walk-out basement with two baths, plenty of storage and parking for two vehicles. Outside, there are two metal barns, both with electricity.
Then there are the stunning views of the surrounding Mercer County countryside.
“On clear days you can probably see 30 miles from our front porch, so we spend a lot of time out there,” Steve says. “Finches, blue jays, cardinals and red-wing blackbirds visit our bird feeders. And If you like rabbits, deer, wild turkeys … you name it and we’ve got it. Places like this are getting harder and harder to find today.”
The Hubbards bought the home five years ago from the man who built it back in 2002. Originally, Steve and Pam planned to make it a weekend retreat. But the house and setting were so attractive that they ultimately made the place their year-round home.
Stepping into the home, you enter the great room, whose vaulted ceiling, exposed beams and expanse of warm wood tones bring to mind a mountain chalet.
Kitchen and eating areas are just steps away, as is the master bedroom and bath with jacuzzi and walk-in shower. Nearby is Pam’s art studio — she’s an enthusiastic painter — which is plumbed and wired for easy conversion to a mother-/father-in-law suite.
Overlooking everything is the loft, which has a TV and radio system but also is perfect for reading, relaxing or just enjoying the scenery outside.
The home has two heating systems: a heat-pump arrangement, plus a wood-burning stove that Steve says can heat the place all by itself.
The home’s original builder, a former firefighter, made sure it had plenty of fire protection. There are fire-resistant doors throughout, plus 20 smoke alarms, Steve says.
The home was constructed using massive, square-cut logs that interlock, rather than traditional round logs. To support all the weight, the house sits on 10-inch poured concrete footers, rather than smaller footers found under some newly built houses, Steve says.
“From a structural standpoint, it would cost you double to build this house today. It’s built like a tank.”
The home is connected to the county water system, has electronic security equipment and its own sound system.
But nature is never far away. Nestled on a hilltop and surrounded by fields and woods stretching into the distance, the home is seldom disturbed by sounds of urban society. The tranquility here runs so deep you could almost slice it up and save pieces for a stormy day.
Nevertheless, access to shopping and entertainment remains easy. Harrodsburg is a short drive, and the Hubbards say they can be at Keeneland in 45 minutes.
Still, history hangs over every hill and tree around this home.
“When you first drive in, you see what we call the ‘founder tree,’ ” Steve said. “It’s a giant pin oak, and the age estimate on it is 250 to 300 years old. Think about that: it covers the whole history of Kentucky.”
Brewers Mill Road and Cornish Hill Road — which bring you to the home from Harrodsburg — follow old buffalo trails, according to Steve. And Harrodsburg, founded by James Harrod in 1774, is recognized as the oldest permanent American settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains.
The picturesque Chaplin River, which flows past the back of the property, is named for Abraham Chapline, an early settler, Revolutionary War veteran, and Kentucky state senator.
The Hubbards actually stumbled upon the property when they were living in Cincinnati, where both had corporate jobs.
Steve was at his computer when he found some photos of the house. He immediately recognized the location as being near where his mother grew up.
“I said, ‘Hey, Pam, come look at this house. I know where this is. Let’s drive down and see it.’ ”
They did. And ended up buying it — a decision they’ve never regretted.
Recently, however, they put the home on the market. They plan to move to Nashville to be near their grandchildren.
“Your grandkids are only little once,” Steve explains, “and we don’t want to miss it.”
Pam says it will be hard to leave the property’s “combination of peace, quiet and beauty, and being able to share that homey feeling with others whenever we had company.”
Adds Steve, “My mother’s parents lived just five miles from here, and I can remember coming down on weekends when I was a kid. Now, I kind of hope that a family with two or three kids will buy our home. I think it would be a great place for kids to grow up.”
This week’s feature home is listed with Chris Wells of Bluegrass Sotheby’s International Realty. To view more photos of the home, visit the Homeseller gallery at Kentucky.com.