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We have all heard someone say that, "A man's home is his castle" and I personally know this is true, even if his home is not very large and did not cost a lot of money. The one thing however, that I believe we all need to be reminded of from time to time is that there is a vast difference between a house and a home. If you have a HOME then you know it's where the heart is and the real foundation for a home is love. Back in 1993 my wife and I were thinking about moving here to Conway and building a new home. We had quite a bit of equity where we were and my idea was to sell it, buy some acreage, build a new one, do a lot of the work myself and have it paid for. The thought of not having a house payment was very appealing to both of us.

As we were thinking about how to accomplish this goal our former neighbor to the West said he had a friend who was going to build a house out of landscape timbers. This is a small 8 ft. log, with a flat place on two sides and used mostly out of doors in gardens, flower beds and retaining walls. While I had seen and been in a good number of log homes over the years, in all my travels I had never seen one constructed out of landscape timbers. The timbers are treated and much smaller than a regular size log but when we looked at the cost plus the fact they would not require sheet rock, paneling, insulation or painting and also the novelty of it, the idea, in theory at least, became very attractive.

As providence would have it, a young man and his family were renting the house on the East side of us and he was a carpenter. When I began to explain our ideas to him, his creative imagination really went to work. He came up with a number of suggestions as to how to run the wiring inside the timbers, how to put them together with pole barn nails and how to fit them together at the corners so they wouldn't leak or have heat or cooling loss. In short, this young man was one of those brainy type people who could do almost anything when it came to the various construction and building disciplines.

After my wife and I found and purchased a large tree covered lot near town, our carpenter neighbor and I got started and it took us about 10 months to build our new home and it turned out far better than we ever dreamed. In addition to the walls around the parameter, we also used landscape timbers for all the inside walls including the bathrooms, bedrooms and closets. It is really neat and with 5 1/2 inches of solid wood, it is well insulated which means very reasonable utility bills. In fact, it's so tight that you can't hear a car when it comes in the driveway.

We also built my office and recording studio over the garage on the second level and were able to find some full 1" rough cut, treated pine to use on the exterior and also for the gables. This was perfect since the treated pine matches the timbers and after it has cured for a couple of years, the sun has turned the whole house from green to a golden bronze. Just recently I have sprayed it with an exterior polyurethane that hopefully will preserve it and maintain its beauty.

As I have said before, my primary objective for each of these columns is to share something that will be of interest and benefit to you. First, don't be afraid to try something new or different if it will help you accomplish your goals whatever they may be. In our case, and I say this very humbly, it's a good feeling not to have a house payment. And next, if you live in an area where it might be feasible to construct a home of this type, I've developed a set of basic instructions along with a photo that may be helpful. If you have an interest, send me a self-addressed "stamped" envelope and I will be happy to send this information to you. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034)

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