Long Way Home - Goodman

Midwestern Roots

The journey to the Goodmans' home in South Carolina started years earlier, and took a long, winding route. Chris and Linda were living in a log cabin on 10 acres with a pond, a carriage house and an oversized garage. The cabin had been relatively inexpensive, as it was near a small town of 1,000 people in central Illinois. They loved it there, and spent most of their time working in the yard and redecorating the inside. Then Chris was notified by his employer that he would be transferred to Columbia, South Carolina. The unexpected news shook the couple's comfortable life. They both wanted to grab the new opportunity, but they loved their log cabin and having friends and family nearby. At the time of the move, the Goodmans' son was in fifth grade; their daughter was 21 and decided to stay in Illinois.

As we prepared for the move to South Carolina, we worked with a Realtor to find a place in the country, something affordable with a good school district," Linda recalls. Their search was fruitless. "We settled for a home in a subdivision with a park and a swimming pool." While their son enjoyed suburban life, "Chris and I were miserable." Linda says.

After living in the subdivision for four years, Chris and Linda once again began searching for land so they could build their dream home as soon as their son graduated high school. They persevered through several disappointing attempts to purchase property, determined to move to a country setting. Then they found a heavily wooded parcel in Chapin, South Carolina. The Goodmans knew it was the perfect place for their new home.

Time for Timbers

"As much as we had loved our log cabin, we didn't feel this style would fit in with our South Carolina property. We decided to build a timber frame," Linda says. Choosing timbers gave the couple the beauty of wood elements on the inside and the barn-style look they wanted on the outside.

Linda plunged into planning the home. She combed through timber frame magazines and convinced Chris to join her at timber frame and log home shows. Since it would be three years before they actually could begin construction, Chris thought Linda was jumping the gun. Linda, on the other hand, knew it would take years of planning to get everything they really wanted in their home.

"I must admit that I am the luckiest woman in the world when it came to home building, "Linda says. "Chris doesn't really care at all what I wanted in the house as long as he had a large garage and a big outdoors to tend."

While at one of the shows, Linda and Chris met a representative from Fisher SIPs who recommended Oakbridge Timber Framing in Howard, Ohio, an Amish company. Chris and Linda became immediately interested because they both grew up near an Amish community in Illinois, which they often had visited and purchased homemade furnishing and products. They knew about the Amish traditions of quality and craftsmanship

Linda wrote Oakbridge's name and phone number on that small but significant piece of paper and took it to work.

Plans in Motion

In the evenings after work, Linda would sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper and draw out the house of her dreams. When she finally finished the rough plan, she decided to call Oakbridge. Although building the home was three years away, a sales representative responded, saying he was interested in seeing her ideas.

Over the next several years, Linda kept in touch with Oakbridge until the time finally came when they could get down to the serious work of making the home a reality. One of the most important things to be incorporated into the house would be a built-in wood-burning oven. Oakbridge would need to build the house around the 1,200-pound unit

"Once we finally settled on a floor plan that was within our budget, we began looking for a builder. The main problem we encountered was finding someone who was familiar with a timber frame home and had experience with the building cost surrounding this type of home," Linda says., After exhausting all other avenues, the couple eventually returned to Dick Gallup of Gallup & Gallup in Chapin, South Carolina. "Dick had never built a timber frame home, but he had been honest with us," she says. "He recommended that we act as the builders and hire a project manager."

"Since I already knew exactly what I wanted and just needed help orchestrating all the details, a project manager seemed perfect," she says. The couple agreed upon a price with Dick and the project officially began.

Barn Again

As a child, Linda often would visit her grandfather's farm. She has fond memories of playing in the big redbarn with her sister, Kay Pryor. When it came time to design their timber frame home, Linda took inspiration from those childhood experiences. Her floor plan for the "Red Barn" called for an entrance into a small hallway that opens directly into the great room. To the left of the entry is a staircase leading to the 400-square-foot second story with a bedroom, office and two large closets. A bar area is situated just past the staircase. To the right of the entry are the laundry room, a guest bathroom and a closet to hide all the wires for the built-in television and stereo system

A large square brick structure takes center stage in the great room, A gas fireplace was installed on the portion facing the living room, while Linda's pizza oven, purchased from Mugnaini Imports in Watsonville, California, opens on the opposite side in the kitchen and dining area. Installing the beloved pizza oven was no small feat since it had to be lifted into the home with a crane once the timber frame was finished.

frame was finished. "Because Chris and I both have mothers who are widowed, we placed an in-law apartment suite in our lower level," Linda explains. About a third of the lower level is finished with a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bath. The remaining 1,100 square feet accommodate the two-car garage and workshop that Chris requested.

The Journey Continues

The memorable day the Goodmans closed on their new timber frame home was Chris's 44th birthday. Their son Jesse had only three weeks of school left and life seemed to be good.

"Unfortunately, we ran out of funds before we were able to lay sod or do any landscaping," Linda says. "We weren't worried because we knew we would eventually be able to sod our yard." What they didn't know was that Chris had lung cancer and would become very ill and unable to do any type of yard work.

"Many miracles took place during this time," Linda says. One of the most generous acts was when Chris's employer, Masterfoods USA, and 57 of their employees came to the home and laid 19 pallets of donated sod and planted shrubbery. John Metts, also an employee of Masterfoods USA, assembled a crew from work and installed an elaborate sprinkler system for them. "Chris and I just can't say enough about the generosity of so many of our friends and family, over the past two and a half years," Linda says

Even though Chris is in full remission, his health has suffered as a result of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. The Goodmans have decided it's time to return to Illinois to be near family and friends and are saying a sad goodbye to their timber frame home.

"This home is a dream come true," Linda says. "We are so proud of our efforts and of all of those people who worked alongside of us. We will always have the photos and memories of our beautiful timber frame home."

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