Written by: M. Patrick LE COUTEULX, France
I’ve always been passionate about the U.S. country lifestyle. In 2012, my girlfriend and I bought a big piece of property (more than 23 acres of pine forestry – considered a big piece of land for France!) in central France, near the volcano area. The property already had a medium-sized traditional home on it. We wanted to develop a project based on tourism and with American log cabins and log homes.
As I am almost fluent in English, my goal was to use this skill at a professional level and buy some log cabins from an American log home company. It was a very exciting challenge! After a few contacts with different companies from both the U.S. and Canada, I finally came in contact with Jim Barna Log & Timber Homes of Oneida, Tennessee.
It will probably be hard for you to believe me when I say that the easy part for me was to plan (in English, of course) with Jim Barna for a custom log cabin, compared to the hard work I had to deal with the French administration to obtain a building permit in my mountain area! But that’s the truth. My contact with this company was through the International Sales Manager – Zoltan Obrusanszki – a nice guy full of energy who took care of me and my project with a lot of professionalism and patience (almost 3 years between my first contact and the moment I was ready to place my final order!).
Originally focused on a log cabin based on Jim Barna’s standard “Gray Drake” plan basis, I had to change my mind because my building permit application was denied (the problem was not about the cabin but about my location, “too far from my neighbors’ houses” -according to the French administration-which means almost half a mile!), so we decided, with Zoltan, to change the order from the customized Gray Drake model to 3 smaller log cabins in sizes that fall below the floor area limit of building permit requirements.
In less than two months, the order was ready to leave Jim Barna’s facilities and to travel overseas. The first cabin has been available for vacation rental since Summer 2017 and the plan is to build cabin number 2 and 3 (both are already on the property) this coming Spring.
The concept is to organize some U.S country style vacations, especially for French country dancers (yes, we love to dance to American country music, with our cowboy hats and boots on and to eat some marshmallows around the campfire) and for western style horseback riders. British and American people who want to discover how we reproduce what we think is the U.S. country lifestyle here in France are welcome!