Hey Y'all! I’m Karen Tillery, I am a Christ following wife and mom of four, a log cabin loving designer and decorator, and the crazy queen of up-cycling everything possible. I am a Birmingham born southern girl and an Auburn University graduate in Graphic Design. My career has spanned the gamut from an illustrator and designer with Oxmoor House Publishing, to a full time stay-at home mom and part time art teacher to owner of Restoration Log Cabins in North Alabama. My business combines my passion for history and construction with my design skills by renovating and restoring 1800’s log cabins. My formal training in regards to color, balance and space partnered with 24 years of renovation and construction experience and reinventing 1800’s log cabins, have given me a special insight into designing living spaces that are not only functional but comfortable and inviting. My fine art and illustration skills have given me the ability to draw the concepts of my designs so that other people can see my vision before it is even a reality. When you love your job as much as I do it hardly even seems like work! My husband and I have lived in Huntsville, Al for 22 years and have raised all 4 of our children here. I have a unique story of the “accomplishments of an art major” that I would love to share with you. I salvage, rebuild, renovate and restore 1800s log cabins. I have been doing this crazy hobby turned passion turned career for almost 15 years now. What started as one log home on the lake for our family has turned into a much, much bigger thing than I ever could have imagined. I work with and have been featured multiple times on the DIY Network show, Barnwood Builders, starring Mark Bowe. I redesign and help create modern homes into the timeless exteriors of the old log cabins that Barnwood Builders save from destruction. Working with the guys for 4 of their 7 seasons has been an absolute blast.
Burns Bluff at High Falls My own latest project is a 65 acre mountaintop log cabin community in North Alabama that my husband and myself are financing and “re-building” from the ground up using all reclaimed structures and materials wherever possible. This new community will feature 9 bluff front lots for custom built log cabin homes, a completely renovated almost 6,000 square foot vacation rental lodge, a bluff’s edge timber frame wedding pavilion, a wooden covered bridge, a pole barn turned dance hall with an awesome groom's room and every caterers dream catering kitchen. Mark Bowe will be providing the reclaimed structures and I will be the designer and as a licensed Alabama home contractor, also the builder on all of these structures. When the community is complete, we will have close 2 dozen reclaimed structures that will have a second chance at life.
I invite you to take a look at a few of the Barnwood Builder epsiodes I have been blessed to be a part of:
Season 3, Episode 7Building a Double Pen Log Vacation Rental The Barnwood Builders work with one of their most passionate and knowledgeable clients yet. Together, they build a huge double pen log cabin on a platform 13 feet off the ground. This will be the master suite on a high-end vacation rental. Mark builds the outside. Karen designs the interior.
Season 5, Episode 7 Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding in Gatlinburg, TN Mark and the guys travel to Gatlinburg, TN, to replace a log home lost in the 2016 wildfires. They bring with them the Beam Cabin they built on the yard last year, but it's no easy feat to move these massive logs up a narrow mountain pass. Designer Karen Tillery works with Mark to renovate on the fly.
Season 6, Episode 1Fancy Cabin Takedown in Minor Hill Mark Bowe and his crew work through layers of architectural history to uncover an original pioneer home in Minor Hill, Tennessee, and they hear stories from family members who lived in the cabin. Mark also visits a beautifully restored log home with its own extensive family history.
Season 6, Episode 2Log Castle in Cave Spring, GA The Barnwood Builders turn one of the biggest barns they've ever saved into an even bigger home. They work through sweltering heat to transform the Ohio double-pen barn into a huge log home in Cave Spring, Georgia. Mark also visits a small log cabin with a lot of charm and gets his first look at the completed Alabama dog trot the guys stacked for a client.
Season 7, Episode 8 Modern Mansion Makeover The Barnwood Builders give a modern mansion a complete log cabin makeover complete with log skins and a stacked log entryway. The pressure is on, however, as this home will act as the centerpiece for an entire log cabin community. Mark then tours a completely restored and redesigned pioneer cabin that was moved in one piece. (This episode is about our new development)
Season 7, Episode 9 Alabama Lake House The Barnwood Builders fight through mud and heat to turn the salvaged Shaver House from West Virginia into a two-story lake house in Alabama. Mark experiments with new construction products, and everyone ends up in the lake.