Richard Aiken is a 65-year-old self-described “hillbilly,” but he’s also much more than that. He’s a dad and a husband. He has two PhDs and — oh yeah, a medical degree, too. It doesn’t stop there: he’s also an opera singer and wrote the book The New Ancestral Diet. Not to rub it in too hard, but he also happens to be a pretty talented builder as well.

Richard had always dreamed of living in the woods, but he worried that money wasn’t as readily available as he’d hoped. However, when someone from Missouri told him about their log cabin that had seen better days, Richard knew he would have his chance to finally achieve his dreams!

When Richard arrived, the cabin was very much in disrepair. Most of the wood had rotted out.

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The roof had caved in, and there were piles of rubbish everywhere.

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 While the man from Missouri offered him the cabin free of charge, Richard gave him $100, because he’s a good guy!

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Richard had a plan for the cabin, despite its grisly appearance. He labeled each piece of wood and got rid of the garbage.

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While it doesn’t look like much here, trust that Richard has a vision for its future…and one heck of a view, too!

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He was extremely pleased when he found a spring close to the cabin.

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He and his family reached the rock base after digging into the beautiful spring with a shovel. That’s when Richard was able to clear a path in the lake using a bulldozer so he could build a dock.

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All of this hard work and dedication prepared him to start rebuilding his dream cabin.

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His desire was to “remain true to the spirit of the original construction,” which as you can imagine, was easier said than done. For example, they had reached the bedrock at six feet under the surface, and they hadn’t anticipated having to construct the cabin a few feet above the ground.

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He filled the basement with concrete, and much to his dismay, Richard was forced to get materials from living trees. With this method, though, he was able to construct the front porch he so desired. 

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He installed a Rumford fireplace, which were commonly seen between the late 1700s and mid 1800s.

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He conserved wood by building the steps to the cabin out of an oak tree which had fallen down naturally.

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However, he had his doors created by a professional carpenter.

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He used chicken wire netting to fill in the gaps between the wood.

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This is a panoramic glimpse of the inside.

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Their Amish neighbors built the family a harvest table using a walnut tree that had fallen.

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There’s plenty of natural light to go around, and they even have a candle chandelier.

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They’ve installed quite the cozy-looking bed in their loft.

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Just look at that amazing hearth. It’s so versatile!

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The restoration process took a total of 10 years, but from the looks of it, I’d say it was worth it.

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Just take a look at these before-and-after photos:

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Just wow.

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Though they continue to do repairs to the cabin’s exterior, they are still able to enjoy it and live inside.

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The Aikens even celebrated a Native American-inspired Thanksgiving in the cabin.

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Did we mention that it was completely vegan, too?

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Richard views the cabin as an ongoing project, and while he enjoys staying there, it may never truly be complete.

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There’s no denying that Richard is passionate about his log cabin. I know if I was that talented, I’d be building myself things like that, too! Here’s hoping that he inspires us all to achieve our dream homes one day.