Atlantans who escape to the lake, beach and mountains are enjoying the scenery and activities in vacation homes that are nothing like their primary residences.
Some Atlanta builders involved with communities attracting second home buyers are forgoing traditional brick exteriors for materials such as stone, board and batten, stucco, or tabby (a mixture of sand, water, shells and lime). Architects are designing homes with extra structures such as carriage houses, which offer private space for guests, as well as golf cart and potting sheds. Wood ceilings and beams, reclaimed hardwoods and rustic light fixtures are making vacation homes just as special as full-time residences.
More glass and windows are being used to fulfill homeowners’ desire to draw attention to the backyard and views, said Mike Elrod, president of Duluth-based Currahee Home Builders, a builder in Currahee Club on Lake Hartwell.
“At Currahee Club, you can live on the lake and still have mountain views. There’s a lot of living out back,” Elrod said. “We’re doing huge back porches, summer kitchens, outdoor dining, large screened porches; we’re even doing screened sleeping areas.”
You cannot put in enough screened porches, says Chris Willis, vice president of The Providence Group/Jolly Development, a Suwanee-based company building in Oldfield, a South Carolina community. Items from the past, such as cast-iron syrup kettles, also are being incorporated into the outdoors, holding water features in the summer. In communities such as Oldfield, designs for a custom home have to be approved by an architectural review board to ensure it fits with the low-country style, said David Tufts, president of The Marketing Directors in Atlanta, which is handling sales and marketing for Oldfield. Tufts owns a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath river cottage in Oldfield designed by Historical Concepts, a traditional architecture firm with offices in Atlanta and Peachtree City..
“The main thing is you want it to be different. It has to feel like a retreat,” says Mary Ellen Motter, an interior designer and owner of Classic Home Accents, based in Johns Creek. ”It needs to be very different from their main home, but still the comfort of what they still like within their taste.”
The second homes built by two Atlanta families show what it takes to strike that balance.
Location: Oldfield, in Okatie, S.C., about 20 minutes from Hilton Head, S.C. New and resale homes range from the $400,000s to $1.5 million.
The home: A new four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home with a little more than 4,100 square feet, and a one-bedroom, one-bath carriage house, built by Jolly Development/The Providence Group. The property incorporated three key features that homeowner Russ Reynolds, CEO of Batteries Plus, and his wife, Lisa, desired: master on the main, the low-country look and the carriage house. “If we have visitors, there’s a studio apartment over the garage where people have their own space,” he said.
Vacation-friendly interiors: The Reynolds chose hardwood floors to endure wear and tear, and there’s less ornate trim work and crown molding. Decor choices include linen fabrics, rugs made of natural fibers such as sisal and fabrics with a botanical pattern. “You want the interior to reflect the nature that’s around you. That’s what Oldfield is about,” Motter said. The master bathroom floors, from Traditions in Tile, look like dock planks. Lanterns and sconces were made of hand-forged iron by MSM 4 Imports at Scott Antique Markets.
Outdoors emphasis: Although the Reynolds family has a pool at their Johns Creek home, they decided against one in Oldfield, which is on the Okatie River. The kids can walk out their back door and throw a line in the water, Russ Reynolds said. The amenities - an outfitters center, Greg Norman-designed golf course, and sports club with tennis courts, fitness facilities, and indoor and outdoor pools - appealed to the couple and kids Nicole, Kylie, Matt and Ty (5 to 20 years old).
The tip: If using an existing home design, hire an architect to discuss whether the layout and room sizes will fit your vacation lifestyle. “As we thought about a home we really wanted for the long haul, we wanted to get all the features right,” Russ Reynolds said.
Close to nature in North Georgia
Location: Currahee Club on Lake Hartwell, in Toccoa, about 100 miles from Atlanta. The gated community is the site of the 2013 Southern Living Showcase Home by Dillard-Jones Builders, which will be open from August to December. Homes range from $300,000 to more than $1 million.
The house: A five-bedroom, five-bath home with about 5,900 square feet (including the finished basement) has stacked stone, board and batten, and metal roof accents on the exterior. Once inside, the look shifts to a rustic contemporary style. An open stairway with 3-inch, free-floating mahogany treads and a glass railing wraps around the perimeter of the foyer.
Matt and Kristen Clements, whose primary residence is in Snellville, designed the home and started construction in 2008. The builder was unable to complete the home early on, so the Clements took over construction and spent about three years building the home, assisted by master carpenter Jeff Brosey. The final product was a masterpiece, said Matt, who owns a business that provides architectural specialty finish products in the commercial construction industry.
Vacation-friendly interiors: The living room is one step down from the kitchen, which has white quartz kitchen countertops, aqua glass backsplash and quarter sewn oak cabinets. The back of the home is glass, so when people walk into the foyer or are in the kitchen, they view the entire lake, he said. The home can accommodate 14 people, all nestled in beds. One bedroom is a bunkroom consisting of double-size, built-in bunk beds and a loft for their children, Sophia, 10, and Nick, 13, and their friends. The master suite comprises the entire upstairs, with a private porch overlooking the lake. The finished basement offers another bedroom and full bath, plus a living space with a bar and game room. The lower entry garage has a ton of storage for rafts and lake gear. Back stairs lead to an apartment above the garage with a king-sized bed and two single beds.
Outdoors emphasis: A 12-by-50 foot covered porch is accessible from 8-by-16 foot sliding glass doors in the main living area. Another set of 8-by-16 foot sliding glass doors open to the screened in-porch, outfitted with a stainless steel grill and oven and a huge natural rock fireplace. There’s also a dock for their boat.
The tip: Make sure the amenities and home style fit what you’re seeking in a vacation property. Currahee Club’s 18-hole Jim Fazio-designed golf course, 48,000-square-foot clubhouse and amenity center that opened in May (with a zero-entry pool, grand lawn, tennis courts, sports club and grill, garden and playroom) and family-oriented activities such as movies on the lawn and the award-winning golf club meant a lot to the Clements family.