Imagine sitting out on the veranda of a rustic log home at dusk, serenaded by the frogs of spring. The Carolina jessamine is beginning to bloom in earnest as it curls along the porch rail and the view is priceless all right it does come with a price but worth every penny, you think. In fact, Lookout Highlands, along the western brow of Lookout Mountain has obvious extraordinary features that people, common and refined, have treasured for centuries.
The elevation and the views are complemented by mature hardwoods, rock promontories and dotted with mountaintop ponds, streams and waterfalls. Secluded and serene, this collection of unique homes does not scream for attention from passer-by, or loom imperiously behind stately manicured lawns. Everything has been left quite naturally intact, from limestone formations to vintage evergreens.
"Theyve gone to great lengths to keep this place as natural as possible and of all the developments you see today, there is none like it. I think most people will be impressed with that fact, says Pep Grimes of Lookout Mountain Real Estate. LLC, whose office is directly across the highway from Lookout Highlands gate.
The log homes so discreetly tucked away in the trees are not meant to take away from the essential beauty of the mountain. On the contrary, they seem to be the supporting cast to it, even though none is needed. The unusual thing about many of the homes is they are both new and old at the same time. These log homes, created by the Walden Log Homes Company of Lookout Mountain, have been constructed from reclaimed and rehabilitated 19th Century antique materials. They have the look and feel of a well-established homestead. Walk inside, however, and the bright open spaces, high tech amenities and thoughtful floor plans will remind you that youre in a new home, one that meets new expectations.
Weekend residents, Alan and Susan Rogers, purchased one of the cabins and they revel in its relaxed comfort. "It fits us like an old shoe, says Susan. The Rogers drive up form Birmingham where Alan works as an attorney. The couple has three children two in college and an eight-year-old. Rogers adds, "Children just have more freedom up there.
Pep Grimes and his wife, Ann, have lived in Lookout Highlands fulltime for almost two years. Their spacious home with its broad view of the lake is shared with their three Labrador retrievers Hunter, Jabez, and Eloise. Decorated in Adirondack-style cabin furnishings spiced with treasures from offshore travels, the home is a delightful expression of their interests and offers plenty of useful amenities.
The mountain stone fireplace rises to the ceiling; its custom wrought iron firescreen depicts two Labs hunting wild ducks. The open kitchen design incorporates custom cabinetry, a double-oven with a cooktop and solid surface countertops. A fire-pit out back at the edge of a 20-acre lake is the scene for the type of casual entertaining they enjoy.
"We love it! Its peaceful and quiet, says Ann. "This year Ill have a full garden in pots on my back deck. That seems perfectly practical when you discover that wild deer and wild turkey occasionally forage in the yard.
Ann and Pep are also real estate agents for the community they enjoy living in. "Most of the people who live in Lookout Highlands have similar interest to ours they enjoy nature, says Ann. "We like to fish and hike. The Grimes have neighbors whove purchased property on the mountain from as far away as Montana and New Hampshire. One couple has another home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and slightly breaks with Southern Appalachian tradition by displaying a modest totem from the Pacific Northwest by the wooden entrance to their property. Many of the homes are not visible from their driveways a testament to the attention to personal privacy the developer is providing. There are three unique spec homes by architect Ralph Cheek, all works of art in themselves. Which have been designed specifically for Lookout Highlands rustic environment.
Developer George McGee, a fourth generation Lookout Mountain resident, says people from Florida and metropolitan areas of Birmingham and Atlanta are noticing Lookout Highlands. "The key is we dont have postage stamp lots and there is a great deal of park land for use by owners. All ponds and lakes are open to all residents, even if they dont live directly on one of them, says McGee. And the mountain sanctuary "attracts people who want nature to be the amenity. Lookout Highlands 2,000-acres parcel has four lakes and 600 acres of parkland for general use by residents.
It's not unusual for some second-home owners to live nearby. "There are seven homeowners whose primary residence is on the north end of Lookout Mountain, says Pep Grimes. In fact, Grimes himself moved from the north end of Lookout Mountain, only 22 miles away. We owned the property for 13 years and began spending more and more time here, Grimes says.
"It was an irresistible attraction.--- Debbie Petticord CM
CHATTANOOGA Magazine Spring 05 VOL. 15, No. 1
Awesome Authenticity FROM WALDEN
Hand cut, peeled and notched over a century ago, the logs that go into every one of Scott Kelley's Walden Log Homes are timelessly beautiful and unique. The company actually builds each home at their Tennessee headquarters from reclaimed and rehabilitated materials and, after the new owner has inspected and approved the home, it is disassembled and shipped to the homeowner's site anywhere in the country.
For twenty years Kelley has built quality homes and has gained a reputation as a perfectionist, recreating authentic and historic homes all with modern amenities, light-filled interiors, as well as state-of-the-art bathrooms and kitchens.
“I have lived in one of my log homes since my oldest boy was a toddler," says Kelley.
“Every log home I build, I build as though my family and I will be living in it ourselves." --- Debbie Petticord
CHATTANOOGA Magazine Spring 05 VOL. 15, No. 1