By C.W. CAMERON
For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/16/08
Who: Juliette and Randy Chatham; Juliette, 38, is a State Farm insurance agent. Randy, 41, owns BSI Mechanical, providers of industrial equipment.
What: A three-bedroom, three-bath home with loft, game room and wraparound porches. "With the exception of the couch and the pool table, every stick of furniture is one-of-a-kind handmade. I even designed some of the furniture to fit in particular areas and to suit particular uses I had in mind. We wanted to keep a big-scale, woodsy feeling of being in a log cabin," says Randy.
|Christopher Oquendo/Special (ENLARGE)|
Randy and Juliette Chatham originally planned to rent out their home. But they quickly decided to keep it for themselves.
When bought: August 2006
How long does it take to get there? It's an hour and 15 minutes to travel the 80 miles from their home in Woodstock. "We've been up there all but three weekends in the 18 months we've owned the house," says Randy.
Randy tells us more about his mountain home.
How did they decide where to buy? "We started off looking around both Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg. I quickly realized we wouldn't use a house as far away as Tennessee, so we decided on North Georgia. I was probably a real estate agent's worst nightmare. I carried a compass with me so I could be sure I'd know where the sun was going to set. We looked for no less than six months until we found the perfect house. It has a long-range mountain view, is close to amenities and had a large two-acre lot.
Not the original plan: "I originally set out thinking I would buy some investment property - a house we could use occasionally but rent out to make money on the side. Once we bought this place and started getting it set up, that changed. We fell in love with it and have never rented it.
What they do while they're there: "We can walk down the hill and go horseback riding - and plan to buy horses to board there in the future. I spend some of my time just tinkering with the house. I've done some landscaping, built a retaining wall, finished out the bottom level and remodeled the master bath. I even like to go shopping in Blue Ridge. But my biggest new hobby up here is four-wheeling.
Advice for other vacation home shoppers: "Pay attention to the workmanship. I was very picky about the quality of the craftsmanship in the house; as well as the view and the way the house sits on the lot. Keep looking until you find the right home. I'm certainly glad we waited until we found what I think is the perfect home. And don't forget the value of an agent who's willing to spend the time helping you find just the right place."
Rachel Callihan has lived in Cashes Valley all her life. Now a Realtor with Georgia Mountain & Lake Properties, she says her family has been in the area "since the beginning of Fannin County. My dad, Winston Callihan, says this was once a big moonshine area, and it used to be called 'Cash on the Barrel,' which was shortened to 'Cashes' Valley. It's one of the few places in the world you can find fairy crosses" - staurolite crystals joined to form the shape of a cross. They're considered to be good-luck pieces, and staurolite is the state mineral of Georgia.
"Most of the large tracts of land in the valley have been broken up into developable lots, so the largest tract available right now is just under 11 acres," she says. "We've got large subdivisions and a few smaller ones, too. Lots are going to be $100,000-plus and a three-bedroom, three-bath cabin with a view would be $300,000 to $400,000."
255 North Cashes Valley Overlook: three-bedroom, three-bath cabin, two fireplaces, two decks, two porches; 1.61 acres; view of Frog Mountain, the highest mountain between here and Texas; $379,900.
765 Cashes Valley Road: 10.8-acre tract, part pasture, part wooded, some pasture fenced in; more than 1,000 feet frontage on McClure Creek; $324,000
200 Callihan Branch Drive; three-bedroom, two-bath log home; 28-by-30-foot garage; bonus room; 6 acres; 1,200 feet frontage on Callihan Branch Creek; $600,000
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