From Past to Present

By Alexandra Hruz
Photography by Med Dement

With enviable views of Lookout Mountain, this home in Rossville, Georgia features distinctive décor that showcases rich history.

Contractor: Henley Brothers Construction Company Inc.

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In the countryside of north Georgia, picturesque winding roads guide past lush meadows and abundant copses, and at the top of one of the area’s rolling hills sits this splendid residence. A circular drive made of pea gravel guides visitors to the front of the home, and an elegant fountain adds an extra touch of style. The home’s exterior, a cypress wood sealed in a tinted light gray shade, contrasts perfectly with its reclaimed roof. White columns line the stamped concrete porch, and hand-crafted gas lamps create an inviting entrance.

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Nearly every plank of wood, décor, and beam used in the home’s construction tells an interesting tale. The homeowner spent decades gathering the pieces for this home—from chandeliers to wood columns to floor planks—and stored them until he was ready to have this masterpiece built.

“The whole project took about two years. We set a shop up in the middle of the woods for a year—there was a lot of cutting in this house!” says builder Clay Henley, of Henley Brothers Construction. “Everything in the house is some kind of cypress. Some of it’s blonde, some of it’s blue, and some of it’s pecky.”

Upon entering the residence, rich woods in different shades, sizes, and patterns create a warm and comfortable vibe. The home’s front door, as well as the interior doors in the home, came from the Garden District in New Orleans and date back to the 1850s. In the foyer, vaulted ceilings are highlighted by epic beams. Huge floor-to-ceiling solid heart pine columns, salvaged from the New Orleans Trade Mart before it was demolished, are more than 200 years old.

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To the right of the entrance is the living room. Pocket doors that date back to the 1850s allow the room to be closed off or left open. Cypress paneling lines the walls, and vintage furnishings lend a stately feel to the space. A distinctive “Georgia Peach” marble fireplace brings a pop of color, and the mantel, recovered from a New Orleans home built in the 1800s, continues the historic trend.

Directly across the entryway from the living room is the formal dining space. Pocket doors that match those for the living space can be closed for an intimate dining experience. A long table dominates the middle of the room, allowing for plenty of guests. Above the table, an antique chandelier from the French Quarter dazzles and offers a cozy glow. To accent the chandelier, a darker shade of cypress was placed on the ceiling. Oil paintings grace the room’s walls, and vintage furnishings give an elegant feel.

Through the main foyer, the double tongue and groove heart pine flooring flows to the back of the home. To break up the look, a patterned floor design separates the entrance hall from the kitchen and back den. Two masterfully crafted columns flank the space and provide extra grandeur. The walls and ceiling here are made of pecky cypress, and the distinctive look of the wood is a visually stunning addition to the home.

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Once in the den and kitchen area, comfortable furnishings and rustic décor enhance the charm of the den. A stacked stone fireplace highlights the lofty ceilings. Adjoining the den, the kitchen continues the open floor plan. A long table with complementary benches is ideal for hosting a fun family dinner. Both the table and the benches were made from 200-year-old beams. Cypress cabinetry offers plenty of storage and seamlessly hides the kitchen’s large appliances. Recessed lighting shines on the richly colored appointments and warms the chestnut and cherry tones in the various woods. Bell-shaped vintage fixtures cast a cozy glow and add character.

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Beautiful beam work draws the eye up to the ceiling where a loft space overlooks the den and kitchen area. The distinctive design of the upstairs wrought iron railing is another unique and historical addition to the home— the railing once graced a mansion on Canal Street in New Orleans and dates back to the 1700s. Two guest bedrooms are tucked into the upstairs space, each boasting cedar-lined closets and sumptuous furnishings.

Throughout the home, some of the wood was set at an angle, which serves more than one purpose. “We angled some of the wood to break up the look of the vertical planks. It also helps to make the home sturdier,” Henley says.

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Down a hallway from the kitchen is the master suite, whererustic elements and amazing architecture combine to make an unforgettable retreat. Huge windows on three sides of the room bring the landscape inside, and vaulted ceilings create an epic place to rest and reflect. Hand-carved columns, matching others in the home, serve as a divider between the office and master bed. A floor-to-ceiling stacked stone fireplace separates the master bedroom from a sitting area where matching chairs with a blue-and cream pattern flank the door to the room’s private balcony.

“The whole master bedroom is a very open space,” Henley explains. “We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and the view of Lookout Mountain.”

Every part of this home was lovingly curated to create a place full of character, and the incredible craftsmanship seen throughout is a testament to the skill of the builder. This gem, tucked deep in the countryside and rich in history, is sure to be a timeless fixture for years to come.