Mountaintop Marvel

by Katie Faulkner | photography by Philip Slowiak


owners of elegant mountaintop home chattanooga

Suzanne and Larry Montague with their dog, Alex


For this couple who loves to travel, building a home in the mountains had been their dream pursuit for years. Larry and Suzanne Montague enjoy exploring new places, trying new foods, and experiencing new things together. Those interests, paired with Larry’s work travel, made this mountain perch near Chattanooga the perfect place to build. Executed by Broadleaf Residential, this sprawling industrial farmhouse became their dream dwelling.

Originally from Memphis, Larry explains how they found the special spot. “I have to drive to Atlanta all the time for work, and on the way back from one of our trips, we drove through this area and fell in love with it. So we put in an offer that same day,” Larry explains.

The exterior of this custom house strikes a pleasant balance between a mountain home and farmhouse. It features crisp white siding on the gabled peaks, like a traditional farmhouse, and pairs these elements with wooden trusses and stacked stone for added rusticism. Walking through the French doors, the home opens into a two-story foyer surrounded with dark walnut stained pillars. The couple’s original kitchen table sits in the center of the room, a gorgeous match for the round chandelier directly overhead. To one side, you can go upstairs to multiple guest rooms. To the other side, you can walk into the main living areas.

At the front of the house is this fresh, modern kitchen. White cabinetry and solid light gray countertops work well with a mixed gray and white tile backsplash that wraps the room. The Montagues love to cook together. In particular, they love to discover new dishes while traveling and then come home and find ways to put their own healthy spin on it. So naturally, they both enjoy using the new steam oven. “The oven is great for cooking at this slightly higher altitude, and it’s also a great way to warm up leftovers. It keeps moisture in very well,” Suzanne explains. Another fun feature is the charming pantry door that Suzanne designed. She incorporated the rustic wood finish paired with a rain glass insert.

With all the living spaces open to each other, every room benefits from the sweeping views outside the living room windows. In the adjoining dining room, a gray-washed pedestal farmhouse table makes an elegant impression. A low bench provides seating that does not obscure the view or sight lines through the open living spaces. The console table on the nearby wall is a special antique piece that the Montagues found in Atlanta; it’s an old printer’s table from Spain that is over 100 years old. Its naturally weathered patina adds an established aesthetic to this open dining room. Above it hangs one of Suzanne’s favorite pieces of art. “That is a Sarah Robertson painting. We have several throughout the house, but this one is special to me because we bought it right after we returned from France. It just reminded me of our time in Nice, France,” Suzanne explains.

Continuing into the living room, the stacked stone fireplace with a heavy rustic mantle anchors the room, while the wash of natural sunlight lends a cheerful and uplifting ambiance. Two more Sarah Robertson paintings are featured in this room. The painting above the mantle was selected because it reminded Larry of his uncle’s farm in Somerville, Tennessee, where he spent a lot of time as a child. Sumptuous furniture adds a respite complete with beautiful sights from the nearby wall of windows.

Also on the main level is the master suite. In this serene room, the walls are a blue-gray shade, with an off-white coffered ceiling adding elegance. There is plenty of space for a seating area by the sunny windows, and the Montagues’ plush linen bedding rounds out the cozy and relaxing environment.

The en suite glows in airy shades of silvery white and gray. Tinges of blue evoke a soothing feeling, while white and gray marbled tile provide a crisp and clean backdrop to this spa-like master bathroom. The walk-in shower contains a large bench seat for a perfect spot to relax.

From the master suite, you can also access the spacious back decks, where the Montagues spend a lot of time. “We love to have coffee and do a little devotional on the deck in the mornings,” Suzanne shares.

On the way downstairs is a cozy seating area. “This was supposed to be Larry’s man cave, but as the floor plan evolved, it changed a bit. Now it’s still his space, but it’s also kind of the entrance to the terrace level,” Suzanne explains. This seating area highlights a stacked stone fireplace just like the living room’s. The plush chairs make for a comfortable place to prop one’s feet up for a few moments. The framed American flag above the mantle and military photographs on the wall are memorabilia from World War I and World War II saved by Larry and Suzanne’s fathers as well as Suzanne’s great grandfather. The flag is from Suzanne’s great grandfather’s Navy ship in World War I and is a 48-star flag. The photos show both family members with their units. Larry shares, “Dad was in the Pacific during World War II. He was actually on a ship when they dropped the first bomb. And Suzanne’s father was at Normandy. They were both sergeants in different parts of the world, so these are just really special pieces to us.”

Downstairs, the terrace level boasts plenty of amenities and extra space. There is a full wet bar, game tables, a wine tasting room, another dining room, and additional bedrooms and bathrooms. “The downstairs is perfect for when we have guests,” Suzanne says. “For this past Thanksgiving, we had about 19 or 20 people, and several were out-of-town guests. When they have this space down here to stay, it feels very private for them.”

Suzanne adds, “It is a very pleasing and comfortable home for us. We’re so happy to be able to entertain guests and enjoy all the beautiful views here.” CS

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