Country Living


_ebv2643The McCracken Family found a perfect retreat in Limestone Springs.

Written by Joe O’Donnell

Photography by Edward Badham

For Gayla McCracken, the family home in Limestone Springs in Blount County offers the best combination of city convenience and country beauty she and her husband Ron could find.

“We knew we wanted to have acreage with country living, but having street lights, curbs, lakes and a beautiful golf course was very appealing also. Limestone Springs was able to offer all of this. It is far enough out of town, but close enough to still work and shop in the city,” Gayla says.

Ron and Gayla have been married for 23 years. They have two sons, Logan, 18, and Brodie, 14. Logan is in Jacksonville, Fla. at Tulsa Welding School. Brodie is at Oneonta High School, where he plays on the baseball team.

Ron is self employed in the logistics business. Gayla has worked almost 24 years at Alacare Home Health & Hospice as a Human Resources Coordinator.

“We knew we wanted to be in the Blount County area because our children were attending Oneonta City Schools. We had driven through the Limestone Springs community many times and loved the look and feel of the neighborhood. We viewed several pieces of property outside of the neighborhood, but kept coming back to Limestone Springs,” Gayla says.

The couple purchased two lots that averaged about three acres. Prior to construction they settled on a plan for a one-level, 3,000-square-foot home with a basement. They wanted an open concept with three large bedrooms. In the time leading up to the decision, they spent hours looking at house plans online and running into the classic conundrum of liking the exterior of one house and the interior of another.

“We never found our perfect plan until our builder, Jeff Brown with Cross Creek Custom Homes, put us in touch with Paul Gilbert of Distinctive Designs. He was able to take our ideas and our copies of pictures from Google and Pinterest and draw a customized set of plans that were perfect for us,” Gayla says.

The landscape for the home site seemed to be a challenge at first with large boulders on the property. Landscaper Gary Kelly with Legacy Landscaping was able to incorporate these boulders into the landscape design, making it one of the family’s favorite parts of the home’s exterior. LED lighting on the outside was a great addition to the house’s nightscape.

_ebv2523Inside the home, the open concept yields a great place to entertain and spend family time. The 9.5-foot island allows everyone to gather around and have plenty of room. “I love to cook and bake so having Wolfe appliances is making the cooking experience even better. The custom-made range hood from Tip’s Cabinet Shop is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen. We like the look of it with our cabinets. We have a very functional kitchen with lots of extras,” she says.

Among Gayla’s favorite aspects of the house are the custom beams in the family room from River Bottom Pine. “I took a picture I found on Pinterest and they were able to create the exact look. They also did our reclaimed white oak flooring.” The soaking tub in the master bath with the chandelier above is also one of Gayla’s favorite elements of the house.

Ron has many favorite parts of the house, too. The 12-foot poured walls in the basement make for a powerful statement. Ron wanted to be able to pull his truck, off-road vehicles, camping trailer and a golf cart into the basement and still have room to work. Ron also enjoys grilling, watching TV and relaxing on the open deck where the vaulted tongue-and-groove ceiling with cedar trim helps to create a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

Builder Jeff Brown, Cross Creek Custom Homes, was able to visualize elements of the house prior to construction. For example, he designed the stone columns on the back of the deck. They added the perfect touch to the back the house.  “Working with Jeff and his contractors was great. We were able to ask questions and make changes along the way. He was more than willing to customize anything we wanted and even made many suggestions along the way that were excellent,” Gayla says.•

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