Back In BusinessA lakeside getaway creates a new life and a new livelihood for one Georgia couple.
By Barbara Jacksier, Log Homes Design, March 2008
Pattie and Geary Clayton have always loved living in Atlanta. With its active nightlife and culture, they found the big-city vibe exciting. But, like many urban dwellers, they soon felt the urge to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Pattie, a Georgia native, started to dream about a peaceful weekend getaway where she could relax and unwind. And Geary, a Tennessee-born transplant, wanted a home on the water, where he could indulge his two favorite pastimes: boating and fishing.
For several years, the Claytons searched for a place to build their second home, all the while studying log home floor plans and researching providers. Finally, in 1990, they found the perfect lot on Lake Oconee, about 90 miles east of Atlanta. They also found the perfect log home company for their project: Tennessee-based Honest Abe Log Homes.
“Like many of our customers, Pattie and Geary came to us with their plan sketched on a piece of notebook paper,” recalls Josh Beasley, vice president of marketing with Honest Abe. But soon, with a little help from Honest Abe’s design team, the couple’s 3,100-square-foot, three-bedroom dream design was complete.
The Claytons chose a dry-in package, which included the walls and roof system, windows, exterior doors and trim, porches and flooring. The 8-by-8-inch kiln-dried eastern white pine logs were milled in a “D” profile and locked together with a single tongue-and-groove.
“We chose this style because it’s rounded on the outside of the house, but flat on the inside, making it easy to hang pictures and collectibles on the walls,” Pattie notes.
A foam gasket and wood-binding sealer were applied between each course before fastening.
Not long after the house was finished, Pattie and Geary were sitting on their porch, when a couple pulled up in a boat and inquired about their log home. Pattie invited them inside, flattered that total strangers would drop in to admire her home. As time went by, however, they discovered that first visit wasn’t an isolated incident. Log homes were uncommon in the area, and local residents were amazed to see one.
“People kept stopping by. Next thing we knew, we were giving tours regularly,” Pattie says with a laugh. “Since we were constantly showing the house and talking about the benefits of building with logs, Geary suggested we become log dealers — and that’s what we did!”
Two years ago, with their new business, Clayton Builders, firmly established, Pattie and Geary found that they’d outgrown their vacation home. With two daughters, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren who all visit often, they needed more living space.
But instead of moving out, Pattie designed an octagonal addition to their current home, featuring large windows, a Cultured Stone hearth and a 17-foot, tongue-and-groove ceiling. This time, the builder was an obvious choice — Geary’s company took on the job.
The Claytons also added a large dining room where the whole family could gather, a spacious office and a detached three-car garage with carriage-house style doors. By installing pine plank flooring throughout, the new addition blends seamlessly with the original structure.
“My daughter Kim is an interior decorator. She helped me choose a palette of natural earth tones with red accents to give the house a unified look,” says Pattie.
Although log houses are more common now in Georgia, people still stop by all the time to ask the Claytons about their home.
“We tell people it’s a different lifestyle,” Pattie says. “What I love most is the way it makes you feel when you walk in the door. It’s that warm, cozy feeling you get when you’ve truly come home.”
Photography by James Ray Spahn
Styling by Coleen Macomber