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Living Large

A Tennessee home boasts breathtaking views and seven master suites.
by Esther and Franklin Schmidt
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There’s nothing small about Ed and Sandy Atwell’s home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The logs are huge, the beams massive and the views of the Smoky Mountains spectacular.

One could feel overwhelmed in rooms whose walls contain Eastern white pine logs ranging from 12 to 22 inches in diameter and up to 40 feet long. They don’t dwarf the living spaces, though, because the rooms proportionately match the breadth and drama of those log walls, and expansive window fill the spaces with miles-wide mountain views.

They were first attracted to the east Tennessee mountains by two close friends who had built a log home in Gatlinburg. Ed and Sandy visited them there and loved the experience — the mountains and the log home — enough that they followed their friends’ example.

After buying three acres of land, the Atwells got in touch with Highlands Log Structures, the Abingdon, Virginia, company that built their friends’ home. The house took just six months to build. Now, more than two years later, Ed and Sandy are just as excited and pleased with the house as they were during the planning stage.

The Atwells’ goal for their home away from home was to create a spacious mountain comfort zone where lots of people could spread out but still have the spacious rooms retain their cabin feel. One might not suspect large rooms could seem cozy, but these are — due, in large part, to the furnishings and accessories that Sandy chose. Deep, down-filled couches that create a sitting pit, low tables and a fire in the faux-stone fireplace make the great room a curl-up-with-a-book space that belies its roominess.

“When I first saw those big, red recliners, I fell in love with them immediately,” Sandy says. “I call them Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.”

It takes a lot of house to hold these large pieces of furniture without the space looking crowded, and the Atwells’ log home does it all comfortably. Designed on three levels, the home measures just over 5,000 square feet of heated living space, with an additional 1,500 feet of decks.

The entrance level features a great room, a generous entryway and a game area, as well as the first of seven master bedroom suites. Downstairs are three more master bedroom suites and a large game room. On the third level are the three remaining master suites. The house is sited so that all the rooms and the open space enjoy spectacular views of the fabled Smokies.

Published in Log Home Living
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