When Sherrie McFarland and her husband Daniel Ortega of Atlanta visited a friend’s log cabin near Blue Ridge, Georgia, they fell in love with it. A city girl all her life, Sherrie took a liking to the bucolic lifestyle, and she began planning her own vacation log home. Sherrie lived in 13 homes over the years and built four more to sell; Daniel has owned a commercial drywall firm for 38 years. Between them they had plenty of building experience.
Sherrie spent four months searching for the perfect site, and she finally found a 1.4-acre lot high above Lake Blue Ridge that their guests have called “a million dollar view.”
Sherrie hired Anthony Powell Construction of Blue Ridge to build the home. Although Sherrie calls the 3,550-square-foot structure a cabin, Powell says it’s more like a lodge and some of her friends call it a resort. Its three bedrooms each has a private bathroom and screened porch, and there are large open decks on either side of the house — one with a hot tub and the other with a gas grill and bar. The house is standard construction, and all the material for the house came from Sisson Log Homes.
Taccoa Riverside Lumber in Blue Ridge milled the 1-by-8-inch D-log pine siding. Each corner of the house is finished with an 8-inch round corner log notched so the siding butts square into them.
There were many features Sherrie wanted in the home. Planning ahead for their retirement years, she included two master suites, one on the main level and one upstairs. “As we age, we may not be able to climb the stairs,” she says, “so I also located the washer and dryer and a walk-in frameless shower on the main level just in case we can’t step into the tub when we’re older. And there are just three steps to get into the cabin.”
Since Sherrie says cooking is therapy for her, she put a great deal of thought into designing the kitchen. She included plate racks so she can reach for a plate without opening a cupboard door, and she wanted the kitchen to be open to the living room so she can be a part of the activities while she’s cooking.
She did “go upscale” with her kitchen appliances choosing several from by Fisher-Paykel of New Zealand. “I love my dishwasher,” she says. “It has double drawers, and it’s really nice for a cabin because you can use one drawer and run the dishwasher when you’re going back home. When you return, the other drawer is available until you empty the drawer you ran when you left. It’s so heavily insulated, you can’t even hear it.” Her stove has five burners and a griddle, and the oven has 10 separate settings. All the appliances are brushed stainless steel.
Sherrie insisted on a separate dining room “because when you think about a mountain home, you think about family gatherings.” She likes the idea of a formal dining room removed from the kitchen, and many of the cabins she and Daniel looked at did not have that feature. Her antique table and chairs seat 12, and a matching buffet displays her china and crystal. Windows on three walls open to a panoramic view of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
The woodburning fireplace has a 42-inch firebox, the largest Sherrie could find, and it soars 22 feet to the peak of the living room ceiling. Sherrie specified the Tennessee fieldstone be dry-stacked, and she chose a mantel of black walnut. She curved the hearth so that there was plenty of room for side-by-side recliners for her and Daniel.
More about this home, including how Sherrie decorated it, was in the magazine.