A Georgia couple’s ingenuity results in the ultimate country estate of unique cabins.
Every home is special, for the simple reason that the people who dwell in them are unique. In the case of homeowners Dan and Suzann Maughon, creating a one-of-a-kind home was a priority.
“A long time ago,” begins Dan Maughon, “before Suzann and I were even married, we had a romantic dream of living in a log home in the woods, on a lake, of course.” The couple kept their eyes and ears open for that perfect 10-acre lakefront parcel of land, and then Suzann learned something that resulted in a manifestation of their dream, and then some.
“Suzann was the manager of a video store,” explains Dan. “A patron came in one day while Suzann was on the phone with me. I overheard him telling her that he had been trying to buy 100 acres on the county line, deep in the countryside, but wasn’t able to get financing for it.” Dan asked his wife to get information about the property so they could take a look at it themselves.
The Maughons acquired a plat of the parcel from a realtor named Betty Grant, who was representing the seller. They took a drive to the property, along with Dan’s parents. The acreage had everything Dan and Suzann had hoped for: a large lake, open meadows, and a mature forest. “We made an offer,” says Dan, “then a counteroffer, and the property was ours.” Dan and his father cut in roads for power, cleared for fence lines, and built the first structure, a pole barn pavilion type of building, in 1991. “We called it the Honey Moon Suite,” says Suzann. “Dan and I were married for a considerable length of time before we obtained the property, but it was such a dream come true, it represented the beginning of a whole new way of life for us.”
From that point on, Dan and Suzann began collecting things that they envisioned being in the dream log home they would surely someday build on the property. Twenty-four years later, there are no fewer than eight structures on the property, from a humbled (plumbed!) outhouse near the pavilion, to a beautiful 4,200-sqare-foot handcrafted full-log home.
“Once we had cleared the immediate area surrounding the lake we were able to determine exactly where we would situate the main house,” says Dan. “There’s a hill just to the south of the lake where the view of the water and forested acreage beyond is great.” The lower level of the house served as a workshop for Dan, with living quarters above. Before long, Dan had built an additional workshop/garage, and a pool house adjacent to an in-ground swimming pool.
“Along with our own projects,” shares Dan, “I built a log home for my brother, then one for my mom, now owned by my daughter Cassi. Our family became hooked on log cabin living!”
Dan teamed up as a builder/dealer with Appalachian Log Homes, of Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2000. During their “dream log home phase” Dan and Suzann had been traveling to visit various log and timber home producers in the region. On a return trip home they stayed at a log cabin rental property near Pigeon Forge. The couple was extremely impressed with the craftsmanship of the cabin and inquired from the property manager as to which log home company had produced it.
“When we learned it was Appalachian Log Homes,” says Dan, “I called them and got directions to their office near Knoxville and off Suzann and I went. Upon arrival, it was immediately obvious that their log office building was constructed with the same meticulous craftsmanship as the rental we had just stayed in.”
The Maughons left their house plan sketches with ALH and returned home. A few days later they received a call with an attractive bid from the log home producer. They went back for a second meeting and after three hours of discussing the details of what Dan and Suzann wanted for their home, they had signed a contract and written a deposit check to Appalachian Log Homes. “Our house was built in 1999, right on schedule and right on budget. Appalachian’s attention to detail and quality of work is second to none. It made me a believer in the company and the rest is history!” He’s built a second log home for his mom, one for his sister, and a huge barn on his and Suzann’s land that they are using to host wedding events. “It’s taken off beyond my wildest expectations,” says Suzann. “All of a sudden I am in a totally new profession: a wedding planner! What fun!”
Dan recommends that people considering building a log or timber home shop around but make sure they are interviewing producers, dealers, and builders that have been in business a long time, with a proven track record. “You want to contract with a log home company,” Dan says, “that will handle the milling of the wood, delivery of the products, and erection of the structure, all of it backed up with a good, solid warranty.”
One of the Maughons’ more creative building accomplishments is the couple’s “Tree Cabin.” Situated downhill from the house and perched above the lakeshore, “It was just a thought that I had,” reflects Dan. “I didn’t use any floorplans other than the one in my head … it turned out pretty good, considering! I built the entire tree cabin by myself.” To save on costs, Dan harvested trees for the structure from his property and hauled them to a local mill to have them cut to his specifications. He did all of the plumbing, wiring, and finish work himself, hiring just one sub, a mason.
Thrilled with the results, Dan and Suzann wouldn’t make any changes to the sweet little cabin, but Dan is already conjuring up plans for another one that he wants to build at the far end of the lake. He says, “It’s going to be a two-story or maybe have a loft area, and I want to put a deck on top with a hot tub so we can look up at the stars at night, as we soak.”
Seemingly, for Dan and Suzann Maughon, the honeymoon never ends.
- Log Home Producer: Appalachian Log Homes, Knoxville, Tennessee
- Architectural Design: Dan and Suzann Maughon, Jackson, Georgia
- Main House: 4,200 square feet, three levels
- Bedrooms: 3
- Bathrooms: 3
- Tree Cabin: 300 square feet on one level
- Pavilion: 864 square feel under roof