This family’s elegant, rustic Lake Allatoona house is the perfect retreat

Close for all of the family, the basement alone is decked out with a kitchen, pool table, and ping-pong table

Rustic Elegance

Photograph by Rustic White

Mary Helen Heaner has fond memories of visiting Lake Allatoona as a child growing up in Rome, Georgia, and she always hoped she’d have a home there. Last year, she and her husband, Andrew, built a new house on the lake’s southern shore in Acworth, creating the perfect meeting point between their home in Sandy Springs, business in Atlanta, their son in Roswell, and their commercial cattle operation and exotic animal farm in Rome.

Rustic Elegance
Mary Helen and Andrew Heaner brought the handcrafted Hacker-Craft down from Lake George, New York.

Photograph by Rustic White

“It’s 45 minutes for everybody,” says Mary Helen. Lake Allatoona, a reservoir owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is just 30 miles from Atlanta and is often overlooked for the flashier lakes of North Georgia. “It’s mostly undeveloped,” adds Andrew. “And it’s very quiet.”

Rustic Elegance
The house is designed for casual, relaxed living.

Photograph by Rustic White

Rustic Elegance
The couple can enjoy their cozy heated screened porch in all seasons.

Photograph by Rustic White

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“It’s everyone’s favorite piece,” Emily says of the antique French chandelier from The Big Chandelier. The chairs are Lee Industries. The rustic beams were taken from Mary Helen’s family’s old textile mill in Aragon, Georgia.

Photograph by Rustic White

From the get-go, the couple had an interior designer in mind. The talented Emily Karempelis, founder of EK Interiors, has been friends with their daughter since preschool, and her mother, Leslie Worthington, had helped the Heaners with furnishings in previous houses. (Karempelis jokes that she brought her mother out of retirement to help with the soft goods in this project, since she typically focuses on architectural features like cabinetry and millwork.) Together, they selected a plan by architect Linda MacArthur, tweaking some details to maximize views of the lake, and enlisted builder David Sinclair to carry it out.

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The animal drawings and wooden goat yokes in a guest room reference the Heaners’ farms, where they raise cattle and exotic animals.

Photograph by Rustic White

Rustic Elegance
Woodworker Greg Crawford created the ping-pong table, which can be converted to a dining table in a pinch.

Photograph by Rustic White

Rustic Elegance
The basement is fully kitted out as a game room hangout. A custom pool table is inset with buffalo head nickels.

Photograph by Rustic White

Personal touches can be found throughout the elegant, rustic home. The wood beams in
the main living area were reclaimed from Mary Helen’s old family textile mill in Aragon, Georgia. The ironwork was crafted by one of the Heaners’ farm employees, Mark Martin. Though Andrew’s primary business is insurance, their cattle operation covers 4,000 acres, and they also have around 200 exotic animals, including zebras, camels, emus, and bison. There are hints of this passion too, as in a zebra-patterned throw, the cowhide-like kitchen countertop, and a guest room with a series of animal drawings.

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The Heaner family’s gracious home features handcrafted personal touches, like the coffee table by woodworker Greg Crawford, who also works on their farms near Rome, Georgia.

Photograph by Rustic White

Rustic Elegance
Designer Emily Karempelis found many of the home’s treasures at Scott Antique Markets, like these roe deer antlers.

Photograph by Rustic White

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Emily chose the leather-like countertops as a nod to the family’s cattle farm. The cabinetry throughout the house is by Cabinet Resources.

Photograph by Rustic White

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The formal dining room was turned into a “sipping room” instead, complete with a wine cabinet, ice maker, and shelves of glassware.

Photograph by Rustic White

Andrew insists the house was a gift to his wife, but one of his requests was an alternative to drywall—something with more character. Thus the variety of wood wall textures, from shiplap to board and batten, which adds to the warm, casual vibe. Hoping to create a fun retreat for family, which includes their two grown children, the Heaners had the basement decked out, complete with a full kitchen, a custom pool table, and a walnut ping-pong table by woodworker (and farm employee) Greg Crawford, which converts to a beautiful dining table in a pinch. It’s not hard to see why they describe their style as relaxed and “simply grand.”

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The bathroom in Andrew’s office features warm, stained poplar shiplap and contemporary tile from Builders Floor Coverings and Tile.

Photograph by Rustic White

Rustic Elegance

Photograph by Rustic White

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The curtained nook, Mary Helen says, is for future grandkids. The painting was purchased at the Wesleyan Artist Market.

Photograph by Rustic White

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Guest room pillows are by Lacefield Designs.

Photograph by Rustic White

Resources
Interior design Emily Karempelis, EK Interiors, ekinteriors.design
Architect Linda MacArthur, lindamacarthurarchitect.com
Builder David Sinclair, New Rosslyn Construction, 770-355-5362
Cabinetry Cabinet Resources, cabinetresources.com
Hardware Rocky Mountain Hardware, rockymountainhardware.com
Breakfast room Chandelier: The Big Chandelier, thebigchandelier.com. Chairs: Lee Industries, leeindustries.com.
Kitchen Countertops: MSI Atlanta, msistone.com. Appliances: SubZero Wolf, subzero-wolf.com. Faucet: Waterstone, waterstoneco.com
Guest room Pillows: Lacefield Designs, lacefielddesigns.com
Guest bath Faucet: Kohler, kohler.com. Mirror: Stacy Milburn Studio, stacymilburnstudio.com
Office bath Tile: Builders Floor Covering & Tile, getnewfloorstoday.com. Faucet: Kohler
Game room Pool table: Olhausen Billiards Manufacturing via the Man Cave Store, themancave.com.

This article appears in our Summer 2018 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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