Like many fantastic ideas, this one started with a sketch on a cocktail napkin. While having dinner with their builder Carl Jones, Mary Beth and Dan McCrary shared their design ideas for a rustic log cabin in the mountains of Alabama and Jones drawn up an easy blueprint that night. Two decades later, that drawing became the few charming summer house.
The McCrarys’ two-story cabin overlooks a deep gorge and the apparent flowing rapids of the Little River in Mentone. “We wanted the cottage to look and feel like it belonged in that area,” Dan says. “That led to the usage of a lot of rustic materials such as log walls, wood supports, and native stone fireplaces and retaining walls”
at a Glance
Who lives here: Dan and Mary Beth McCrary
Location: Mentone, Alabama
Size: About2,800square feet; 2 bedrooms, 3 baths, plus a open loft
Mentone is only 90 minutes from Birmingham, where the couple lives throughout the year. Mary Beth and Dan frequently drive for their getaway cabin for a long weekend or even only a day. For these, the purpose of a holiday home is to ease stress, not add it. So to make it really relaxing, the couple decided to build the house with no gutters, sheetrock or grass to mow, plus they used metal roofing and natural wood inside walls for minimal upkeep. They also went with a low-maintenance gravel drive.
Bright native flowers pop against the dark logs supporting the foundation design. The stone and wood used for the retaining wall and fireplaces were both native to the area.
Log stain: Hawthorne, Sherwin Williams; shingles: Monterey Tan, (acrylic stain) Sherwin Williams; Landscaping: Russel Wright, Wrights Nursery & Landscaping
The McCrarys had incorporated the spacious design with its spacious loft into their first plans. “Somewhere along the way, we encountered an open loft and loved the way it felt,” Mary Beth says. “Also, the cottage is intended to be a location where the family can spend time together. The open design of this loft promotes that goal.”
Log stain: Hawthorne, DeckScapes by Sherwin Williams
Under the stairs, a timeworn dresser and little ladder shop classic finds and accessories.
The formal dining room table, created from slow-growth Georgia walnut, sits within an open floor area surrounded by the wraparound porch. This place allows for the family to gather and host massive food surrounded by the cottage’s breathtaking views.
Dining Table: Anne and Eric Hathaway, Atlanta, Georgia; hardwood floors: reclaimed oak, James & Company; seats, chandelier, and buffet: Maison De France, Leeds, Alabama; floor: reclaimed oak
A set of distressed lamps under mounted antlers decorates a wall area between the porch doors.
Buffet: Maison De France, Leeds, Alabama
In the kitchen, a farmhouse sink harmonizes the log cabin fashion. Off-white painted cabinets paired with wooden brings add to the rustic texture.
Without sheetrock, the heating pipes have been exposed to the kitchen walls, a problem that Jones repaired by alerting them to leak under the house.
Sink: Rohl Farmhouse, V & W Supply; kitchen Cabinet color: Carrington Beige, Benjamin Moore; kitchen attracts: Seibel’s, Birmingham, Alabama
Knowing they would incorporate this massive hutch to the kitchen, the couple designed the design to accommodate the piece. Two classic eaves decorate the spacious wall leading into the rest of the house.
Kitchen hutch: The Cottage Shop, Birmingham, Alabama
A little fireplace charms that the kitchen’s dining room. Mary Beth bought the bright red wooden seats on a beach trip and knew they are a colorful addition to the cozy space.
The 2 bedrooms are tucked at the rear corner of the house and share a little hallway. The principal bedroom, shown here, mirrors the rustic characteristics of the house in its own decor and furniture.
A little console with antique collectibles dresses the wall in the front of the main bath with an Amish Rocker.
The industrial mirror at the guest bathroom has been assembled from an unknown piece of factory equipment. Much like the rest of the decoration, the couple decided the industrial mirror because of its era and classic appeal, which reflects the home’s rustic design.
Mirror: Scott’s Antiques, Atlanta, Georgia
Rocky Top Log Furniture created the guest bed from Northern White Cedar. Soft linens and serene hues add comfort and warmth to the room.
Pillow Cases: Antropologie
The view from the top of the stairs shows the entire first floor. The classic trumeau above the mantel inspired much of this cottage’s natural beauty and rustic appeal. Mary Beth’s favourite spot in the house is the club chair in the far corner, where she can see almost the entire house while reading and drinking coffee.
The upstairs loft provides an array of various sized beds, unique furniture and colorful linens for family and guests to select from. The couple whitewashed the walnut walls and lofted ceiling to permit the grain to show through. Each time that the McCrarys visit the house, they can find out more and more of the pine’s natural texture and beauty.
The couple kept some of the duvets and linens out of if their kids were smaller, including history and belief to the various beds.
On the opposing walls, built-in twin mattress cubbies offer you a dose of solitude in the open design.
Read more about cubbies: Cozy up in a built-in mattress cubby
A classic, distressed crib is tucked under among the loft beds plus a spacious shelving unit shows a colorful range of quilts.
Bedding: Three Sheets, Birmingham, Alabama
Natural light pours through the attic’s windows. The wood beams within the rail are structural and encouraged by cement blocks under the house.
A mixture of colorful quilts dresses that the handmade poster bed made in Wildwood, Georgia, by Appalachian Rustic Furnishings.
Mary Beth discovered the dried flower window screen at a farmer’s market in Birmingham.
Bedding: Antropologie; artwork (above bed); Pepper Place Farmer’s Market, Birmingham, Alabama
Mary Beth and Dan relax on a swing into their screened-in porch — Dan’s favourite spot. The porch faces the breathtaking views of the gorge. “Mentone is a quaint town with tons of relaxing things to do, or you could choose only to enjoy the quiet,”Mary Beth says.
Porch swing: Buettner Brothers Lumber Co., Cullman, Alabama
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