A True Family Getaway

04 Apr 2024

Togetherness and adventure High Hampton style



Picture looking out on a gorgeous spring afternoon. The bright blue sky is dotted with fluffy, white clouds, and birds are gleefully flitting around in the warm sun. The promise of a well-earned, relaxing weekend is ahead—but so is gridlocked, endless traffic on I-85 in Atlanta. Reality will lean more on the side of honking horns and wailing sirens. A thirty-minute commute will likely take an hour or more. For Teddy and Courtney Russell, having a place for their family to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of their busy lives in Atlanta became a top priority.

When the Russells began dating over twenty years ago, they often traveled to Highlands as part of their courtship. Both have a love of the outdoors, and they were attracted to the bountiful hiking trails and fly-fishing opportunities as well as the award-winning golf. But there’s plenty to do outside of Highlands, as well. “For the past seven years, we’ve fallen in love with Cashiers from visiting friends who have homes in the area,” says Courtney Russell, who adds that the pandemic was the final push they needed to purchase their own home-away-from-home on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau.

With three children, ranging from middle school to college, in tow, it isn’t always easy to find a place that will suit everyone’s wants and needs, but because the Russells had spent over twenty years exploring the plateau and already had a local circle of friends, they knew exactly where they wanted to build their respite away from the city. “Our family loves to be active. Our oldest son plays a lot of golf, our daughter plays soccer year-round, and our youngest plays basketball, lacrosse and also loves golf. We all love to play pickleball, and it's one of the things we can play together,” says Mrs. Russell. Naturally, the family had their hearts set on building a home in a place that could provide all of that and more: the High Hampton community. “[High Hampton] has really become a special place for our family as there is so much we are able to do together,” adds Mrs. Russell.

With the primary goal being a place that would provide ample time for adventure and togetherness, the Russells got to work, hiring Lehotsky & Sons Builders, a group known to share the same values when it comes to family. Aside from the stunning gallery of custom homes, whole and partial remodeling projects, additions, and renovations, one of the first things that stands out while browsing their website is the emphasis on a special vow they make to clients. “We treat all our clients like members of our extended family and every home as if it were our own, regardless of the size or scope of the project,” reads Lehotskyandsons.com.


John Lehotsky, owner and founder of Lehotsky & Sons, hasn’t always lived on the plateau, nor did he mean to become a permanent resident. “My parents actually found the area, and I came to build their retirement home. During that process, I met the Schmitt Brothers in Highlands and ended up working for them for years before I branched out on my own,” says Lehotsky. After he met his wife, life here just made sense, and together the Lehotskys (just like the Russells) have three children. “We have raised three boys on this mountain and just love the people, climate and views,” he adds, which is one reason he founded his own firm in 2005. The Russells appreciated that Mr. Lehotsky was so engaged throughout the entire build process, and John Lehotsky was glad to expand his close-knit clientele. “Teddy and Courtney are great fun to be around, and we have enjoyed welcoming them into the family,” he says.


Building a home in High Hampton is something all area builders look forward to, for a variety of reasons. “High Hampton is a place synonymous with Cashiers. We have built several homes for people who had come to High Hampton for years as children—and now come with their own children and grandchildren,” says Lehotsky. “The Golf course is stunning; the new facilities are amazing; and it’s a great place to bring your family and enjoy the surroundings.”

The Russells wanted to keep things classic, but chic. “Because this was a second home to us, we really wanted a simple floor plan designed around capturing the view and efficient use of the space based on family needs,” says Mrs. Russell. They felt the best way to achieve this was to rely on an open concept, something that would allow the family to feel as if they were really sharing the space. The Craftsman-style plan from architect Chris Barth of Meyer Greeson Paullin Benson Architecture/Interiors was one they fell in love with immediately, for it provided spaciousness while maintaining a cozy atmosphere.

“Our top priority was to create an indoor [and] outdoor space that felt seamless. We have a large opening from the kitchen to the outdoor screened porch.  We pretty much leave this open all day.  The divider is an accordion style door that can be pushed all the way to one side, opening the space and bringing the outdoors in,” says Mrs. Russell. Bringing the outside in was a major theme for the Russells and their Atlanta-based interior designer, Jessica Bradley of Jessica Bradley Interiors. They accomplished this in many ways, including utilizing floor-to-ceiling windows in as many spaces as made sense. “I am a huge fan of natural light, so it was extremely important for me to have lots of windows.… The whole front and back of the house [are all] large paned windows.  You can see right through the back of the house from the front.”

The exterior of the home needed to be just as spectacular as the home itself. Teddy Russell is a veritable expert in landscaping, as owner of a commercial landscaping firm that services several major cities and states. For their High Hampton home, however, they hired landscape architect and owner of ruho Designs, Jesse Holt. The joint expertise shines with an unassuming asphalt drive and motor court that is hidden by a garden wall.  “The goal of the landscaping was to honor the native plant pallet and provide a complement to the architectural details of the craftsman home without feeling heavy-handed with an over design of the surrounding,” says Mr. Russell. In sync with nature, they purposefully placed plants in a natural, unorderly way to mimic a cottage garden in the front. The back of the property, however, was a bit more intentional. “We added symmetry with the grove style planting to create a focal point drawing you towards the dry laid boulder and the rock face of Chimney Top." What family wouldn’t enjoy their very own, private view of one of the area’s most iconic places?

Since the pandemic, many families are realizing the importance of togetherness and fostering community. Thanks to the exceedingly talented team at Lehotsky & Sons, the Russell family has a High Hampton home that will provide them with generations of warm memories. If you’d like to learn more about Lehotsky & Sons Builders and the services they offer, you can visit them online at www.LehotskyAndSons.com, stop by their office at 87 Chestnut Square in Cashiers or give them a call at 828-743-5864.

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