Monthly Archives: June 2017

Sleep Like a Log

Treetop Hideaways

Photos courtesy of Treetop Hideaways

Catch some zzz’s in the trees in a rustic, relaxed setting and take glamping to new heights. 

Want to feel like a kid again? Escape routine to build memories with a loved one? Better understand the life of a squirrel?

Don’t just look out the window at trees. Climb up into a treehouse for an overnight stay that takes glamping to new heights. Treetop Hideaways, located near Lookout Mountain in North Georgia and just minutes from Chattanooga, Tennessee, offers an upscale treehouse that combines childhood fantasy with grown-up tastes.

Place and Perspective
Built primarily of reclaimed wood and windows, the treehouse straddles two tall trees that jut up between the floorboards of the front and back porches. In between those porches and additionally supported by some beams, the two-story treehouse boasts a sitting area, bathroom and kitchenette on the main floor and a loft bedroom up a ladder that led to a hayloft in its former location. 

This not-quite-secret hideaway nestled in the woods has a playful vibe, yet offers conveniences you might reasonably expect of any hotel room. Your itinerary can be whatever you want it to be: You might book a stay specifically to experience sleeping in a treehouse, but you could also get out and explore nearby state parks or city life.

Treetop HideawaysThe inside space of the treehouse is as comfortable as it is imaginative. Tiny twinkle lights crisscross the beamed ceiling, mimicking stars. A pottery vessel sink in the kitchen is both practical and whimsical. The bathroom, which houses an eco-friendly composting toilet, has a floor that sparkles with a mosaic of copper pennies. Half a whiskey barrel serves as the shower stall; turn on the tap and water sprinkles down though a head fastened to the end of a curved pipe.

Treetop HideawaysA cushioned pull-out sofa can accommodate sitting readers or a sleeping couple. Up in the loft, a foam queen mattress seems guaranteed to invite deep sleep. Bar stools on the back porch allow you to perch and sip wine while looking a bird straight in the eye.

Wood dominates the décor, from the walls and floor to all furnishings except the bed and sofa. The view from each window is thick with trees. “We never want to build a ‘house in a tree,’” says Andrew Alms, co-founder and operator of Treetop Hideaways. “We want to build an eco-friendly treehouse that puts you in a different place and perspective.” 

Just one treehouse currently sits on the two-acre property, but construction on a second treehouse already is underway. Ultimately, “We could probably fit eight to 10 treehouses on the property,” says Alms, adding that he and his business partner, Enoch Elwell, have an option to purchase an additional five acres. But they won’t rush. “We’ll have the two now and see where we’re going as we go,” he says. “We’ll see if people like it and then maybe we’ll do four. It would be cool to have a little village of treehouses — but we’re going to see if people want it.” 

Treetop HideawaysElwell and Alms opened Treetop Hideaways in 2015. Available on Airbnb, the current treehouse is routinely booked, so adding a second one makes sense.

Alms was the primary builder of the initial treehouse. “As much as possible, we use reclaimed materials,” he says. “We sourced beams and massive windows from local industrial sites, and wood from three different barns.” To ensure year-round comfort, the treehouse is insulated and climate controlled.

Play and Be Pampered
As cozy as the treehouse is, however, you shouldn’t spend all of your time hunkered down inside the hideaway. Lush with trees, the two-acre property offers a quarter mile of hiking trails to explore. There are sandstone boulders and limestone cliffs to discover. Perhaps most of all, though, the woodsy setting encourages you to retreat and relax. The stresses of daily life slip away as the wind rustles leaves, birds chirp and you savor the realization that “Yes! I’m staying in a treehouse!” Breathe deep nature’s aromatherapy. Take a nap. Read a book. Sit on the back porch sipping a beer and watching squirrels leap between branches. Canoodle with your travel companion or linger over long conversations.

A fire pit near the treehouse is surrounded by Adirondack chairs. As the stars glisten in the night sky, you might light a bonfire then sit and sing campfire songs, share ghost stories or roast s’mores — everything needed to make the quintessential camping snack is stocked in the treehouse.

Treetop HideawaysIf you crave city conveniences, then Chattanooga is mere minutes away. Also nearby is Lookout Mountain and Georgia’s Cloudland Canyon State Park. It’s a short drive to hike, kayak, tour museums and galleries, shop at major brands or boutique shops, sip local craft beer, dine, and much more. Like any great getaway, you can ultimately do whatever you want to do.

Though some families stay at the treehouse and it can comfortably sleep four between the loft and sofa bed (and up to five with an added air mattress), it’s most popular with couples. “Most of the time it is couples, and they range in age quite a lot,” says Alms. “We’ve seen couples who come to propose, to honeymoon, to celebrate anniversaries — including a couple from Nashville who came down for their 53rd anniversary. We get to be a piece of a lot of different stories.” 

All guests are greeted with a flowers and a gift bottle of wine. Other amenities include complimentary local snacks and beverages as well as binoculars, a hammock, picnic basket, cards, towels and blankets to borrow.

Treetop HideawaysThe treehouse offers a “bird’seye view,” but expect to be pampered like a human.

If You Go

What: Treetop Hideaways

Where: 576 Chattanooga Valley Road, Flintstone, Georgia

How Much: $275 Sunday-Thursday; $350 Friday-Saturday

More Info: (615) 300-5173 or (Do not visit because that opens an audio scam/potential virus page.)

By Hope S. Philbrick



Tropical Beach Sundae

  • FOOD July1 orange, sliced
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • 1 plum, sliced
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Sprinkles
  • 1 Twix or Kit Kat bar
  • 2 Piroulines
  • 2 Mini umbrellas

Layer half of the fruit into two glasses and top with ice cream. Add whipped cream and remaining fruit. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and add sprinkles. Add candy bar pieces and Piroulines. Garnish with umbrella and serve immediately. Makes 2.

Mix and Match

In The Home
Mix and Match

Photography by Sally Kolar

The combination of vintage and trendy pieces in this Parkington Estates home helps a Martinez family create its own signature style.

In their lines of work, Martinez residents Tracy and Theron Sapp Jr., help other people create their dream homes. So, when they built their house in Parkington Estates three years ago, they put their expertise to good use for themselves.

Theron, who co-owns a construction and site work business with his brother, acted as general contractor during construction. Tracy, who owns a blind and shutter company, relied on her eye for design to showcase her family’s personality in the décor. 

And they certainly were willing to change course along the way. For starters, they had no intention of building their own home.

“We were looking for a house to buy, but everything needed to be renovated,” says Theron. “We decided that if we could build our own house, we could get what we wanted.”

Embracing Change

Mix and MatchTracy started collecting furnishings and accessories for their home, which took about a year to build, while it was under construction. “Our entire house was in storage units,” she says. “I didn’t buy everything at one time.” 

By collecting furniture and accessories during construction, Tracy says, they knew what size the rooms needed to be. They also made changes to the house plans during the process, particularly as the structure was being framed. They added a room that doubles as a den and a guest bedroom. In a clever use of space in the walk-in closet in the master suite, they finished a storage area (where Tracy keeps her shoes) under the stairs. “It was going to be walled up and not used at all,” says Tracy. 

The Sapps like to make changes to the décor as well. “I want to change things out every two years,” Tracy says. “He’s the same way, so that’s good.” 

Despite their affinity for change, the house has some design elements that are consistent throughout the house. Pine flooring covers the first floor, and the downstairs rooms feature cove crown molding and 12-inch baseboards. The double front doors lead to a wide foyer and a wide stairwell.

“Our hallways are a little bit wider than usual. It makes the house feel bigger,” says Tracy.

The home also features 10-foot ceilings and six-panel doors downstairs as well as nine-foot ceilings and five-panel doors upstairs. In addition, Tracy says, “We have Bluetooth capabilities and surround sound. Every room downstairs has speakers, and our patio has speakers.”

Mix and Match

Mix and Match

Small Spaces, Big Ideas

The back patio also features pavers, wicker furnishings and a wood-burning fireplace made of architectural block. “The fireplace was a last minute addition,” says Theron. “We wanted a focal point on the patio.” 

Suspended strands of socket string lights run from the roof of the covered back porch to posts, which support hanging baskets, on the edge of the patio. The lights turned out to be as functional as they are attractive. “When we put them up, we had no idea they would put off so much light,” says Tracy. 

The covered back porch includes an antique heart pine bead board ceiling, recessed lighting, two ceiling fans, a stained concrete floor, two columns and a flat-screen TV. The indoor/outdoor wicker furniture features tables with granite tabletops, and curtains on the side walls shield the space from the sun.

The front porch, which wraps around to the side of the house, boasts an antique pine bead board ceiling. Wicker chairs on the front porch and black rocking chairs on the side porch offer cozy seating choices. Metal awnings top the front porch and bays of the three-car garage. Making the best use of all of their space, the Sapps also use a garage under the house as a workshop.

Mix and MatchThe Sapps employ other big ideas in small spaces as well. They have three barrel ceilings in various spots in the house – the mudroom, the walkway to a half bath and above the standalone tub in the master bath. The flooring in the laundry room features a herringbone pattern in alternating colors.

“I thought this would be a good place to try something different in case I got sick of it. It looks good in a small space,” says Tracy.

Mixed Textures

She continues her creativity in the main living areas of the home, where she likes to mix vintage and trendy pieces. “We have different styles throughout the house,” Tracy says. “I just like what I like, and then I put it together.”

The décor in the family room features a mix of textures including a raised hearth brick fireplace and a natural pine wall. Furnishings include an antique marble coffee table and a round travertine stone table. The space also includes cubbies above the wood wall, recessed lighting and ceiling beams. A tongue-and-groove ceiling accent leads to the master suite. “We painted it with a high gloss white. At night it really shines,” says Theron. 

Mix and MatchThe kitchen features white shaker-style cabinets with lights underneath, stainless steel appliances, a gray island and polished chrome fixtures. An appliance garage houses the toaster and the charging station for phones and tablets. The natural stone countertops are made of polished Macaubas Quartzite, a Brazilian granite of whites with deep random charcoal veins, and the marble backsplash features an accent that Tracy designed.

The butler’s pantry, which connects the kitchen with the dining room, includes a polished white Macaubas Quartzite countertop as well as a marble and travertine backsplash with a basket weave pattern.

A coffered ceiling and wainscoting on walls accent the dining room. Furnishings include mix and match chairs and stools at the dining room table and a repurposed table from a secondhand shop. An old window that Tracy found at a garage sale sits atop the china cabinet.

Personality Plus

Mix and MatchThe bedrooms are full of personality as well. The master bedroom includes a trey ceiling, a secretary that belonged to Tracy’s late aunt and custom draperies. A painting on the wall is one of several in the house by Theron’s mother, Kay Sapp, and a curio displays artwork that the couple’s children, Brayden and Theron III, have made. The walk-in closet also includes built-in drawers. “We have storage galore,” says Tracy.

In the downstairs guest room/den, the walls, doors and trim are painted blue. A picture above the bed chronicles a piece of family of history. The picture depicts Theron’s father, Theron Sr., as he crosses the goal line to score the only touchdown of the 1957 football game between the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech at Grant Field in Atlanta. 

The picture captures an important moment in UGA football as well. Georgia had lost to Tech eight straight years before its 7-0 victory in that game, and not only was Sapp’s touchdown the lone score of the game. The fourth-down run also was the first touchdown Georgia had scored against Tech since 1953. Sapp, a running back who is one of only four UGA football players to have his jersey retired, became known as the “Drought Breaker.”

Mix and MatchBrayden’s bedroom includes a sitting area, where she and her friends have drawn pictures and signed their names with chalk markers on the windows. Theron’s bedroom includes a pinewood accent wall and a hideout with pegboard to store his collection of nerf guns.

“The house evolved,” says Tracy. “We wish we could have seen it before it was built and then wanted to buy it.” 

By Betsy Gilliland

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Community Groups in Action
Cell Phones for Soldiers

Cell Phones for Soldiers sells donated electronics and uses the proceeds to buy international calling cards for troops or to provide them with emergency financial assistance. The nonprofit organization held its annual fundraising golf tournament in May.

When it comes to providing a lifeline to our troops, Cell Phones for Soldiers does more than talk the talk. The nonprofit organization sells donated mobile phones and uses the proceeds to buy international calling cards for troops or to provide them with emergency financial assistance.

The organization also accepts donations of other electronics such as laptops or tablets, and depending on their condition, the devices are recycled or repurposed. Since its founding in 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than 300 million minutes of free talk time by sending more than 5 million calling cards to servicemen and women and recycling more than 15 million cell phones. “We have never turned down anyone for cell phone service,” says COO Charles Taylor.

Soldiers must provide qualifications to be eligible for assistance, and the nonprofit finds those in need through VA hospitals, its website, case workers, veterans’ organizations and homeless shelters. The cell phones help soldiers communicate with their case workers and doctors. Younger veterans who are trying to re-enter the work force use them to contact potential employers. 

Calling-post-small-photo“Veterans use the cell phones for six months, 90 days or whatever fits their needs,” says Taylor. “Older veterans use flip phones, and younger veterans want newer models with apps. They’re a proud group, and they will donate their phones back to us after they’re back on their feet. It’s a hand up, not a handout.”

Cell Phones for Soldiers, which provides more than 500,000 wireless minutes domestically per month, sends phones all across the United States. However, the organization concentrates its efforts in Georgia. 

“Georgia is one of the top five states for veterans that need assistance,” says Taylor. 

Local drop-off locations to donate devices include EMC Engineering Services in Evans, Navy Federal Credit Union in Augusta and Metro PCS in North Augusta. For more information, visit


Men At Work

Enon Hopkins Roofing Company, LLC is locally owned and operated by Enon C. Hopkins, Jr. They serve Augusta, Evans, Grovetown, Harlem, Hephzibah, Martinez, North Augusta, Waynesboro and the entire CSRA. Enon Hopkins Roofing is a local roofing company with over 40 years of experience.  
Services include working with your insurance company from start to finish with any claims, roof inspection, roof installations, cleaning and repairs, gutter installation, vinyl siding, sofit and fascia installation, window installation and carpentry repairs. Staff members specialize in commercial roofing and all residential roofing.
The roofing company is a member of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and has an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau. Enon Hopkins is not affiliated with any other roofing or home improvement business and they’re easy to find. 


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