A PLACE OF MEMORIES
The saga begins in the 1930s, when a local judge bought the property. The seller was ‘a young mountain man who planned to build a home lor his fiancee. explains the judges grandson and todays cabin owner, Larry. “But she left him and went to California, so my grandfather took the land and the timbers off the young mans hands for fifty dollars.
“We all have great family memories there. Larry continues. “’The mountain was very high; the creek was very’ cold. As kids, we played in that creek, tucked up against that mountain. My grandfather also used the retreat as a connections place when he held ‘Kibbin parties. They became quite the tradition.
Over the objections of his grandchildren, the judge eventually sold the onc-story wood cabin. But its memories continued to resonate. So when
The main floor plan Includes The new porch, which Is accessed from the great room via a Dutch door.
A metal roof echoing the cottage’s main roof shelters the front door.
The original Kibbin and seven surrounding acres came up for sale four decades later, Larry (by then, an attorney in Atlanta) was overjoyed. Wife Dana was more than a little relieved that Larry’s long-held dream had come true. “For years, he would go by and leave his card in the door with a scribbled note asking for a call if they ever wanted to sell. The place has incrcdiblc meaning tor him.
A CHALLENGING REBUILD
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Thrilling as it was to own the Kibbin, the place was on its last legs. There was no way to save it, notes John Ahobcllo. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, architect came to know the homeowners when he designed houses for them in Atlanta and on Cape Cud. They asked, ‘Can we at least keep the site?’ So we set out to create a new Kibbin on the exact spot of the original.
However, it was not an easy task. The building site occupicd a sliver of land wedged between the creek rushing downhill and the mountainside rising up behind it. Altobello designed a long, narrow structure to fit the lot. The 50 by 22-foot cabin overlooks the creek. Crowned with a metal roof, its exterior is sheathed with stone Irom a local quarry. The inspiration came from Cotsw’old cottages the owners saw in England. “When we talked about the design, they sent me stacks of blogs with pictures of Cotswold stone houses, explains Altobello. “The stone on the Kibbin is, in fact, a face applied to a wood frame.
To build against the steep wall of the mountainside, Altobello designed a hefty retaining wall. It forms the back of the structure on the lower level “so that the mountain does not come sliding down into the water.” the architect says. “It was the most challenging aspect of the design: how to make the house fit with a two-foot-thick retaining wall at ground level.
A barrel catches rain from one of the cabin’s downspouts.