Rooted in Georgia


Nestled amid pastures and wooded grounds peppered with century-old oaks near the Appalachian foothills in northern Georgia, the weekend home of Pam Sessions and her husband, Don Donnelly, possesses much of the charm of the nearby historic houses. But inside the dwelling, every room is laid out and finished to accommodate a thoroughly contemporary lifestyle.

“We wanted the interiors to reflect who we are and how we live today,” says Sessions. “At the same time, we wanted to pay homage to the elaborate nineteenth-century mansions around us.” As the founders of Hedgewood Homes, a company that designs and builds custom homes and plans entire neighborhoods, both husband and wife have mastered the art of creating houses that reflect both the personalities and pragmatic needs of their owners. So when they opted to build a second home for themselves, they had all the tools and resources they needed to make their own idyllic weekend retreat, including the influence of their longtime collaborator architect, Lew Oliver.

As it turned out, Oliver also has a home in the vicinity, a rural township known as Sautee Nacoochee. “We had a little wish list of what we’d like to have on the property and this particular site just had it all,” says Sessions, whose primary home/studio is in Atlanta, an hour-and-a-half away. “This makes for a wonderful commute,” says Sessions, “but because it’s so convenient, the downside is you can work all the time. We wanted a place where we could just escape for the weekend. We sit off a quiet gravel road with a mountain in the back and a former cattle pond in the pasture, so it fits the bill,” she adds.

This story appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of MILIEU. To read the complete story or to see all photos, visit the MILIEU Newsstand to purchase this issue in print or visit to purchase this issue in digital format.