Sometimes you come across a property that is the perfect blend of city convenience and country privacy, and the Stotts residence is such a property. Located within Marietta city limits but situated on a secluded lane, the home’s stone and shake exterior looks naturally adapted to its sloped site.

As we approached this beautiful house on a crisp spring day, the first resident to greet us was Pooter Kitty. The hairless feline rubbed our legs in approval before he retreated to the warmth of his heat lamp.

According to Traci Stotts, AIA, she and her husband had not planned to take on the daunting task of building a home. But one day serendipity knocked on their door in the form of a realtor. ”They asked if we were interested in selling our house. We thought that it would be nice to build someday and from there, we started looking for land. We absolutely fell in love with these 11 acres – the location was awesome for the kids, everything was close which made it very attractive to us,” Traci explained.

After they bought the land, an older gentleman who owned a house adjacent to the property approached Traci and husband Shane and offered to sell his house to them. The Stotts declined at first, but then passed the offer on to Shane’s parents. They in turn decided to sell their two-story home and purchase the house, which provided Traci and Shane a place to live during construction. A short overlap let the entire family live together in the weeks before the new home was completed.

As an experienced licensed Architect, Traci knew that building a house was a great undertaking – one that came with lots of stress and decision-making. Nonetheless, Traci and her husband began the process of constructing their dream home under the care of Bink Somerville from Somerville Construction.

“I was so stressed out thinking it was my only time I would ever get to do it, and I had to make all of these decisions. Also, with what I do, I always had it in the back of my mind that people would see it and say, ‘of all the things you could do, this is what you came up with?’ I just assumed they would be expecting a lot,” she said.

The Stotts spent a lot of time on They pored over hundreds of photos and began picking features that they liked about different houses as inspiration for their overall vision. Although Traci held the background in design, she wanted Shane to participate equally in the creation of their family home. “I wanted to know what kind of things he liked too.”

I knew I wanted to incorporate a large porch that would serve as an outdoor living space.

One source of inspiration was a house they saw with an expansive porch—wide, with lots of heavy timbers. That was just an exterior feature, but it provided the launching pad for the floor plan, said Traci. “I knew I wanted to incorporate a large porch that would serve as an outdoor living space.”

The family wanted to design a structure that would feel at home on their wooded property. Traci was always drawn to the more natural look of large stone and heavy timbers, which served as a main driver of the design for the exterior materials and the overall aesthetic.

The large porch and the open living room function as the heart of the home. When family gathers, it’s easy to comfortably seat them in the open floor plan. In the summer, the porch allows for large gatherings and shared meals, with a view of their land in the valley, complete with a private pond.

For the most part, Traci feels confident with her design choices and wouldn’t change anything about the house.  Of course, as in any project, there are minor details she second guesses but overall the family loves the forever home they share.

The house is a masterful blend of materials with clean lines, abundant natural light and unexpected features.

“We built it knowing that the kids would only be here a few more years so we tucked them upstairs. Everything else we need – the master, the kitchen, the laundry – are all on the main level. There are just a few things the kids would need both upstairs and downstairs. Our intention was to be able to live on the main floor if we had to,” she said.

The kitchen is Traci’s favorite part of the house and she enjoyed being able to design a completely new kitchen instead of remodeling one. She knew from experience that kitchen remodels have space limitations and it was freeing to design one with ample room. The large island finished with quartz counter top serves as the focal point, allowing her kids to pull up a stool while she or Shane prepare a meal.

The house is a masterful blend of materials with clean lines, abundant natural light and unexpected features.  Traci used her design experience and ideas from past projects as she finished the interior spaces; one example is how the laundry room counter top shares the same granite as her previous kitchen counters.

Soothing color palettes, rugged textures juxtaposed with modern fixtures—it all comes together for a truly unique and beautiful look. “I don’t even know how to describe the design.” explains Traci. “With the wood ship-lap on some walls, it could be considered a farmhouse style. But it’s also contemporary with some industrial features. So many people ask me ‘what’s the style?’  but I really can’t pinpoint a single style.”

For the Stotts family, building a home in the country just felt right.  Traci grew up surrounded by land and wanted that lifestyle for her kids, husband and again for herself. They love the privacy and the fact that there are no close neighbors, while still being close to town. For Traci and Shane, this is their forever home and they feel lucky they were able to build it from the ground up.