In the circa 160-year-old dogtrot house on the grounds of Pinewood Grove Farm hangs a hand-painted metal map of the Georgia property: Deer stands become apparent in the hardwood forest to the north; pasture and sunflower fields fill the south; and at the map’s center, a lodge, a shooting pavilion, a barn, a cottage, and a cabin border a blue fish pond. Dotting the scenery are magnets bearing the names of three generations of the Wood family of Atlanta, all of whom might be, at any given point, spread out across the map. And that’s exactly by design.
“We wanted to create an environment of independence,” says co-owner Kevin Wood, “where the kids can explore the woods, take a bow and arrow, go looking for frogs and lizards—and maybe do so without their parents looking over their shoulder.” That’s the type of childhood Kevin and his brother, Leonard Jr., enjoyed, and when both found themselves resettling in Atlanta after years away, with six children between them, they started to dream of finding a space where their families might bring that idea to life again.
In 2015 they discovered a farm an hour east of the city that seemed like it might work. At the time, though, the setting was “pretty rough,” says Brandon Ingram, the architect brought on to help. But with assistance from Mallory Mathison Glenn, an interior designer and Ingram’s frequent creative partner, plans began to develop. With their background in tradition-based projects—both historic renovations and new construction informed by time-honored tastes—the Atlanta duo agreed with the Woods to use the dogtrot house, which was already on the property, as a one-of-a-kind aesthetic starting point.
Most likely built in the 1850s, the structure had once stood on the grounds of Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta before being moved to Six Flags amusement park, where it was used as the “lost children’s cabin”—a space for parents to locate kids who had wandered off. Now restored, the house serves as the compound’s central hub, with room for an eat-in kitchen, a living and dining area, and a porch overlooking the pond.
“You just can’t re-create this,” says Ingram, gazing at the cabin’s huge pine logs and cedar shake roof. “We decided, let’s avoid faking it and do something of our own to complement it.” So he designed a long, light-filled lodge to house the brothers’ families, echoing the dogtrot house’s symmetry with two two-bedroom wings branching off from a central sitting area.
“The overall feel is one of simplicity,” says Mathison Glenn, who furnished the main seating space, which features a dry-stacked granite fireplace rising twenty feet to the ceiling. Primarily using hues of green and brown, Mathison Glenn drew inspiration from the farm’s name—Pinewood Grove, which incorporates the family surname—to evoke a rugged elegance. Pieces from the family’s antique majolica collection decorate the walls, along with paintings by the celebrated Georgia folk artist John “Cornbread” Anderson.
“The boys built the place to house their families,” says the family patriarch, Leonard Sr., who lives in Atlanta with his wife, Carla. “But what we found out is that it was more fun to be out there with everybody together.” The only problem: There wasn’t quite enough room for everyone to sleep when the grandparents visited. Ingram and Mathison Glenn designed an additional 800-square-foot cottage to house the couple, with a low profile and a simple roofline, tucked into plantings of viburnum, forsythia, Lenten rose, and camellia. Butted boards are used in place of drywall, and the double back doors open to a porch overlooking a bocce court hung with a string of bulbs.
As comfortable and appealing as the homes are, the land is the real attraction. In 420 acres, you can find excellent deer, turkey, dove, and duck hunting. The pond is stocked with bass and bream. A skeet pavilion includes a 200-yard shooting range. And for the little ones, there are horses to ride, three mini donkeys to coo over, and chickens, whose eggs get gathered at dawn.
“And if you want to go to another part of the farm and really be in the woods, where anything can happen,” Kevin says, “the farm has that too.”
Just don’t forget to move your magnet on the map.