1349 Gunbarrel Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Onward to Opening!

We are closer to welcoming you as a guest at St Francis Cottage
Each day brings us closer to opening by our early-April target date.  Most recently, the parking lot and upper driveway were completed by Alguire Construction, who did an impeccable concrete finishing job within just a couple of days.  John Cantrell and his team at Ames Excavating worked from sun-up to sun-down grading and moving tons of dirt to prep the driveway and parking areas.  John is currently underway on the final phase, prepping the  500-foot driveway down the hill to Gunbarrel Road.  John Alguire and his competent team will then take over with the final forming and pour.

Setting the forms for the upper driveway and parking areas.

Alguire Construction crew hard at work laying first sections of the circle drive and parking areas.

Finished top driveway and the beginnings of landscaping.

Lower driveway preparation by Ames Excavating.  Thanks, John!
 Other crews have been finalizing all the stairs for porches and deck.  We watched in amazement as the 34-foot handicapped access ramp was constructed, with a landing right on the van-accessible parking space. Front steps are going in this week, now that they also finished the ADA compliant entries for front and back.

Handicapped ramp.  Handrails to be added before opening.
 We’ve planted well over 100 trees and evergreen shrubs over the past two weeks in a landscaping blitz, and we’ll plant the final 10 Leyland Cypress trees once the driveway is installed.  A 20-ft. by 40-ft. island in front of the Cottage provided a blank canvas for Nancy to plant ornamental trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials; a pleasant break from the required landscaping plan.

A few of the screening shrubs required by the city.  We have planted over 100 trees and shrubs.
 Wallace is busy with his planer creating wooden architectural features in the conference room while tending to daily construction details, website management, internet matters, and taking our first reservations.  He’s often interrupted with numerous demands and details throughout the day, so Wallace has spent many late nights implementing his artistic designs within the building.  The three-sided fireplace has been installed and inspected, leaving just a few final touch-up details to the interior.

Conference Room, Library Media Wall (65" LED with Surround Sound, full A/V hookups)
Peninsula fireplace in the Great Room.  Almost finished.  A place to relax and get cozy.
 Ames construction also put the final touches on the required detention pond and our lab, Maggie, has been enjoying frolicking in the detention pond during the warm afternoons. She’s become an honorary crew member with her friendly, gentle demeanor.  She slowly wanders back-and-forth between our home and St Francis Cottage throughout the day enjoying all the attention she receives from the workers.

Maggie's "swimming hole." We've planted a few trees and will be adding some weeping willows and sea oats soon.

There are certainly not enough hours in the day during the final rush to open.  Once the Certificate of Occupancy is issued, we look forward to decorating the guest rooms and common areas.  Then on to scheduling the ribbon-cutting with the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and hosting our first guests at St Francis Cottage.  Can’t wait to meet you!


  1. The king and queen of hospitality have built a beautiful palace for all the guests to enjoy. We will look forward to a stay in the not-to-distant future!

    1. Ha, ha . . . same wonderful sense of humor! We must get together and reminisce about Habitat days and catch up on what Aaron and Christina are doing. Stay warm in Michigan!

  2. What a beautiful and peaceful getaway you've created! Can't wait to take the grand tour! Very proud of you both!

    1. Thank you, Beverly, and we would LOVE for you and Ray to stop by anytime. It's been too long since we've seen you!

  3. Wow Nancy and Wallace. Can't wait to come and visit when you open, love Don& Pam Jones

    1. Oh, wow, it seems like just yesterday that we were all together in Houston at Redeemer (40 years ago?!) Good days and memories. So good to hear from you and hope you can make it East soon; we would love to see you!