Sometimes finding a family home means looking for features beyond the four walls. For buyer Jason Moore and his wife, Barbara, issues such as schools and safety were equally, if not more, critical to the home purchase than the number of bedrooms and the size of the garage.

    The couple’s decision was also influenced by their choice to become a one-income family. “So we were definitely looking for something that fit our budget and wouldn’t be something we’d have to worry about repairing,” said Moore. “So that meant new construction.”

    The two had previously lived in the Woodstock area and were drawn back to Cherokee County for its selection of new homes, many in large, friendly communities with recreational amenities. But they weren’t in a hurry.

    “We looked for about six years, but we knew we liked that there was less congestion around here,” said Moore “There were several choices in this area – at least eight or nine we considered. We spent a lot of time trying to decide!”

    A new home at Harmony on the Lakes in Holly Springs matched the couple’s criteria on all major concerns, said Moore, who has two children and is expecting a third. “Honestly, what made the biggest difference was the lifeguard at the pool. We saw in other communities that there wasn’t proper supervision, and having a lifeguard who could help if there was need was pretty important to us.”

    Having lived in the north Georgia area for some time, and being familiar with the problem of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, Moore also believed that having a basement was a critical safety issue.

    “We owned a house before without a basement, and we liked the idea of extra space,” he said. “But if you’ve ever tried to crawl into a small, under-the-stairs closet with kids, you know after about 10 minutes, everybody wants out!”

    The couple’s four-bedroom, 2.5-bath traditional in Harmony’s The Glen section has plenty of room to spread out, even into the flat back yard that backs up to a wooded area. It’s one of 53 new houses being built by Fortress Homes and priced from the mid-$200,000s. The designs are a mix of two-story and ranch plans, with brick and concrete siding exteriors. Standard features include five-inch hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen counters, tile backsplashes, tiled master baths, two-car garages and mud rooms outfitted with cubby holes, coat hooks and bead board accents. Some plans incorporate tray ceilings in the master, vaulted eating areas in the kitchen, butler’s pantries off the dining room, loft areas, masters on the main and three baths.

    The community also boasts a private lake, clubhouse, tennis courts, walking trails, a garden amphitheater, a playground and a fire pit.

    “We have already met the activities director and gotten a list of camps for the kids this summer,” said Moore. “We’re looking forward to the first pool party, and I can’t wait to get on the lake with my son. That’s something I definitely want to do soon.”

    About Harmony on the Lakes / The Glen

    Price range: from the mid-$200,000s

    Number of homes when completed: 53

    Styles: One- and two-story traditionals

    Square footage: 2,200 to 3,200

    Schools: Indian Knoll Elementary, Dean Rusk Middle, Sequoyah High

    Getting there: From downtown Atlanta, take I-75 north to I-575 north. Exit at Sixes Road (Exit 11), and turn right. Turn left on Main Street/Old Highway 5, and follow for 3.5 miles. Turn right onto Hickory Road, and follow for 3 miles. Turn left into the Harmony on the Lakes entrance.

    Contacts: 404-910-3220404-910-3220, www.fortressbuilders.net

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