Alpharetta choice surprises intown couple

Parenting is full of unexpected moments, which happened during John and Megan Small’s home search.

The longtime Brookhaven residents were fans of inside-the-Perimeter living. After months of searching and multiple offers, the Smalls stuck to their must-haves for a home while being willing to venture beyond I-285. Even they were surprised to buy in Alpharetta.

“It was a completely different route than we were ever planning to go,” Megan said. “We were never planning on moving this far. We couldn’t believe it ourselves how happy we are.”

The priority

The couple, who have a 3-year-old daughter, Tinsley, were renting a three-bedroom, two-bath Brookhaven home built in 1953 that boasted two separate living areas. “It was actually a pretty big rental for that area,” Megan said.

Having four bedrooms was high on their list, to prepare for more children and to provide an office/studio for Megan, a watercolor artist who owns Wildblumen Ink ( They aimed for two bathrooms, and preferably three. The couple also wanted to live in an area where the schools had received 9 and 10 rankings on

“We were planning on living kind of right where we were. Both of us have lived in the Brookhaven area for over 10 years. But we were willing to look in a lot of different places,” Megan said.

The search

Working with Blair Branch Huckeba with Dorsey Alston Realtors, the couple started their search in summer 2014. They were interested in homes in Brookhaven, including one in a swim community, but negotiations did not work out.

“I felt like I was breaking up with boyfriends,” Megan said.

For one home, in the Huntley Hills neighborhood, they were outbid by $5,000. Just as they reached a point of home search exhaustion and were about to take a break, they saw online a home listed in Alpharetta that piqued their interest.

“We also were relentless looking at houses on Zillow and Trulia. It was a third job for both of us,” Megan said.

The home

A two-story foyer immediately created a sense of spaciousness in the five-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home, which was built in 1997. The floor plan included a formal living room, open dining room, two-story family room with a slate fireplace and two pantries. The layout seemed to click with them after months of trying to find a home with the style and floor plan they wanted. For example, the room that serves as Megan’s studio/office looks out onto the fenced level backyard.

The lifestyle

The move edged the family closer to relatives in Gwinnett County, while John’s commute to his job as an insurance broker with Talbert Insurance Services in Duluth, stayed about the same length. “Now that we’re in the house, I couldn’t imagine us living in some of those houses that we were picking,” Megan said. “Everything’s just kind of fallen into place.”