By Carolyn Crist
For the AJC
Leanne Williams-Hall, a Baton Rouge native who lived in Phoenix for nearly 20 years, wanted to return to the South to raise her 2-year-old son Cason around family. Williams-Hall and her husband, Bartlett Hall, built a new construction home in Buckhead’s Canterbury Heights subdivision, a five-mile drive from Hall’s mother in Sandy Springs.
When Cason was born, the couple desired to return to the South, where they were raised. They connected with Robin Conklin with Dorsey Alston, Realtors in Atlanta and began looking at online listings. Based on their Phoenix home, the couple looked for a new place with storage space, a two-car garage and a backyard.
Conklin took them to Canterbury Heights, which offers homes from the low to high $500,000s, and Hall, 48, said he felt comfortable as soon as they pulled into the subdivision. The price seemed right for the Sarah Smith Elementary school district, and Conklin advised them to pick a lot with a full view of the Atlanta skyline. The couple decided to build a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with 2,100 square feet and unfinished basement through Rockhaven Homes.
“Most of the homes that we found in the price range we wanted were too small or older, so we were excited to build new construction,” Williams-Hall said. “We knew we wouldn’t have to remodel, and I appreciated the floor plan that allows me to keep an eye on Cason while I’m cooking.”
Putting down roots
The couple, who own commercial real estate, enjoyed building the home from the ground up and making choices about paint, floor stains and tile. Williams-Hall, 45, chose a gray and blue theme throughout the house with dark wood floors. On the main floor downstairs, she contrasted a few collected French antiques with modern furniture, featuring a 100-year-old Persian rug that she inherited from her mother. Cason’s room is a “cabin wonderland” with a large world map on the wall, toy boxes and a bunkbed with full-size mattresses.
“We like that we’re near Shady Valley Park and have the Roxboro Valley Pool and Tennis Club nearby,” she said. “If you raise your kids in the city, find places that will let them experience the outdoors as well.”
When you are searching for a new home on the other side of the country, make a trip to view listings in person instead of relying on photos you see online. They first considered homes in Milton, Inman Park and Grant Park. In person, the homes they saw didn’t look the same as they did online or the couple had safety concerns, such as finding a bus stop in front of one house. “Arizona felt safe for Cason, and we wanted to find a place here that we were OK with,” Hall said. “Plus, my mom lives five miles away and we can take Cason over in his pajamas. We love that.”