wonder what happens when you turn a talented, imaginative architect loose with no preconceived directions other than to create
That was the
opportunity given to Gary Best when his sister and brother-in-law hired him to design a collection of getaway cottages for
Butterfly Gap, a secluded retreat that they were developing on a majestic 900 acre tract of woodlands in the foothills of
the Great Smoky Mountains near Maryville, Tennessee.
The result…five architecturally unique small guest homes, each embodied with a distinctive style and individual
sense of character. Clad in a varied and appealing mix of exterior finishes and colors, these cottages present a bold, modern
version of a cabin in the woods…yet the only thing rustic about them is the view of the wooded surroundings and shimmering
lake viewed from the abundance of windows that accents each structure.
Best describes Butterfly Gap and the buildings that he has designed there as being the most fun
among all the projects with which he has been involved. While his broad portfolio of architectural achievements includes hundreds
of buildings ranging from churches and motels to luxury residences and multi-family dwellings, he says that this is the first
time a client has ever given him such latitude in terms of design criteria or creative direction.
The interior designs clearly received a great deal of attention,
with a different, but stylish, set of luxury amenities found in each. The colors are bold and some could be described as splashy.
All units are furnished with fully-equipped kitchens and king beds; there are no phones, but each has a large flat-screen
television. Some have saunas, rain showers or multiple shower heads. Screen porches and large decks expand the sense of spaciousness,
as do the soaring interiors and curves found throughout the interior spaces.
Spurred by the growing popularity of Butterfly Gap as a setting for weddings, business
gathering and as a weekend getaway, plans are currently underway for additional cottages, which Best now has on the drawing
board. Although some visitors have expressed an interest in obtaining the plans for building their own
version of the cottages, Best intends to restrict these unique designs exclusively to their use at Butterfly Gap and has no
plans to make these or similar plans available on a wide scale.