One-of-a-kind home, property hits market in Alabama
By Gary Lloyd
SPRINGVILLE — Before the state-of-the-art home can be properly described, it is important to go back to its foundation.
Not the foundation in the home’s literal sense, but rather its idea, its genesis. And it started when its owner and hopeful seller, now 71 years old, was in high school.
Allen Jackson, like most teenagers, was unsure of what direction he wanted to take in life after high school. So, during those high school years, he searched for minor classes of interest. Woodworking wasn’t it. Choir and band? No. Down at the bottom of the list, however, was mechanical drawing. At the end of the class’s first quarter, when most of his classmates decided that one time was enough, Jackson continued taking harder mechanical drawing courses. He took classes all through high school and more at a two-year trade school.
“I just like drawing things,” Jackson says. “I’ve been drawing things ever since.”
Growing up, Jackson lived mostly in apartments until his junior year of high school, when his mom purchased a house. He told himself at the time that he was going to work hard and earn his way. He owned a successful business for 30 years. He drew plans for airports, power plants and more.
He lived in subdivision homes in Adamsville and Pinson, both on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. He bought land, sold it and bought more land. He still wasn’t quite satisfied, until 1998, when he found the perfect parcel of land in Springville, Alabama.
“I’ve always wanted to get out of the city,” Jackson says. “My grandparents lived in the country, and I always liked going out there. Just good times. I’ve got country in my blood.”
Jackson had a full-brick home built from 2003-2004 on the 66 picturesque acres he bought. Using his mechanical engineering talent, he drew the plans for the one-of-a-kind home at 554 Huff Lane in Springville. The home is the definition of custom. Unipour concrete basement walls are 12 inches thick under grade, including the safe room, and eight inches thick above grade. All exterior walls are framed with two-by-six studs with six-inch insulation. Double two-by-four studs are in all interior load-bearing walls. A 16-inch-deep silent floor system on the main and second floors ensures the white oak hardwood floors will never creak.
“Quiet and solid as a rock,” Jackson says.
The main living area covers more than 3,600 square feet, including a master bedroom suite with a bathroom that features a 16-foot ceiling with leaded glass. There are also two walk-in closets. The main level also includes separate living and dining rooms, a full kitchen with island, and dining and den areas. A second full bathroom is just of the den.
The second floor, which spans more than 2,200 square feet, includes three bedrooms with walk-in closets, two full bathrooms, two offices and an entertainment room. There are two large storage areas and a walk-in attic. The basement, which also covers more than 2,200 square feet, is an open concept space with a full kitchen and bar, dining area and living area. It also has two bedroom suits with bathrooms.
The home truly is a sight to behold. When people visit the Jacksons, they can’t believe the home was constructed 17 years ago.
“I take care of everything,” Jackson says. “I keep everything fixed and up to date.”
Though the home itself is quite inviting and hard to leave, the acreage surrounding it is a tremendous draw. A fiberglass pool, 16 feet wide and 42 feet long, awaits in the back yard. Dive off the diving board. Twist your way down the blue slide. Cool off in the pool house, which is divided into three rooms, including a kitchen area.
“Just good times,” Jackson says of spending time at the pool with family.
It doesn’t stop there. A separate guest house covering 1,600 square feet sits on the property, and it includes a full kitchen, dining and living areas, bedroom with bathroom and walk-in closet. A metal tractor house sits not far from the guest house, where electricity and water are provided. When the four roll-up doors rise, what is revealed is a 2013 Kubota M7040 tractor and twelve-foot batwing, a zero-cut mower and Gator TX. All come with the purchase of the home.
“All they’ve got to do is move in,” Jackson says of potential buyers. “Everything they need is here. I’ve got it.”
All are requirements for taking care of these 66 acres, which, while is hard work, is also therapeutic. Corn was grown here for 50 years by the founding Huff family. Cattle was later raised on it. Jackson planted beautiful coastal Bermuda grass on it.
Jackson says that 35 to 40 acres of the land is pastureland. The rest is timber woods, from which deer and turkey often reveal themselves. An eight-foot-wide creek runs through the property, and Jackson says bass and bream are known to bite a hook.
“My favorite thing about living here is I like the tranquility, the quiet,” Jackson says. “It’s just an enjoyable place to live. If you want some good time with yourself and with your family, you can’t beat it. It’s totally different from living in a subdivision.”
Jackson says his favorite thing to do at 554 Huff Lane is to simply roam around outside. He can spend the whole day outside and enjoy it. He admits he is disappointed in himself for never acquiring horses or cattle, but he surmises that the next homeowners could do so. Cattle, after all, are raised by other property owners in the area, a place where the air is smog-free, and handshakes are strong and important.
“If you want to be able to live somewhere and breathe good, clean, fresh air, you can’t beat it,” Jackson says. “You’re more back to nature. Throw your telephone down and go walk around in those trees back there on 25 acres of land.”
Jackson’s words are compelling. Clean, fresh air. Back to nature. Leaving the iPhone on the couch because it truly is not always necessary. If a property can inspire just by its beauty, this is it. It’s out in the country, but it is still convenient. Downtown Springville is 8.5 miles away. Downtown Ashville is only 4.5 miles down U.S. 231. Oneonta is reachable in 17 minutes and downtown Birmingham can be driven to in a half hour.
“I have enjoyed living here,” Jackson says. “It’ll probably take me six months to get over it when I sell it and do move away from here.”