Back when they were kids sitting side by side on a yellow school bus rambling around Buck Mountain in Tennessee, brothers Seth and Chad became infatuated with a little stone farmhouse outside their bus window. Both the property and the house–nearly swallowed by overgrown bushes—mesmerized and, okay, slightly spooked the elementary-age kids, and it remained etched in memory. Years later, when the brothers were old enough to start families and buy homes of their own a mere 15 minutes away, Seth still found himself coming up with excuses to drive by the old place. “I always saw myself on that farm with some cows, fixing up that house,” he says.
So, in 2011, Seth decided to take action—he set pen to paper and wrote a letter. “I just explained [to the owner] how I’ve always admired the house and loved the idea of my daughters growing up on a farm so close to their grandparents,” he says. Much to his surprise, just two weeks later he received a phone call from David Vaughn, a grandson of the original owner. The conversation was short and sweet. Says Seth, “He basically said, ‘Hey, I got your letter, and sure, I’ll sell.’ ”
After getting the okay from his wife, Brook, Seth called on his brother, Chad, and his wife,