Some people know at an early age what career they want to pursue, others choose to explore a few. Pulaski native Dr. Randy Vaughn took the latter route. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in biology from Wake Forest University, he enrolled in dental school, only to discover after one day of clinics that dentistry was not his calling. A master’s degree in biology from WFU and post graduate work at the University of Alberta, Canada, led him to teaching microbiology and embryology at Presbyterian College. However, his love of science, animal husbandry, medicine and working with the public propelled him into veterinary medicine. After graduation from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, he returned home to Pulaski. In 1980, he established Tipton Ridge Veterinary Medical Center, named in honor of his father, Donald “Tip” Vaughn. In October 2011, Dr. V (as he is affectionately known to his clients) retired after 31 years as a well-known and respected figure to enjoy life on the farm.
After visiting Goose Creek Farms and touring his home and gardens in the rolling countryside near the historic Village of Newbern, many wonder why Dr. Vaughn did not study architecture or landscape design. He began construction on his Arts-and-Crafts-meets- Contemporary home in 1984. Creating, designing and building his home continued for three decades, evolving into its current footprint of naturalized and ornamental gardens, water features, koi ponds and living spaces in constant communion with the surrounding 115+ acres of woodlands and pastures.
“I have been blessed to have stewardship of this small piece of creation,” he relates. “Everyone’s home should be their refuge, a quiet place of solace and peace.” With help from his brother, Mark Vaughn of Vaughn Construction, working on his home has been a labor of love and source of inspiration and fulfillment. Dr. V credits everyone: “Each of the craftsmen with talent left a piece of themselves at Goose Creek. They took great pride in their work, bringing ideas and accomplishing incredibly beautiful, personalized expressions of themselves.”
A luxurious guest house, swimming pool and spa house are settled into natural rock formations artfully landscaped to blend nature with structure. The guest house not only has a luxury apartment next to the pool, but also a billiards room and large social space with a full counter bar, bistro tables and multiple flat screen TVs surrounded by walls of windows that provide up close views of the wooded surroundings.
Outside, dry-stacked rock walls meander around patios and the pool. “There are around 250 tons of rocks in these walls,” Randy points out. “The outdoor flagstone was the last of its kind quarried in Pulaski County, and the balance came from Tennessee.” The stone for the expansive rock fireplaces and wall of the great room in the main house was collected on the property. The wood decks flow around the house tempting nooks and private places among towering oak trees to bring a book and glass of wine and savor this special indoor/outdoor lifestyle. “The house took on its own character from the surrounding natural setting and materials,” Randy explains, enhanced by a color palette that ranges from cream with a hint of mossy green to various muted shades of sage and olive. It is the best of woodsy sophistication.
Inside the main residence, wood ceilings and floors add to the natural forest feel, and large, plush furnishings offer warmth and comfort. The French Country kitchen is functional, spotless and sports glass shelves and interior cabinet lights that support Randy’s penchant for neatness and openness. “In my line of work, especially surgery, everything must be in its place and cleaned and stored immediately after use; I just carried that over naturally at home.” There are many distinctive levels and places to relax in rooms that surpass normal labels like family room, living room, etc., all featuring interesting antiques and Dr. V’s special collections of wooden animals, vintage clocks, regional and local art from early 1800s to contemporary, metal sculpture and fabrics.
Much of the reason for the multiple levels stems from the natural contour of the ground and boulders below. “In some of the building I had to accommodate huge boulders or other geological formations that I didn‘t wish to disturb,” he says. Art, glass and nature blend; draperies, furnishings, linens and copious pillows in each of the five bedrooms of the main house create settings that belong in a luxurious 5-star country inn. The entire home evokes an interesting, eclectic appeal that blends luxury with country, touches of glamour with nature. An enduring sense of elegance, serenity and quiet blankets it all.
With the completion of Goose Creek Farms, retirement from veterinary medicine and the freedom that retirement brings, Dr. V has decided to list his home and farm for sale. “Leaving this place will be difficult and emotional, but there are lots of other projects, dreams and learning experiences to pursue,” he states. It is his hope that someone will assume stewardship of the farm and love the home and gardens as they continue to develop and evolve. “Being tied to the land, to this place, these mountains, the people, knowing what a caring community can mean and how it sustains one has kept me grounded across the years. Everyone has some responsibility to preserve and encourage sensible use of the land, and these are values I look for in the next residents and stewards of Goose Creek Farms.”
Text by Joanne M. Anderson
Photos by Always and Forever Photography