Elegant rustic retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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This stunning part-time home was designed for a retired couple from Florida by Platt Architecture and Morgan Keefe Builders, located in Cashiers, North Carolina.The couple wanted to design a new house that looked like an old Southern Highlands homestead. Built in 2013, the home is comprised of 5,847 square feet, with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the resulting house wraps the residents in a cocoon of antique woods: aged chestnut on the walls, hemlock on the ceilings and oak underfoot. Salvaged bricks were sliced into wafers and used to pave the lower level. Reclaimed timbers were stacked in front, log-cabin-style, making the rambling house look like a mountain shack that was expanded over several generations — instilling an instant sense of history without compromising the conveniences of today.

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The screened porch was designed like an outdoor living room, and the owners say it’s their favorite room in the house. Hickory pieces from Flat Rock Furniture are grouped around a stone fireplace flanked by a TV (hidden behind the shutters to the right).

Fiberglass screens shield the occupants from insects, while a second, retractable Mylar screen protects the interior from the weather and pollen. Steel beams hidden inside hollowed-out timbers provide structural support without compromising the room’s rustic allure.

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The homeowners prefer dark finishes, which proved challenging for the architect, who compensated by incorporating lots of transom windows and several skylights into the design. Interior designer Ann Sherrill of Rusticks found all that darkness daunting as well. She preserved the patinas but countered them with pale linen upholstery and light-colored carpets.

In the living room, French country antiques are combined with contemporary flourishes — like antler lamps mounted on Lucite — that offer a respite from all the rusticity and make the space feel lighter and fresher.

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The designer likes to use a neutral palette, then introduce variety through light fixtures, accessories and, occasionally, carpeting. Leopard-patterned broadloom adds an unexpected touch of Park Avenue polish to the family room.

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The architect used skylights to bring more illumination into the center of the house. Since conventional skylights would have been inconsistent with the home’s vintage look, the architect set them on roof planes hidden from view on the outside, and obscured by light shafts on the inside — so there’s illumination without a visible source.

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The rear countertop is covered in granite, which continues up the backsplash for a clean look.

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The owners say the kitchen is really the focal point of the whole house — the place where they gather with friends, plus their two grown sons and their families. The cabinets are made from paint-grade hardwood painted cream, then topped with a walnut glaze. The countertop is reclaimed oak. Pocket doors divide the kitchen from the neighboring screened porch, affording an easy indoor-outdoor flow and convenient access to the grill.

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The master bedroom features vaulted ceilings and bucolic views of Sassafras Ridge.

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The clients didn’t want any drywall in the home, so rooms that weren’t paneled in vintage chestnut were covered in painted Southern yellow pine.

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The floors on the lower level are paved with vintage bricks cut into slices, stained, then sealed. The wine cellar can hold 850 bottles.

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An attached garage separates the main house from the guesthouse, where the owners’ two sons often stay with their families. The masonry throughout the house is a mixture of Elk Mountain stone from North Carolina and Cumberland Plateau stone from Tennessee. The mortar is fairly flush with the face of the rock, concealing the edges of each stone so that the surface appears smoother and softer.

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Sherrill spied this unmarked deer head fabric at Lewis & Sheron Textiles in Atlanta and bought up as much of it as she could find. It offers a playful take on a hunting lodge motif for this bedroom in the guesthouse. It also gave the designer a way to introduce pattern, since the wife specified that the house should have no florals.

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The 4-acre property sits on the back side of a mountain and overlooks the Nantahala National Forest. The owners were attracted by the view and the fact that the site would be easy to build on. They spend about five months a year here and accommodate visitors in the guesthouse, visible on the far left.

Photos: J. Weiland

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Jim Jackson
3 years ago

Well…I suppose it is a nice place, but I think at almost 6k sq.ft. and given that they live there less than 1/2 of the time, these factoids tell me that I am looking at the wrong blog!
This reads more like “how to waste well” than….how to live well.
Plus…nothing really amazing, built to impress. Folks with money don’t ness. have style.
Moving On.