Elegant Cabin Style for a High Country Mountain Home

Tufted leather chair: McKinley Leather; sofa: Hickory White; chairs: Wesley Hall, Barton fabric; cocktail table and end tables: Fauld; clay fish: Alan & Rosemary Clay Studio

Photos by Kevin Meechan

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: 
This is the second home of a couple of empty nesters
Location: Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Size: 3,473 square feet (323 square meters) plus guest apartment; four bedrooms; 4½bathrooms plus guesthouse
Designer: Margaret Handley of Dianne Davant and Associates

The front door sets the tone for what’s inside: stone from the region, board-and-batten siding, metal light fixtures, warm neutral colors and botanical elements.

Blowing Rock is located in North Carolina’s High Country, an area where Scots-Irish immigrants flocked during the 1700s and 1800s. Their influence on the culture there continues today through the arts and major events such as the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.

Handley had completed the interior design on another home the couple owned in the area. When they moved into this house, she helped them reuse their existing furniture from that home while adding new pieces and switching up the overall style. “We were going for less of a cute, cottage-y look that they had in their previous home, for more of a refined mountain cabin with this one,” she says. She tied the home to the region by installing dining room draperies made of a Scottish-Irish tartan fabric and by featuring the work of local artists.

The great room is open to the dining room and kitchen, with soaring vaulted ceilings covered in stained pine tongue-and-groove paneling and large timbers. An Appalachian fieldstone chimney is another large-scale element. To address the scale in the room, Handley replaced the smaller existing chandelier with a large iron and shed antler fixture.

Hand-knotted wool rugs from local retailer The Rug Company of Blowing Rock add soft elegance and color throughout the home. Antique reproductions like the coffee and side tables bring in traditional touches. An overstuffed sofa and comfortable armchairs make this room the favorite.

Work by artists from North Carolina gives the room local flavor, and two large paintings stand up to the scale of the room. The painting over the fireplace is Crab Orchard Creek by North Carolina artist Gregory Smith. The blue vases are by Lisa Stinson, a ceramicist who is on the faculty at Appalachian State University. “These pieces show this local artist’s mastery of form and texture,” Handley says. The painting over the doorway was in the clients’ existing collection and is by Ron Williams. The landscape depicts the Southern Appalachian Highlands. Handley also helped them orient the track lights to highlight the artwork and the ceilings.

The kitchen is open to the great room, creating one large entertaining space. The couple have two children, one grandchild and another on the way, so there’s plenty of welcoming room for family gatherings as well as get-togethers with friends on the first floor. The kitchen was in good shape. Handley added the light fixture made from a reclaimed beam and the rug.

Opposite the fireplace is this fantastic range alcove, surrounded with the same regional fieldstone as the fireplace chimney.

Just off the great room is this alfresco dining area, where they enjoy spectacular views of the mountains. They can see Grandfather Mountain, where the Highland games are held.  Furniture: Summer Classics

Dining table: Hooker Furniture; drapery fabric: Broom in TarragonKirkby Design; drapery trim: Highland Courtrug: The Rug Co. of Blowing Rock

In the dining room, Handley repurposed the couple’s existing dining chairs, replacing a mountain cabin-y plaid with an animal print. “The animal print is not so cabin-ish and is playful yet sophisticated,” she says. A new chandelier adds a traditional iron touch overhead and emphasizes the oval shape of the dining table, while another hand-loomed rug defines and softens the space.

Also adding softness are the window treatments, which are tartan. “The tartan nods to the history and culture of the High Country,” the designer explains. “And the colors within the pattern really help tie everything together.” A tassel trim detail lends a hint of whimsy.

Bed: The Chatham in Cherry Cobbler, and nightstand, Mackinaw Lowboy in Butter Pecan, both from Somerset Bay; rug: The Rug Co. of Blowing Rock; floral fabric: La Cinta in tan, Lee Jofa; drapery tassel trim: Barrel trim, Bargia; coverlet and shams: Burdick 01,Fabricut; animal print pillow: Into the Wild, Kravet; olive trim: Chunbuso in Autumn, Stout

The beautiful floral print fabric was the jumping-off point for the master bedroom. Handley helped the couple select it first and then worked the room around it. “It has so many wonderful colors in it — blues, greens, reds, burgundy — it added elegance to the traditional mountain architecture,” she says.

The acrylic collages on paper over the bed are by North Carolina artist Norma Murphy.

“The master bath is large, and it felt cold, cavernous and empty,” the designer says. In order to warm it up, she added a patterned wallpaper with greens that pick up on the views outside the large widow. She also warmed the room with the valance and the rug.

The finished lower level is Appalachian State University central. This photo of the bar shows a portion of the couple’s memorabilia collection displayed down here. Through the doorway, you can see the large TV where they watch away games. The comfy overstuffed sofa faces the TV.

The guest room is a second master suite, with prominent ceiling angles covered in the stained pine tongue-and-groove paneling that contrasts with the creamy board-and-batten walls.

“We started with a beautiful mountain fabric called ‘Forest,’” Handley says. “It is full of ferns, tree branches and berries.” The fabric is on the window treatments and some of the bedding.

Beds: Wesley Allen; chest: Furniture Classics; chair: Jessica Charles with Vanguard Timeless in Ebony fabric upholstery; drapery fabric: Canonbury Tapestry, Ralph Lauren; drapery trim: Marang in Wheat, Fabricut

For the twin bedroom, Handley kept grandchildren in mind. “This rug is so soft and plush, I knew it would be perfect for children playing on the floor,” she says. Iron beds with a bronze finish and a pine chest bring in traditional style. The chair is a glider for cuddling up with little ones.

The bear oil paintings are by South Carolina artist Nancy Openheimer. They depict the bears found on nearby Grandfather Mountain.

The “guesthouse” is an apartment over the detached garage. It has more of a cottage sun porch feel, with an emphasis on blues and greens.

Sofa: Wesley Hall with Marrakesh Indigo fabric upholstery; cocktail table: Trade Winds; rug: The Rug Co. of Blowing Rock