While the star of the 2013 Cashiers Designer Showhouse was it's 40 acres of rolling lawns, fenced pastures and stunning views, it was the imagination and creativity of some of the Southeast’s top design talents that transformed a sprawling estate—and its trio of living quarters—into a gracious, peaceful retreat.
Older mountain homes, with their varied ceiling heights, can confuse the eye, says Dotty Travis, founder and owner of Travis & Company. In the study/sitting room, she and Dennis Schuhart desired to level the space and create a more pleasing proportion. A Travis acrylic desk with a glass top blends into the room, which also boasts a low side table and a club chair and ottoman upholstered in Romo/Kirkby Design’s Chester Hide. Mixed media pieces from Pryor Fine Art join antique and wooden accessories. The Cowtan & Tout paisley fabric on the roman shade also covers the 1930s Bergere, which sits on a calfskin rug and next to a custom desk chair by Travis.
Carole Weaks, C. Weaks Interiors
The sharp green in the neutral space reminded Carole Weaks of the limelight hydrangeas often seen in the area and packed the punch against the wood and stone walls. But it was the Travers fabric from Ainsworth-Noah that Weaks knew she had to include, drawn to the environmental feel of the wool appliqués against the crisp linen. The fabric was used for the draperies, chair, headboard and dust skirt, with drapery and pillows by Barter & Galambos. On the walls, a Phillip Jeffries woven acted as an anchor for the various textures in the room, which also featured stone birds fashioned into sculptural lamps from Dessin Fournir. The adjacent outdoor space was spacious enough for lounge chairs, a dining table and chairs from Kolo Collection and a Dessin Fournir bench.
Living Area and Porch
James Farmer & Maggie C. Griffin, James Farmer Designs
James Farmer envisioned the great room being the perfect spot for a “one-stop dinner party,” where guests could arrive, enjoy cocktails, eat dinner and continue the conversation while enjoying the views and relaxing by the fire. To create a room ready for dining, lounging, entertaining and reading—all the things that are great about being in Cashiers—Farmer furnished the space with familiar, comfortable objects. Dovetail Antiques provided one of his favorite pieces, a table from the Beret Museum in France. The blue ceiling—Farmer’s signature design and a bold request—accentuates the room’s scale and proportion.
Amy Morris, Amy D. Morris Interiors
The kitchen was designed by Kathleen Rivers, whose cabinetry layout made the small, angled space feel larger, Amy Morris says, while neutral paint lightened up the room. The dark island anchored the space, with stools from Arteriors. Morris used hardware from Top Knobs, fixtures from Circa Lighting and assorted window treatments, art and decorative objects. The kitchen extended to the porch, where iron chairs and a cast-concrete table designed to withstand the elements contrasted with the wood.
Edwin Lusk and David Paterson, Fletcher and Lee
As expected in a mountain home, it was the view that ultimately inspired Edwin Lusk and David Paterson, owners of the Cashiers-based Fletcher and Lee, to create a relaxing retreat to enjoy after a day of riding, whether to read, play chess or relax with family or guests. The duo selected the day bed from Zentique because of its unusual style; it is accompanied by Mr. Brown side chests and an English antique painted chest of drawers from their firm.
Kathryn Greeley, Kathryn Greeley Designs
For a small mountaintop bedroom with high ceilings, Kathryn Greeley was inspired by an old French linen print, “Jossel,” by Brunschwig and Fils. The fabric created drama in the room, where old and new pieces mixed for a “collected look.” Among the old: two antique leather wing chairs, an antique Scottish chest and a faux bamboo bookcase filled with a collection of antique majolica. For the new, Greeley designed custom bedside tables with The Gilded Stag in Arkansas and added an upholstered bed and a mirror by Bunny Williams. Custom hand-blown glass lamps by David Goldhagen of Hayesville, NC, and over-scaled original botanicals from Rosemary Clark Stiefel of Highlands lent an updated feel.
Sally Johannessen, Dovetail Antiques
Soaring ceilings and the room’s near-symmetrical simplicity served as the launching point for antiques dealer Sally Johannessen, who brought key pieces, such as a large French boiserie, to the guest house. A French pastry table was the perfect solution to divide the narrow space between a living area and a functioning kitchen, and it served as a sofa back and prep area in one. She created a gathering place for guests to congregate at the beginning and end of their day to discuss their plans and discoveries, even imagining items they found on local hikes and placing them into the painted bookcase. For a high-low focus, pieces came from area thrift stores to flea markets in France, including finds such as 19th-century French zinc butcher’s shop horse head and hanging lanterns. The pair of stag leg tables are reproductions by Bliss. A daybed also made an appearance in this room—she used a pair of twin headboards for a long, low look. She adds: “I am always happiest when I can find a creative use for something that needs to be rescued.”
“In the classical manner, Charles gave the room much symmetry,” says Kathleen Rivers of the interior design legend known for his fondess for French Country. “However, as one who was confident of his style, he did what many great artists do in their paintings: throw in the unexpected. The giant arrangement of hydrangeas off-center of the table, the étagère with élan horns and painting on one side and a simple chair on the other, all reflect his choice to ‘paint’ the room in three-dimensional fashion. Whatever it took to create the harmony he was seeking.”
Ann Sherrill, Rusticks
For a dramatic touch, Ann Sherrill, owner of the Cashiers-based home furnishings boutqique Rusticks, employed glossy black paint on a picnic-style dining table and porch swing, both of which were made by a local craftsman, and repeated that color in the rugs underfoot. The coral hue in the fabrics tied together the dining area and sitting area, which she deliberately seperated into two distinct spaces in the outdoor space.
Robert Brown, Robert Brown Interior Design
Cashiers may feel worlds away during a visit, but Robert Brown transported guests all the way to West Africa after being moved by photographer Jason Florio’s striking images of the tribal cultures along the remote Gambia River. Florio’s photography served as a starting point, then Brown incorporated tribal elements, such as natural fibers, rich woods, geometric patterns and sumptuous fabrics. He created a relaxing space that invites lounging, but was functional and comfortable enough for work, knowing that people want to be able to plug in and connect, even in Cashiers. Wrapping a folding screen around the desk made the space feel more intimate. The screen also broke up the lines of the room and lent visual interest to the space, he says.
Barbara Heath, The Mercantile
The new No. 9 Collection from Jim Thompson fabrics, with its vibrant color and patterns, inspired Barbara Heath’s design for a bedroom in the guest house. Heath sought to convey to showhouse visitors how sumptuous textiles can be integrated into everyday spaces. The main fabric, “Wedding Parade,” was framed to look like a piece of tapestry and provided a backdrop for the bedroom. The bed’s turned posts and aged look from its cerused finish (sourced from Heath’s Atlanta boutique, The Mercantile), played off the exotic nature of the fabrics. Color-blocked framed images also brought a fun fashion trend into a bedroom designed to welcome weary travelers.
Gentleman’s Guest Bedroom/Bath
Eddie Alvarez & George Oliver, A Country Home
This Highlands-based duo envisioned the main home’s guest bedroom as a stylish and relaxing retreat after a day of horseback riding on this sprawling property. An antique horse weathervane used as a sculpture, lamps made from antique English riding boot forms and a set of 18th-century German horse engravings contribute to its equestrian flair. The walls and sloped ceiling were painted the same hue to create the illusion of height. Custom cabinetry in the bathroom is by Kindgom Woodworks.
Guest House Living Area
Francie Hargrove Interior Design
“Total comfort and charm was important to me in creating this space,” says designer Francie Hargrove, who imbued this joint kitchen/living space with her signature touch of rustic elegance. Tailored draperies in French General Plaid, pillows covered in Cowtan & Tout’s Rhododendron Linen and pleated skirts add a feminine touch—and soften the soaring ceiling and stone mantel.
Bunk House Sleeping Porch
Lynn Monday, Monday’s House of Design
To foster a feeling of intimacy in the bunk house’s narrow sleeping porch, Lynn Monday created a guest-worthy retreat by draping the space with panels in the same fabric as its rustic-chic canopy bed. A separate seating area also feels at one with nature thanks to a soothing color palette and textural materials.