Country Chic

Architect D. Stanley Dixon and Designer Nancy Warren Create a New Vision of Refined Rustic Living.

When wintry weekends roll around, the pastoral hills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains beckon. For a pair of Atlanta empty nesters, the tree-lined, creek-laced setting of Cashiers proved the perfect place for a second home.

Hired to deliver just the right level of elegance to the mountain retreat located on about an acre of picturesque golf course property was Atlanta architect D. Stanley Dixon, who was careful to avoid the clichés of lodge living. Known for his less-is-more approach, Dixon conceived a plan for the 4,350-square-foot house that combined traditional and modern styles, intimacy with ample space, and a fluid connection between inside and outside.

Wood siding, a shingled roof and dormer windows across the home’s symmetrical frame distinguish it as New England colonial, but Dixon’s incorporation of the latticework portico and charcoal gray exterior paint makes it equal parts North Carolina. “That was something I was envisioning from the very beginning, and the homeowners were on board,” says Dixon of the “dramatic, yet subtle” color choice. “The drama is in the fact that it’s all one color. The subtle part is that it’s almost the color of the bark of the trees, so it disappears into the landscape,” he says.

Taking cues from Dixon, Atlanta interior designer Nancy Warren set out to achieve a casual, timeworn-yet-timeless aesthetic for the retreat. Stepping through the threshold onto cool North Carolina fieldstone, Warren’s salon-style art grouping above the entry table sets the tone for beautiful contrasts throughout the house. Here, a country farmhouse feel is evoked by horizontal wood paneling, while a gilded mirror and a chic set of resin tortoise shells are at once refined and stylish. “I feel like I could move anything into another room and it would fit,” she says of the interiors’ collaged effect.

The great room, combining the living and dining rooms, is anchored by fieldstone fireplaces at each end. “This is a second home, so they wanted it to be very open, very causal, and without a lot of redundant spaces,” says Dixon. Earthy green fabrics, antique leather chairs and lush curtains elevate the cozy feeling in the wide open room. “My favorite time in Cashiers is the winter, when it’s just freezing cold. I thought velvet curtains with the fireplaces just made the space warm,” says Warren. The airy room in the middle may appear formal in feel, but Dixon was careful to tuck small, intimate spaces around it, such as the sunken sitting room and library. He reinforced the intimacy of the sitting room by lowering the ceiling and paneling the walls in cypress, a material the homeowners requested. “It’s one of their favorite rooms,” he says of the space where they can drift off to sleeep or read a book with the dog at their feet.

In the kitchen, Dixon dispensed with standard features, namely a surround of cabinetry and a center island, replacing the latter with a distressed farm table. Around the table, Warren mixed a bench with stools and comfortable chairs to introduce a modern touch. “I wanted it to look more like a room than a kitchen,” says the designer. “Our number one goal was for it to be charming and comfortable, but sophisticated.”

Through steel-and-glass doors, the kitchen gives way to a sprawling, open-air porch with a vaulted ceiling and dramatic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and verdant golf course. The easy transition from indoors to out offers a seamlessness that Dixon and Warren always envisioned for the mountain house—an overall effect that’s relaxed and livable, a true testament to mountain life.


ARCHITECTURE D. Stanley Dixon Architect, 2300 Peachtree Road, Suite C-101, Atlanta 30309. (404) 574-1430; INTERIOR DESIGN Nancy Warren Interiors, Inc. (404) 848-2010 FOYER BUFFET MacRae through Holland & Company ART Fred Reed Picture Framing  SCONCES & MIRROR The Stalls LAMPS & SHADES Edgar-Reeves Lighting & Antiques DINING TABLE Parc Monceau CHAIRS Holland & Company BLACK FOREST BREAKFRONT The Gables Antiques CHANDELIER Foxglove Antiques MIRROR The Stalls ANTIQUE BOTTLES English Accents GREAT ROOM ANTIQUE LEATHER CHAIRS & OTTOMAN Holland & Company POWDER ROOM MIRROR Foxglove Antiques SCONCES Dearing Antiques STUDY FABRICS Clarence House through Jerry Pair & Associates COFFEE TABLE Webb Marsteller MASTER BEDROOM FABRIC Vervain LAMPS Joseph Konrad CHANDELIER Acquisitions LOGGIA IRON CONSOLE MacRae through Holland & Company KITCHEN LIGHT FIXTURES Joseph Konrad BENCH Bungalow Classic PORCH FURNITURE Logan Gardens ZINC TABLE Kevin Scanlon