Fresh Perspective

Courtney Giles Interiors offers a modern take on mountain living in a winsome North Carolina retreat for an Atlanta family

When it comes to getting away, Atlantans have been escaping to Cashiers, North Carolina, for generations. Its allure is palpable: glassy lakes, sweeping vistas and crisp mountain air. And with temperatures that are 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the Southeast, it’s no wonder the population of this two-stoplight town swells from 150 to more than 10,000 in the summer.

For interior designer Courtney Giles’ Atlanta clients, though, the attraction to Cashiers ran much deeper. The husband called North Carolina home for much of his childhood and was eager to share the enclave’s close-to-nature lifestyle with his young family. “He’s an avid golfer and loves to fly-fish, and wanted to share those experiences with his children,” says Giles. “There isn’t a better setting to indulge in both.”

So the husband and wife set their sights on a four-bedroom lakefront property and promptly reached out to Giles, their in-town designer, to transform the home into a weekend retreat with a more youthful point of view. “We were conscious about not making it look like a typical mountain house,” she says. “While there are certainly rustic touches, we pushed it in a more modern direction, which makes it feel fresh.”

The home’s pared-down palette pulls from its surroundings, as well as the wife’s affinity for the color blue. Giles selected variations of a soothing dusky blue to complement the home’s reclaimed wood ceilings and stone fireplaces. The daughter’s bedroom takes on a more playful splash of color with lavender accents. “A few strokes of lavender bring a feminine edge to the room without it reading ‘too girly.’ It’s a space that can grow with her,” says Giles. 

While decorating a home that was tailored to fit this family of five was top of mind, so was being able to host family and friends. An open-concept first floor invites guests to pile into the dining nook’s oversize banquette or cozy up to the dual-sided fireplace. But the favorite gathering spot is the back porch, says Giles, where earthy-hued selections allow the property’s idllic views to be the focal point. “It’s a special piece of land and we wanted to embrace that. We let the backdrop of Cashiers be the star.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Courtney Giles, Courtney Giles Interiors, (404) 791-3404;
ARCHITECTURE Travis Mileti, Mountainworks, (828) 743-9677;
BUILDER Ben Harris, Harris Custom Builders,