Paying it Forward

An exciting blend of rustic and refined elements transform a modest cabin on Lake Blue Ridge into a luxurious destination for family gatherings

Harrison Design’s interior designer Karen Ferguson and senior project manager Derek Hopkins had done several projects for their client—and members of his family—when he recruited them to transform a dated log cabin-style home into a modern yet timeless retreat that he planned to pass down through the generations.

“This is probably the premier lot on the lake,” says Hopkins, pointing to its secluded location on a forested point with nearly 270-degree views of Lake Blue Ridge and the rolling mountains beyond. “We felt a sense of responsibility to do it justice.”

After stripping down the exterior, Hopkins clad the structure with fieldstone accented by painted garapa siding and reclaimed barnwood eaves that flow inside, blurring the distinction between inside and out.

The interior transformation is equally dramatic, its once choppy layout reconfigured into more open, flowing rooms that open to spacious waterfront decks. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of property,” explains Hopkins. “[The owner] wanted the architecture to take all that in.”

Indeed, an oversize glass door offers visitors the first peek at the water through the glass doors in the living room, where a tapered fieldstone fireplace calls attention to the soaring ceilings, creating a dramatic focal point for an oversize sectional and plush lounge chairs.

Raised so it can be viewed from the live-edge walnut table, a steel-clad fireplace likewise elevates the dining room, its walls covered in tree-bark panels juxtaposed by a crystal antler-style chandelier. “They love nature, so it was important that we wove in those natural elements throughout the house,” says Ferguson.

An open staircase with leather treads and a glass railing leads from the front foyer to the upper level, where reclaimed barnwood envelops the primary bedroom—one of many spots the designers used it throughout. Just down the hall, built-in shelving conceals a staircase that leads to a skylight. Simply flip a switch, and it opens to a rooftop deck with unimpeded scenic vistas.

Natural elements also define the dramatic lower level, which offers a bunkroom ideal for sleepovers, a moody wine cellar with birch panels, a media room and a game area that includes a bar and a bespoke billiards table carved out of a single chunk of wood.

The home more than meets the mark for the owner and his family, who often congregate there just as they had imagined. “This became a passion project for the client,” says Ferguson. “It was fun getting to know what makes them excited then make that come to life for them.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Karen Ferguson, Harrison Design, (404) 365-7760;
SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER Derek Hopkins, Harrison Design, (404) 365-7760;
CONTRACTOR Bildon Construction
KITCHEN CABINETRY Design Galleria; (404) 261-0111,