The House That Love Built

A dar­ling North Carolina cot­tage is in­spired by a cou­ple’s spe­cial daugh­ter.

Cabin Living - - Contents - story by STACY DURR AL­BERT pho­tos by ROGER WADE styled by DE­BRA GRAHL

A dar­ling North Carolina cot­tage is in­spired by a cou­ple’s spe­cial daugh­ter.

From the mo­ment you step onto the grounds of this ir­re­sistibly sweet cot­tage in Mills River, North Carolina, you know there’s some­thing ex­tra spe­cial about it. It isn’t just the de­light­ful color pal­ette, or the sto­ry­book porch and trim, but rather a gen­eral feel­ing that seems to spill over and down the front steps, touch­ing all who are lucky enough to me­an­der by.

“The house is in­spired by our youngest daugh­ter, Emma Rose, who has spe­cial needs,” ex­plains home­owner James Reed. “We wanted a place where she could live the rest of her life, a place that she could grow with. There seems to be some­thing spe­cial about the prop­erty that con­nects with peo­ple—Emma is a very spe­cial child and they can see her spirit through­out and con­nect with our place in a way that I can­not ex­plain.”

Gath­er­ing in the Grove

Named “Emma’s Grove” after the child who in­spired it, the prop­erty has be­come a great gath­er­ing place for Emma’s fam­ily and friends. Sit­u­ated just 20 min­utes from Asheville, the 35-acre set­ting of­fers am­ple space for ev­ery­thing from play­ing bocce ball to hang­ing out by the fire pit.

“We looked for four years and saw many prop­er­ties, but we were pa­tient for a prop­erty in the right place and at the right price— one that felt like home,” James ex­plains. “We love the western Carolina moun­tains and all that they of­fer, but we had no de­sire to be on the side of a moun­tain. In­stead, our prop­erty has a very nice rolling ter­rain but it is 100 per­cent us­able. It has open fields, but the home is tucked into a grove of large oak trees. We have views of the moun­tains, but we are not in the moun­tains.”

To cre­ate the per­fect plan for this pris­tine piece of prop­erty, the Reeds turned to ar­chi­tect M. Shawn Leather­wood of The Ar­chi­tec­tural Stu­dio in Way­nesville, North Carolina. The fam­ily’s main goal was to cre­ate a home that would be func­tional for their daugh­ter with room for her to grow. They de­cided to build a main home and a cot­tage, just 60 feet apart from each other.

“For now, we use the cot­tage for guests, but we hope that one day Emma may be in­de­pen­dent enough to live in the cot­tage while still be­ing close enough to us,” James says.

Cot­tage Charm

The de­light­ful 2,000-square-foot cot­tage is un­abashedly charm­ing—the lay­out of­fers two bed­rooms down­stairs along with the kitchen and gen­eral liv­ing ar­eas, and an up­stairs loft area with four built-in bunks. The cabin is stick-frame con­struc­tion and fea­tures cedar sid­ing and shakes with lo­cal na­tive stacked stone. Tim Tow­ery of Tow­ery Con­struc­tion in Asheville served as the gen­eral con­trac­tor.

“The project was a great col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween us, our ar­chi­tect, Tim Tow­ery and in­te­rior de­signer Cas­sidy Murphy,” James says. “Through­out the process, my wife Jean and I be­lieved that all of those con­trib­u­tors cared as much about our project as we did.”

The in­te­rior re­veals just how much love was poured into this home. A sweet color pal­ette and cheer­ful fab­rics evoke the feel­ing of an English rose gar­den. “The idea was to make it feel more like a cot­tage, not for­mal in any way,” James says. “The goal was to make it cozy, com­fort­able and even whim­si­cal.”

Light­hearted touches show up through­out, from the fun, retro-style kitchen ap­pli­ances to the “Life is Sweet” cup­cake plaque in the din­ing room. One of the most popular places in the cot­tage is the invit­ing up­stairs bunkroom. The bunks fea­ture win­dow frames that were taken from an old house, and each has a dif­fer­ent shape and size. Green board and bat­ten is also used in this space.

“Our in­te­rior de­signer, Cas­sidy Murphy, had this idea,” he says. “It is the same as some of the sid­ing on the ex­te­rior of the house and it brings the out­side to the inside, giv­ing the room a great com­fort and ca­su­al­ness.”

Another won­der­ful fea­ture in the bunkroom is its em-

LEFT: Ev­ery meal is a sweet one in this cheer­ful din­ing area, where fun fab­rics and whim­si­cal de­tails come to­gether in a serene set­ting. Of­fer­ing views of the main house that is 60 feet away, the room is a great place to set­tle in for a quiet af­ter­noon tea. The “life is sweet” wooden plaque is the per­fect fin­ish­ing touch.

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