With a screen door that slams, a casual come-on-in way of living permeates the Highlands, North Carolina, cabin retreat of Gail and Roddy White. Warm hues fill their cozy cottage nestled in the Appalachian foothills.
The cabin was built in 1928 by Joe Webb, an Appalachian craftsman who built nearly three dozen log homes in the area in the 1920s and ’30s, using no power tools or architectural drawings. (See The Work of Joe Webb by Reuben Cox, published by the University of Georgia Press.) The pine and chestnut logs and the fireplace are all original.
"We weren't in the house 10 minutes before we knew that this is what we wanted," recalls Gail, who was smitten with the storybook quality of the cabin.
While the exterior was nearly perfect, the rooms were somewhat small and dark. Gail sought guidance from Atlanta designer Carole Weaks, who also owns a home in Highlands. Weaks started with color, drawing from the warm hues in the logs and hardwood floors. "Gail wanted to freshen up the house, bring in color without making it feel too urban," says Weaks. "She wanted to give the spaces warmth."
Overlooking the living room is a stair balustrade of rhododendron branches, a hallmark of log homes by 1920s-era builder Joe Webb.
The dining room posed the biggest challenge, but it has turned out to be a favorite spot. About 10x14 feet with an 8-foot ceiling, it was too crowded for a center table, Weaks ruled. She removed the chandelier, pushed an oval dining table to the side, and brought in a bench, upholstered chairs, and a hooked rug in shades of melon. The melon colors "make the room sing," says Weaks.
Sand-hued grass-cloth walls warm the master bedroom and offer a soothing change of texture from the log walls. A modern painting by Dennis Campay mixes easily with antiques. A single door was replaced with two narrow doors that take up less wall space when opened.
In a guest bedroom, a vaulted ceiling with two sets of windows keeps the space light and bright, which can be a challenge in a log cabin.