Mountain Chic in Cashiers

In typical Francie Hargrove fashion, the Cashiers-based designer weaves together the rustic and the refined, taking mountain style to all-new heights
mountain house decor ideas from this screen porch include a sofa and chairs in a light upholstery. Throw pillows and an afghan bring in a punch of bright orange that complements the muted teal millwork. A large white-and-neutral striped area rug and a pair of chevron-print throw pillows add visual interest through pattern. And though upholstered in a light fabric, a curved upholstered bench with deep, plush tufting makes a bold statement. An antique, simple wood desk holds a chunky glass lamp and a large copper pot holding a green plant. A large modern coffee table with a wood top and streamlined metal base, along with wood variety of stools and small side tables, complete the space.
The raised hearth of the Tennessee fieldstone fireplace makes the perfect perch for toasting marshmallows on cool evenings at this mountain house in Cashiers, North Carolina. A pair of candelabras carved from tree roots and an antique Belgian Black Forest plaque add to the porch’s enchanted forest vibe.

“You can learn so much about someone’s decorating style just by peeking in their closet,” says interior designer Francie Hargrove. “I keep mine stocked with staples like crisp white cotton shirts, tailored black pants, and comfy cashmere sweaters that I’ll gussy up with a bold printed scarf, a chunky statement bangle, or a pair of pointy-toe pumps with a little bling on the buckle. I use the same approach to pull together a well-dressed room. I start with a classic foundation, and then pile on stylish accessories that make it pop and make it personal.”

Front elevation of a mountain house designed by architect Shannon Hargrove in Cashiers, North Carolina, with a detached two-car garage with stable-style doors and a pea gravel driveway. The landscape by Bellwether Landscape Architects features boxwoods in a variety of sizes, mulch, and only small areas of grass, fitting in with many trees that surround the mountain property
Francie Hargrove localized the Cape Cod–inspired architecture by painting the shutters a soft blue reminiscent of the clear Carolina skies and Blue Ridge Mountains. See a list of sources for this home. 

Anyone who is familiar with Francie’s work can attest to the success of her method. For a project in Cashiers, North Carolina, she collaborated with developer Shannon Hargrove (who also happens to be her husband) to design and build a home that combines the rugged beauty of its woodland surroundings with the refined aesthetic of the couple who lives there. At 4,500 square feet, it would be a stretch to call it a cottage, but the warmth and patina of the architecture help convey that cozy sentiment.

Mountain house decorating ideas to take away from this Francie Hargrove dining room include floor-to-ceiling curtain panels in a large gingham print in natural white and khaki. On the table is a loose, rustic floral arrangement of branches, including dogwood blooms, oak leaves, as well as a candle in a Simon Pearce hurricane.. The framed pressed flowers are hung in a large grid of 9 on one wall.
In the dining room, ivory walls and slipcovered mouton-leg chairs downplay the deep charcoal color on the chandelier and industrial steel-base table. Delicate pressed botanicals temper the bulk of the reclaimed ceiling beams.
Other chic mountain house decorating ideas from this scene include a non-fussy French country-style natural wood console beneath the mirror. One top of the console are two rustic pottery jugs—one large and one small—a small stack of books, and a simple arrangement of green branches in a clear glass vase with an interesting shape. An antique French chair sits by the window, framed by soft white floor-to-ceiling curtains in curtains in a white-on-white, raised botanical pattern fabric
An antique giltwood mirror is the perfect scale for the living room’s 12-foot ceilings. Visible in its reflection is an oil painting from the estate of decorator Charles Faudree, Francie’s dear friend.

Outside, a weathered cedar-shake roof and burnt hickory–tinted siding blur the line between the façade and the towering trees. To distinguish between them, Francie painted the millwork light and bright hues. She chose sky blue for the shutters and cloud white for the entry doors and graceful archways beneath the copper-topped portico.

“My designs don’t compete with Mother Nature’s. I choose colors, textures, and materials that will support her creations, not outshine them.” — Francie Hargrove
Mountain house design ideas from this scene include a large chandelier made of deer antlers, a pair of sofas and side chairs upholstered in a soft white fabric, and throw pillows, including (on each sofa) a pair of pillows in strié coral velvet inset with a Greek key pattern, as well as (on each side chair) an leopard-print linen pillow. One tufted, curved accent chair with a matching ottoman is upholstered in a dark brown linen-type fabric. At the center of the seating area is a large square coffee table upholstered in a dark, rich fabric. A neutral patterned area rug grounds the seating area. Arrangements of simple cut greenery on the mantel, coffee table, and console add a punch of color. Swing-arm floor lamps and stacks of books invite one to sit and read by the fire. Soft white shiplap walls and curtains keep the room light and airy.
Inspired by the grandeur of French limestone mantels, Francie created a wooden version from pieces of mismatched timber inadvertently included in a shipment of reclaimed beams. The fieldstone surround supports the weight of the mantel and corrals all of the room’s neutral hues.

Inside, hardy, wholesome materials prevail and ground the spacious, sunlit rooms. On the pine floors, a custom stain of walnut, ash, and espresso hues, formulated on-site, deflects the wood’s orangey undertonesThe rich color and extra-wide planks balance the rough-hewn beams that brace the plaster-coated ceiling. Finally, a soft white shiplap with nickel-gap spacing wraps the walls. The design choice breaks up the brown tones while offering depth and movement that painted drywall can’t provide.

Timber for the ceiling beams came from an architectural salvage dealer who recovered it from a dilapidated barn in Pennsylvania.
Francie Hargrove stuck with a white and neutral color palette in this mountain house kitchen, including a soft white painted finish for the cabinets and a light, neutral stone countertop. At the kitchen island, square barstools feature solid bases, simple lines, light leather upholstery, and a border of grommets just below the seat. Two large lanterns hang above the island. Five white octagonal porcelain plates hang in a vertical line on either side of soft white curtains, flanking the French doors. A large antique copper pot sits on a stainless steel oven.
The kitchen’s raised-panel cabinetry and beadboard range hood bring a bit of refinery into the otherwise rustic space.

“Texture plays a part in all of my projects, but it had a leading role in this one,” says Francie. “A new house can feel a little too shiny and polished, especially in a mountain setting. So I incorporated grainy, honed, and mottled elements to instantly promote an aged appeal. They also make the house feel at home on the rocky terrain by connecting the indoors with the outdoors.”

A blue chaise with matching throw and a glazed lamp add a pop of light blue, while a landscape painting featuring a morning sky also breaks up the neutral palette.
The primary bedroom’s white-on-white palette gains depth from layers of contrasting textures, including rough shiplap walls, smooth porcelain plates, and the coarse hair-on-hide bed.

Scale was also a major factor in the design. The house has 12-foot ceilings and vast expanses of windows and French doors. Fixtures and furnishings had to be substantial yet subtle enough not to overpower the views framed by billowy, unlined linen draperies.

Floral prints and a French mirror and commode give the bath a sense of luxury rather than utility.
Light blue paint distinguishes the shiplap walls of the master bath from the other rooms, while white and neutral gingham curtain panels and a soft white sink vanity with a light neutral stone countertop maintain consistency with the materials Francie Hargrove used throughout her "chic mountain house" design theme.
Crystal sconces are hard-wired into a wide, frameless mirror to optimize natural light in the ensuite bathroom.

Oversize custom and contemporary lighting illuminates the rooms, while a curated collection of French antiques, as well as pieces from Italy and Belgium, anchors them. The grand size and elegant detailing of the gilded mirrors and walnut case pieces, tables, and chairs allow the rooms to feel full without a lot of fuss or frill. Luxe upholstered pieces in soft, neutral linens help redefine the stereotypical notion of mountain style, while their plush, generous proportions maintain a sense of comfort that is synonymous with it.

“Dainty fauteuils and pretty little settees are lovely to look at and will always have a place in my projects,” Francie says. “But they are not conducive to kicking back and relaxing by the fire with a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at night. Mountain living is all about enjoying simple pleasures such as those, so a mountain home should be designed to make those casual moments chic.”

More Mountain House Design Ideas

Click the arrows (or swipe if on a mobile device) to see more
The screen porch features wood tones and other earthy hues, with a rough-hewn wooden table for 8. Francie Hargrove’s choices for mountain house decor on the porch include moth orchids in a copper pot, faux bois candlesticks and plant stand with fern, a large pottery jug with a dark glaze, an orange afghan with white fringe, a white curtain panel, and 6 leather upholstered dining chairs with grommets that compliment that pair of Appalachian hoop chairs at earth end of the table.
“Having dinner on the porch is like eating in a tree house,” says interior designer Francie Hargrove, who paired Appalachian hoop chairs with classic European antiques.
Along with white cabinetry, shiplap walls, and single French door, the space features an oriental rug with red and neutral tones, an antique-finish chandelier hanging from the center of criss-crossed white painted beams, various decorative wood antiques including a carved vertical wall hanging and a circular cutting board, vases of blue hydrangeas and yellow roses, and a silver pedestal bowl filled with bottles of white wine and champagne and on ice
Antiques and fresh flowers grace the elegant working pantry. A single French door allows a peek at the detached two-car garage.
Also in this photo, an antique wood dresser, a large ornate antique mirror with a distressed painted finish, a vase a branches with green leaves, and a small antique chair with caned seat
A pair of reclaimed pine doors in the primary bedroom leads to a closet. Though the paint has been removed, remnants highlight details in the woodwork.

By Margaret Zainey Roux | Photography by Emily Followill

See a list of sources for this house.

Next, read Francie Hargrove’s Favorites to find the designer’s top picks for cashmere, candles, lipstick—and even banana bread.