Text by Karen Callaway / Photography by John O’Hagan
An Alabama designer infuses her mountain retreat with a refined yet rustic style.
Her childhood summers spent exploring the woods and waterfalls around Highlands, North Carolina, gave Prissy Wilson an abiding love for this majestic area. As an adult, she had returned to vacation there when a 1960s fixer-upper caught her eye. She could see the potential in the small house with the huge porch, and she couldn’t resist it.
In the cozy living room, old pine floors and wooden beams reflect the home’s mountain setting while a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace gives height to the space. A deer painting by Atlanta, Georgia, wildlife artist Betty Foy Botts stands sentinel over the room that is filled with an eclectic mix of antiques and flea market finds, beautifully achieving the “relaxed elegance with a mountain vibe” that Prissy envisioned. One wall displays a large collection of waterbird prints made all the more enchanting with antique frames that were a gift from a dear friend.
The adjoining dining area features an antique French chandelier that sheds light on a handsome table and chairs from the same country of origin. The charm continues down the hall where twin beds handed down through Prissy’s husband’s family anchor the cardinal toile bedroom, and another bedroom holds an inexpensive rattan bed crowned with a brown toile canopy; she often uses fabrics she loves as the starting point in her designs.
The blend of cherished family treasures and whimsical accents has created a second home with all the comforts of a primary residence, and for Prissy, a retreat she absolutely adores. “Doing this home was truly a labor of love,” she says, “and the journey was made all the more enjoyable by having friends at my side.”
Prissy picked her palette from the rich and resplendent colors of fall. She’s filled her mountain getaway with wonderful collections gathered from her many antiquing adventures, including the pretty pictures in the bath and blue-and-white plates in the guest room.