Text by Bethany Adams
After years of renting vacation homes in the mountains, Marc and Melissa Walters from Tampa, Florida, decided that it was time to create their own home away from home. They were drawn to Cashiers, North Carolina, where they began building a custom space in the woods of Mountain Top. For the build, the couple teamed up with Jim Robinson of Design South Builders, who helped them design a welcoming space for both family and friends.
In order to make the kitchen conducive to large gatherings, decorators Sandy Moore and Megan Newman from Accentrics Interiors selected a dining table from Hooker Furniture large enough to seat 10 people. Marc and Melissa opted for a bank of windows over the sink in place of upper-level cabinetry, playing into their desire for natural lighting, and one wall features a painting by Florida-based artist and family friend Kelly Aldridge.
Among Melissa’s favorite areas of the house is her workstation just off the kitchen and adjacent to a window seat that she says she has always wanted. “I have my view of the mountain and my little desk where I can kind of just organize my thoughts and be part of the family still,” she says.
The cottage’s basement, which was designed as a den for the couple’s four eldest children—Isabella, Olivia, Gabrielle, and Jett—is easily the most well-loved space in the home. The bunk room, built by popular demand from the kids, includes four queen-size beds, each equipped with its own light and USB port. Jim also included an extra guest room to accommodate friends and give the kids room to grow. A common area stocked with board games and plush, cozy furnishings brings everyone together and features bold strokes of color amid the home’s neutral tones.
Since Marc and Melissa wanted plenty of room for visitors, two guest suites located on the upper level are perfect for a weekend getaway with friends. The separate spaces are connected by a sitting area where guests can visit over a cup of coffee from the well-stocked coffee bar. In both the master and guest bedrooms, the designers opted for a welcoming palette of soft beiges and grays, which are accented by the occasional stroke of darker colors.
Melissa notes that Marc enjoys spending most of his time watching football and appreciating the outdoors on the deck, which features cozy wicker furniture gathered around one of the home’s three fireplaces. By opening the 16-foot-wide pocket doors, the family can connect the screened area to the kitchen and dining space. It’s the perfect touch for a home built around the desire to bring family and friends together in one place. From top to bottom, every inch of the Walters’ family vacation cottage is a welcoming haven nestled among the trees of Mountain Top.