Text by Jeanne Delathouder
For nearly three decades, retreating to the cool North Carolina mountains to escape the sweltering Alabama summers as well as to enjoy the vibrant fall foliage has been a tradition for Barbara and Charlie Tickle and their family. Perched high in the hills with breathtaking views, the charming little community of Cashiers, North Carolina, holds a lifetime of precious memories that are fondly recalled each and every time the couple returns to this special locale.
“We have been coming to this area for over 25 years,” says Barbara. “We always stayed at our favorite place, the Inn at Millstone, before finally building our own home in Mountaintop in 2005,” she adds.
A historic property with a rich and storied past, the Inn at Millstone had originally been built as a vacation home in the 1930s by the Stoddards, a New York couple who summered there for 10 years before the area even had power. The Stoddards eventually sold their vacation home, which then became The Silver Slip Lodge. Since then, the property has taken on multiple owners and name changes over the decades before becoming the fabled Inn at Millstone. Sadly, in 2011, the inn was closed and boarded up for three years. Hearing that it might soon be for sale, Barbara and Charlie kept a close eye on the property so they might snap it up when the time was right.
“My tenacious husband picked and picked until we finally closed on it in March 2014,” Barbara says with a laugh. “Unfortunately, the inn had fallen into disrepair, so we salvaged everything we could. We had no intention of taking it down, but it was too far gone,” she says.
The couple worked with local team Maxine and Jeff Sikes, owners of both The Global Craftsman and Curated Home, to restore and preserve every possible remnant from the original Inn at Millstone to incorporate into their new home. Jeff disassembled everything he could from the old property, and Maxine helped Barbara pull the interiors together.
“We wanted to put it back as close to the original as possible,” says Barbara, “which was a challenge because of the predominantly gray-and-white color palettes popular today. It’s almost impossible to recreate an earth tone 1930s look,” she jokes.
To avoid disturbing the character of the original property, the couple decided to build their new home on the same footprint as the inn. They called on architect Mark Paullin of Charlotte, North Carolina, and local builders Dearl Stewart and Dave Parmelee of Dearl Stewart Construction to help execute their vision.
“They all did such an incredible job with our Mountaintop home, so we knew we could trust them to do the same here,” says Barbara. “Everyone had the sensitivity of the historical piece we were trying to achieve, and the craftsmanship is outstanding,” she adds.
Special features that were reclaimed from the original construction include the chestnut wood that now covers the floors throughout the new home as well as the ceiling and walls in the study. The millstone that was above the fireplace in the main living room of the inn now resides above the stove in the kitchen, and the signs and keys from all the original rooms at the inn now hang on the new bedroom doors.
“This home has incredibly taken on the spirit of the old Inn at Millstone,” says Barbara. “We’ve had nonstop company since we moved in—everyone here is warm and inviting, and that’s why we love Cashiers,” she says. “And of course, autumn is the absolute best pumpkins, apples, the smells, the colors of the trees—it all makes me smile.”