It’s a simple house, with a single main-level living space that opens onto a kitchen, and two bedrooms upstairs. The most formal aspect of the design is an entry hall divided from the living room by custom wrought-iron grilles. For the decor, the Greesons didn’t want the dark rustic style typical of a mountain house, preferring the lighter look of a summer cottage. This proved a tricky proposition, however, as they didn’t want a beach-house look either—thus the basic palette of white and black, with accents of green and red (two hues more commonly associated with the mountains), plus pink to lighten things up.
“It is certainly a cliché to say that every room needs some black,” Sam says, “but I feel it is true, and I might even say every room needs a lot of black.” A serene color scheme with black accents and a “good mix” of furniture and art is timeless, he says.
To achieve the right mix, Sam created a furniture plan, a tool he also uses with his
architecture clients. “I need to see a layout so I can plan the location of the windows and the doors to adjacent spaces,” he says. “A lot of time is spent making sure a room will work well when it is furnished. Architects are famous for having no place for the bed.”
In the Greesons’ small mountain home, they wanted a close-knit atmosphere without a lot of clutter. “To accommodate larger-scale entertaining, you need to create a series of cozy spaces within one large, open space,” Sam explains of the
furniture groupings in the living room. “This is why it is important for all the
furniture to be perfect in scale and style.”
For Windy Ridge, the perfect furnishings turned out to be a range of eclectic pieces, from serious antiques to flea-market finds and even catalog items. In the
dining room, a Biedermeier table in curly maple dates from the early 18th
century. Wicker and distressed-wood furniture—most of it contemporary but intended to seem older—reinforces the cottagelike feel of both the living room and the porch, where Sam and Glenda while away many hours morning and evening.
The joy of living small took both of them by surprise, as the houses they have owned in Charlotte have been much larger and Sam’s clients generally want to go big. “It is amazing how many of my former clients visit our home and wonder why their houses are so large when they find ours so appealing,” he says. “It really is hard to convince most people that small can be better.”