Ralph Anderson / Styling Buffy Hargett
In Tune With Nature
Cloaked in cedar shakes, the additon to the original log cabin maintains the authentic look through the use of indigenous materials.
You can’t improve upon the mountain beauty of Western North Carolina, but every day, people try. They carve out homesites on pristine ridges, patch the scars with mansions adorned with exotic woods and imported stone, and relax in their updated versions of paradise.
John and Marsha Warren of Cashiers know a better way. Their modest-size, rustic home, gently nestled into the meadow beneath the sheer stone face of 4,930-foot Whiteside Mountain, sprouts from the soil as naturally as the nearby rhododendrons and ferns. Native materials harvested from the property form the structure’s skin and bones. Thanks to careful planning, its beautiful setting will never be spoiled.
The house was born as a tiny cabin built from American chestnut logs by John’s grandfather (James E. Warren, Sr.) on 300 acres of family property in the 1930s. “It was his getaway cabin,” explains John. “He’d sneak away, drink martinis with his friends, and play cards.” After John’s grandfather died in 1952, the cabin sat lonely and deserted for nearly two decades. Upon graduating from college in 1971, John set about restoring it and moved in three years later.
Marsha first glimpsed the cabin a few years before she and John married in 1979. Its idyllic setting quickly worked its magic on her. “But I never imagined living in it,” she admits. “I thought, ‘What a wonderful cabin to camp out in.’ ”