A Soothing Mountain Retreat

A bounty of ideas on this porch, from easy autumn decorations to cozy furnishings.
Edwin Marty

Nestled deep within the Appalachian Mountains, Beverly and Hix Green's home seamlessly blends the outside with the interior. A picturesque outdoor living room flows from the kitchen and revolves around a towering stone fireplace. It begs you to curl up by the hearth and spend fall afternoons contemplating the kaleidoscope of colors swirling in the trees. "This area is so beautiful throughout the year," says Beverly. "It just seemed foolish not to take advantage of it as much as possible."

Unfolding for Fall
The Greens talked with the home's original architect, Al Platt, about adding a wing on to the Cashiers, North Carolina, house that would let them enjoy the mountain air. "They knew they wanted more outdoor living area," notes Al, "and this space fit in perfectly with the mature landscape the Greens had cultivated for years." The towering maples on either side of the house allowed just enough space for Al to design a room off the kitchen. He simply extended the existing roofline and repeated the wood beams from inside the house.

Beautiful New Porch
The Greens anchored their outdoor room with a stacked-stone fireplace that lengthens the season in which they can use the space. Beverly found rustic furniture to accent the natural surroundings. Wicker chairs and rough-hewn tables surround the fireplace. "Our children come up and enjoy this room on the weekends," says Beverly. "It's really perfect for the entire family."

Simple seasonal decorations grace the table, giving an instant touch of fall. Leaves gathered from the yard and pumpkins from a farm down the road complement the roaring fire. ‘Purple Majesty' ornamental millet and green sorghum in a vase lend another autumn accent. With just a few easy additions, the outdoor living room is ready for friends and family and becomes a soothing mountain retreat.

"A Soothing Mountain Retreat" is from the October 2005 issue of Southern Living.