2009 Southern Home Awards | Best New Cottage
Cow Rock Cottage
If ever there was a home that perfectly harmonizes with its setting, our 2009 Best New Cottage, affectionately known as Cow Rock Cottage, is it. Literally built with sticks and stones collected from its Cashiers, North Carolina, location, this storybook refuge takes on its loveliest look in the fall, when the changing leaves create a brilliant, colorful backdrop that blends beautifully with the colors and materials of the house.
The ideal mix of house and land didn’t occur by accident. Designed by the Mountainworks firm, the getaway nestles within its sloping terrain to capture full views of the surrounding lake. “The house works beautifully with the site because it steps down from the entry to the main level and then descends two more steps at the back deck,” says William McKee, owner of McKee Properties, the real estate firm that handles the house.
In addition to the lake, the cottage looks out onto a nearby outcropping known by the locals as “Cow Rock.” “It’s said that this curious formation was named by the American Indians who made summer camp in the valley,” says Travis Mileti, chief designer at Mountainworks. “With such a rich, natural heritage as this, we were inspired to create a place that embodies the area’s ‘nature-attuned’ way of life, which was established so long ago.”
Reflecting its forested location, the house is decked out in a variety of natural materials―from rough-hewn cedar siding and poplar-bark shakes to stacked indigenous fieldstone. The exteriors are accented with acorn-brown trimwork and shutters, which further link the home to the encircling woodlands. Other colors, such as the rusty, burnt-umber tone of the corrugated metal roof, give Cow Rock Cottage a slightly aged, weathered effect without diminishing its appearance. “Along with locally found elements, we infused this house with the look and feel of farmhouses and barns found throughout this part of southern Appalachia,” says Travis. “If you want a classic-looking mountain home, you must create one that appears to have withstood the passing of time.” Click through the following slides to see five details we love about Carolina Mountain Style.
1. Stepping Stone Entry
Randomly placed stepping-stones crafted from local granite lead to the front porch’s wide steps. Hand-hewn posts and railings, along with graceful brackets, are crafted from regionally harvested locustwood to further enhance this cottage’s connection to the land. Local fieldstone clads the porch walls.
Shutters and Shakes
2. Simple Board-and-Batten Shutters
Shutters crafted from rough-sawn Western red cedar planks are held together with hand-forged-looking strap hinges. Complete with similar shutter dogs, these operable panels are anything but outdated. Great sources for them are timberlane.com and vixenhill.com.
3. Poplar-Bark Shakes
The use of poplar-bark shakes is about as ecologically conscious as it gets. Hand-peeled and cut on-site from harvested tulip poplars, this siding choice creates the illusion that the cottage sprouted and grew from the land, just like the surrounding trees. Go to poplarbarksiding.com.
4. Western Red Cedar Siding
To prevent the bark shakes from stealing the whole show, vertical, rough-sawn Western red cedar siding adds texture to this already earthy mix of materials. Well-known for its natural resistance to moisture, decay, and insect damage, cedar takes stains and paints with ease. Check out the versatility of this dependable sheathing at michiganprestain.com.
5. Rusted Metal Roof
Cow Rock Cottage’s roof is crafted from recycled materials to create the look of an old tin roof. Metal can last three times longer than asphalt roofing. Even though it’s rusted, the reflective properties of the metal result in a cooler attic, saving more on energy costs than other options. For more info visit reclametals.com.