The historic Burt Farm in Cashiers, North Carolina, has been transformed by a cadre of designers summoned to the property by the Cashiers Historical Society, which has produced the latest in a string of distinguished showhouses that serve as a funding source for the organization each summer. Located at 2502 Norton Road, the venue will be open for tours until August 28th, the hours posted on the organization’s showhouse page on their website.
Cool Carolina Evening
The Bruce Andrews Design Team had the tremendous pleasure of attending the preview party, dubbed a “Cool Carolina Evening,” last week, the fête overshadowed only by our excitement of seeing our new Skye Coastal chair debut in the bedroom designed by Ginger Brewton Interiors. It was as serene a setting as we’ve come across in a while, an intended outcome according to Ginger, who explained to us that evening, “I wanted to create a room that would be an escape, a retreat that brought its occupants serenity.”
Ginger Brewton and Bruce Andrews
at Cashiers Designer Showhouse
To accomplish this, she painted the ceiling, which had originally echoed the warm-toned, wide-plank walls, in soft celadon hues—a predominant color in the space in a variety of cultivated elements Ginger brought together. In his design of the pair of Skye Coastal chairs, envisioned specifically for the space, Bruce chose a subtle variation of this color. Ginger positioned the wingbacks to flank a lovely chest set with a gilt-framed mirror and a statuesque glass lamp. They anchor the vignette that whispers refined taste resides here.
“Blue is one of my favorite colors and I have always loved celadon, particularly for bedrooms,” Ginger remarked. “I was so happy that Bruce would work with me on creating these lovely chairs because I needed elements of such a scale that they would balance out the weight of the section of the room holding the bed. They had to be commanding and he truly understood that, which is why they work so well in the space.”
Bruce said of his collaboration with Ginger, “Building the chair for the Cashiers house, I considered the historical significance of the home and the design program Ginger had related to me. I took her inspirations to heart, choosing fabrics and trims, and even the finish on the legs, to resonate with the aesthetic she wanted to achieve.” Bruce also set out to reflect the elegance he knew Ginger would bring to the space. “I saw the design as a mix of continental excellence with a hint of coastal California style, which seemed apropos to me since the lauded community in which we were debuting them serves as a summer enclave for some of the most affluent families in the US.”
A Few Favorite Spaces at Cashiers Designer Showhouse
As editor of the Journal, I had the pleasure of interviewing a number of the designers, as well as Sally Shropshire, the executive director of the Cashiers Historical Society, who explained that it was Maxine Sikes’ brilliance that netted them the notable property. As the showhouse chair this year, she had perused listings for sale and nominated Burt Farm, also known as the James Madison Zachary House, which was built in 1880 on 131 acres of lush grounds that exemplify the natural beauty of western North Carolina.
Given it’s not possible to share my impressions of every room with our Journal readers, I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to highlight. The bedroom adjacent to Ginger’s, which was equally oasis-like, had a luxe feel to it with a sumptuous mix of upholstery fabrics on the bed that included mohair and an ostrich-stamped leather. James Wheeler, an Atlanta designer, envisioned and executed the space, his modus operandi to turn over to each client surroundings that become a primary centerpiece for life’s moments shining through his achievement. “My focus is on creating livable spaces that tell their stories,” he explained.
Cashiers-based designer Joan Anderson, pictured above in her the beautiful breakfast room just off her splendid kitchen, took her inspiration from two Jim Thompson fabrics on chairs in her space. One was festooned with organic natural shapes on a deep background and the other was a sexy stripe she used on tiny slipper chairs that echoed the shape of a seated woman’s torso.
Maria McLaurin, shown in her space above, was also inspired by fabrics when designing the loggia, a statuesque “outdoor living room” open to the lush surroundings of the property. Her starting point was a throw cushion covered in feather motifs, which a friend of hers, an architect in Thomasville, had designed. Also as much outdoors as in, Keven Hawkins’ second-floor balcony (an image of it leads this journal entry) was a riotous celebration of southern exuberance that I enjoyed immensely. It was truly a feast for the senses!
Atlanta designer Liz Williams also cited fabrics as a launch-pad for her inspiration, her aim to reflect the natural beauty beyond the windows. She filled the main dining room with Thibaut fabrics in pert greens, cool earth tones and fun patterns. And another bedroom I enjoyed greatly was Dovetail Antiques’ French-inspired setting. The space, created by owner Sally Johannessen, was awash in soulful patina and held valuable antiques, the tray of macaroons placed prettily on the antique daybed sending my mind whizzing back to my favorite boulangerie in Le Marais.
I tried repeatedly throughout the evening to gain an audience with Patricia McLean, the Atlanta-based designer who created the living room, but she was so popular it was difficult to catch her alone. It was also impossible to glean an image that would do her room justice given the high number of people that continually flowed through the space. It held a sophisticated mélange of Brunschwig and Fils, Fortuny, Duralee and Lee Jofa fabrics that made me want to pull a book from the shelves and enjoy the polish she’d achieved for a while.
The Uber-Fashionable Timothy Corrigan in Cashiers
A particularly raucous moment took place in her corner of the home when the evening’s guest of honor Timothy Corrigan arrived to tour the showhouse, stopping in her space to admire it. I was able to capture a few moments with the stylesetter, whose book we featured here on our Journal recently. I asked him to comment about the showhouse so I could share his views with our readers and he generously obliged. “As I was making my way through the house, I was so pleased with the high level of the design quality in each space,” he told me. “So many showhouses seem temporary but this one doesn’t read that way—a family could live in it as it is and that’s truly not always the case.”
Indeed, A Cool Carolina Evening
As darkness descended, it was time to celebrate so many jobs well done as we all repaired to the candle-lit marquee erected on the ample lawn. During the festivities Maxine Sikes spoke about her experience during her tenure as showhouse chair. “Cashiers is such a special place, one that has escaped the predicament of so many communities that have been overrun by commercialization,” she remarked, “and it’s thanks to the Historical Society that this is not the case here.”
In closing, we’d like to say how satisfying it is to work with a designer on par with Ginger Brewton, who’s included us in two of her showhouse rooms to date. It pleases us greatly to know that we are embarking upon long-term relationships with the professionals with whom our furniture resonates stylistically. They are always on our minds as we create our products; and it is to them, and to all of the designers who contributed time, money and talent to the Cashiers Designer Showhouse, that we dedicate this journal entry. Yes, that’s applause you hear!
This post, Cool Carolina Evening, © Bruce Andrews Design, all rights reserved. Our furniture is now available through Nandina Home in Aiken, SC; Jalan Jalan in Miami, FL; Travis & Company in ADAC in Atlanta; and the Ellouise Abbott showroom in Dallas, TX. We will soon be showing in the Ellouise Abbott showroom in Houston and in the Michael-Cleary showroom in Chicago, IL.