Visit A North Carolina Mountain Retreat Inspired By Indian Heritage


Fireplace wall with white vertical...

In the living room of this Cashiers, North Carolina, retreat, a customized Jiun Ho swivel chair—dressed in Rose Tarlow Melrose House linen—sits before a fireplace fabricated using Nero Marquina marble by Atlanta Stone Creations. An antiqued mirror backsplash by The District Gallery & Framery plays foil to a colorful Audra Weaser artwork.

Sideboard in mixed materials paired...

A vignette within the lower-level gathering room is anchored by a midcentury cherry and ash wood Italian sideboard from Chairish atop patchwork-patterned Peacock Pavers flooring from Exact Tile Inc. Modernist globe sconces found at The Original Round Top Antiques Fair flank a Claudia Trongmo painting acquired through Nikki L. Brown Art Advisory.

Entryway with iron stairwell, round...

Nero Parquet limestone flooring from François & Co. lays the foundation for the home’s foyer beneath a vintage Sorensen brass light fixture from Chairish. A trio of artworks by Michelle Y. Williams from Pryor Fine Art complements a Laura Roebuck painting from Anne Irwin Fine Art.

Living room with large windows,...

Ruddy hues and lush textures define the living room, where a Rowe Furniture sofa in Rogers & Goffigon mohair velvet joins bespoke ottomans in Larsen’s Sahara wool. The custom mosaic stone coffee table by The Iron Studio rests atop Kravet’s Fintra wool rug.

Kitchen with large windows, dark...

The main kitchen’s sculptural Constantine quartzite backsplash by Atlanta Stone Creations echoes the bell-shaped silhouette of François & Co.’s Arcadia hood. Lundy Hang pendants by The Urban Electric Co. preside over a custom oak island produced by Kingdom Woodworks.

Wet bar with wooden cabinetry,...

In the lower-level kitchenette, a conical drum fixture from Rejuvenation and brass sconces by Olde Brick Lighting illuminate custom cabinetry by Kingdom Woodworks. A ledge of Ciot-sourced Constantine quartzite holds a petite oil-on-canvas by Megan Lightell from Anne Irwin Fine Art.

Screened porch with a combination...

On the screened porch, a dimensional custom TV cover fabricated by The District Gallery & Framery pops against the tumbled stone fireplace by builder Charles Womack. Outdoor furnishings by Harbour include an aluminum dining table and teak chairs upholstered in Pierre Frey’s Moorea textile.

Bedroom with dark metal canopy...

Kelly Wearstler’s Rousseau sconce accents a Botanica Trading wallpaper within the primary bedroom’s inviting window seat. Oly’s Faun canopy bed wears Pierre Frey’s Arsene linen on the headboard.

Powder room with dark floral...

Zak+Fox’s Les Baobabs Amoureux wallcovering wraps the powder room. A gold-toned Waterworks faucet punctuates the vanity fashioned by Atlanta Stone Creations using Ciot-sourced Calacatta Viola marble.

While driving through the winding, misty mountain roads of Cashiers, North Carolina, Anu and Punit Chadha could practically feel their blood pressure drop. Both busy physicians with two teenage children, the Austin residents were astonished by the area’s lush greenery, fragrant flowers and pleasantly cool temperatures—a far cry from the heat back home. On a whim, they decided to tour a wooded, creek-side property for sale. Stirred by its intrinsic beauty, they made an offer on the spot. “This region spoke to our hearts,” Anu explains. “It’s a hidden gem.”

Relying largely on referrals, the Chadhas soon assembled a skilled design team to craft their vacation retreat from scratch. While they wanted their house to blend with the vernacular established by the area’s historic 100-year-old cottages, the couple simultaneously appreciated a more sophisticated and contemporary open floor plan with streamlined modern finishes.

Architect Mark Paullin, responsible for many homes in the area, spearheaded the concept. Clad in poplar bark siding and accented by rough-hewn stone detailing on the exterior, his design blends in to the landscape much like a traditional cottage would. But vast walls of gridded glass tip it toward modernity while framing the bosky surroundings. “It’s a house that won’t let you forget you’re in the mountains,” the architect notes.

Paullin’s collaboration with his clients—and, soon, interior designers Michelle Berryman and Lori Lambert Moreno of Blackberry Farm Design—produced a few tweaks to his initial plans, including adapting a lower-level terrace into a glass-enclosed gathering room. Builder Charles Womack and his extended team ensured every aspect of construction was executed with uncompromising expertise. “ ‘We can figure this out together’ was always their approach,” Berryman recounts of the cooperative effort. 

Taking cues from the wealth of glass and magnificent views, she and Moreno approached the abode as a modernist opportunity. Refined finishes such as quartzite, brass and handblown glass juxtapose wood-plank ceilings and white vertical tongue-in-groove wall paneling. New and vintage furnishings—many upholstered in rich, jewel-toned fabrics—punctuate this neutral backdrop while reminding the Chadhas of the joyful batik textiles of India, where they both lived as children. 

Visiting the couple’s colorful, flower-filled Texas home and looking through their personal snapshots—which included pictures of traditional celebratory ensembles—further affirmed the designers’ initial instincts to push the envelope. “These clients were drawn to vibrant colors with more life and spunk than we often get to work with, which was a treat,” Berryman says.

To wit, the Chadhas eagerly signed off on the colorful floral wallcovering adorning their first-floor powder room, its reddish hues perfectly complementing the Calacatta Viola marble vanity’s burgundy veining. “They have fresh flowers delivered regularly to their home in Austin,” Moreno explains. “So, the floral pattern wasn’t a hard sell.”

The art selections were equally as exciting: bentwood and metal sculptures, watercolors, encaustics, collages and fiber works—a number of them bespoke commissions. Adds Berryman: “These pieces were a key part of the layering process; they bring so much life into the home.”

Large corner windows brighten the kitchen, which captures breathtaking views of a nearby lake. Here, perimeter cabinetry in a creamy tone lives peacefully alongside an oak island inspired by counters found in old-fashioned pharmacies—with both featuring dark quartzite countertops. A bespoke brass-strapped metal hood with a bell-like flare adds an element of drama, its shape echoing the integrated quartzite backsplash behind the range. “The hood drove the bus in this space,” Moreno notes. “It’s a big statement.”

The dynamic pink print chosen for the primary bedroom is similarly impactful. Realizing how much the patterned cotton swatch resonated with their clients, the designers even persuaded the manufacturer to expedite its release as a wallcovering, allowing them to line the interior of a window seat, its cushion and pillows all in the same motif. 

After watching much of the construction progress via video from their Austin home, the Chadhas said they felt like characters in a movie once they were finally able to tour their completed retreat, with snow falling softly on the trees outside. It was a magical moment that became a harbinger for so much more. “Without even realizing it, we had created a legacy home—for our children and their children,” Punit reflects.