If there ever was a space that perfectly combined elements of vintage, rustic, stylish, weathered, and colour popping, then it’s absolutely the recently made over Acorn Falls Cottage by Ballard Design.
Located in Highlands, North Carolina, this mountain home is positively infused with colour in a way that follows contemporary decor trends at the exact same time as it harnesses natural and rustic aesthetics to suit the woodland surroundings designers nestled it comfortably into.
Originally built in the early 1900s, the cottage has long been an historic vacation spot, with countless families renting it out over the years to enjoy the mountain air and benefit from a relaxing escape while still remaining close enough to the town of Highlands to be convenient and not isolated.
Missy Woolf, an iconic designer famous for her cottage renovations, is responsible for the slightly modernized but still undoubtedly weathered vintage chic aesthetic of the newly overhauled cottage. Her aim was to preserve as much of the building’s original charm as possible while still giving it an update that looks and feels fresh and perhaps even luxurious, in a grounded sort of way.
This mixed atmosphere was achieved partially through the use of a combination of furnishing choices ranging from high end and designer to locally made artisan pieces that are natural in their materiality. Local artwork is also a large part of the cottage’s revamping, giving it a newfound charm and character while still tying it to its place right there on the mountain.
Besides these design choices, the element of the newly redone house that is perhaps the most important is the way the space now plays with colour, particularly turquoise. Besides being very trendy in fashion and design right now, turquoise is a colour that invokes calm, cheeriness, and an upbeat attitude. In the particular muted shade you see in these photos, however, it stirs the same feelings but suits the landscape without seeming to scream too bright against all that natural wood and rock.
To incorporate the use of so much turquoise into the house more thoroughly rather than just having the exterior and a few painted pieces bear all the weight of eye catching on their own, we appreciate the way the designer chose to balance the colour with other fun, colourful fabrics that contribute to the sense of having a “pop” where there isn’t just natural wood and plain white.
On the porch, which features a failing made entirely from branches, a shaded but warm and comfortable seating area has been built. The cottage still has its original layout, which is slightly more traditional than the open concept homes you see more commonly now that usually feature blended indoor-outdoor spaces, so the establishment of a good, solid outdoor place to sit combats the cottage feeling closed off from its beautiful outdoor surroundings.
White and turquoise follow you throughout the house, from the wicker swing seats on the porch, through the kitchen and living room and on into the bedrooms. Rather than using precisely the same muted turquoise as you see on the cottage’s fashionably faded exterior, however, you’ll notice that some pieces feature a deeper shade of the colour, bordering almost into teal. This grounds the aesthetic and makes it feel more dynamic.
The kitchen and its accompanying dining room are perhaps the part of the house that feature the most delicious blend of rustic and modern. All of the essentials and amenities are modern and gleaming new, but the use of reclaimed local wood is still heavy in many large features, like the island and the high bar style table, keeping that rustic feel that’s so essential to a mountain cottage.
Of course, the kitchen isn’t the only place that boasts impressive rustic features built in natural materials. We’re also in awe at how much we adore the way the fireplace in the central living room look as thought it has been pieced together right there in the heart of the home, stone by stone. In the winter, this becomes one of the coziest places to gather with loved ones.
Of course, the outside of the cottage is a wonderful space to enjoy as well, beyond just the deck and porch swings! Designers also incorporated a firepit area nestled in the leaves on the lawn, with a safe place to relax in large wooden chairs while the embers glow and the kids roast marshmallows.
Photos by Sarah Ingram