The Laurel Magazine

Laurel Magazine is a monthly magazine guiding you where to shop, play, dine, and stay in Highlands NC and Cashiers NC.

Email: info@thelaurelmagazine.com

Phone: (828) 526-0173

© 2020 by The Laurel Magazine of Highlands NC and Cashiers NC   |  1571 Franklin Road, Highlands NC 28741

  • Laurel Contributor

This is Our Home

by Donna Rhodes



Every home nestled in these magnificent mountains has a story to tell.

There are volumes of fascinating tales about land explored, loved, bought, sold, and handed down. Most of what makes that property sought-after today is a jaw-dropping view. The owner’s challenge is to make his or her home worthy of its panorama. We want to highlight some of the homes that best marry building to scenery with a feature called Homes with Style. Our first breath-taking tour takes us to Whiteside.

Greg and Mary Thompson own a stunning home at the top of Whiteside Mountain Road. People hike up the mountain just to see what the Thompsons daily enjoy from their terrace. Greg says, “Clouds float below and sit in the hollows like little puffs of cotton. Some days the sky’s clear as a bell. We can see deep into North and South Carolina and Georgia. Other days storms roar through the valley. The southern view cuts straight through to Clemson. At night you can see stadium lights and runway lights of Greenville Airport.” He adds, “Our house sits right on the Eastern Continental Divide. On one side, rain meanders toward the Gulf. On the other, the Atlantic.”

They took their time finding this ideal piece of land. After razing its old dwelling, they set about designing and building their residence. Their builder procured a 19th-century barn’s hand-hewn, first growth timber beams, rough-cut by a lumberjack in the mid-1800s. “We used as much reclaimed wood as possible,” says Greg. “We wanted to incorporate natural material to mirror the surrounding landscape.”

Greg and Mary hired a legendary interior designer from Atlanta, Jackye Lantam. Jackye spent two years researching and purchasing exceptional finds like a magnificent 19th-century walnut desk. Her wall treatments and furniture acquisitions complemented the Thompson’s impressive fine art collection.

Greg says, “We told Jackye we wanted a very homey feel, not anything ostentatious. She came up with a palette of earth tones and neutrals accompanied by light greens and touches of red here and there. Mary instantly approved, and so did I.”

Jackye and the Thompsons collaborated on several delightful additions to the design including a custom round marble countertop (no corners to bang into) and a metal stove hood that simulates other ironwork in the kitchen.

They also incorporated four sizeable sliding pocket doors, allowing them to open up a large part of the house to the view for parties. And at 4,500 feet elevation, the house can be wide-open with no bothersome bugs. Guests walk outside to the porch and experience fire and water features, a disappearing-edge fountain, and a handsome gas fire-pit.

For golfers, there is a room with a simulator of 70 courses on which you can use real clubs. With this room, Greg jokes he’s the one who’s going to die with the most toys.

Every year they open up the house to a chamber orchestra event/fundraiser. Last year they hosted a trio with piano accompaniment. The piano used? Their own baby grand.

The Thompsons have spent four years now in their forever home. Each day is a new experience with seasonal and weather shifts altering the mood and the vista. It’s a constant joy. Granted, the house would be beautiful without the view. The view would be beautiful without the house. But the two of them together is way more than the sum of their parts.

The Thompsons were thrilled to kick off this new Laurel feature. Join us next month for another tour of a magnificent mountain This Is Our Home.