Love at First Sight at this North Carolina Cabin
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Love at First Sight at this North Carolina Cabin

Interior designer Craig Duncan’s vision brought his North Carolina mountain cabin to life.

Written by Katherine Owen

Photos courtesy of Craig Duncan


Perched atop a mountaintop in western North Carolina, Craig Duncan’s cozy cabin is 1,200 square feet of pure charm. Here, he reflects on the very first time the cozy abode caught his eye. 

Craig: This cabin was my dad’s. He and his wife were thinking about moving to the beach, and they were selling this place before they moved. I had never seen it before. So, I told my dad I was interested in buying it, and I drove up here with a friend. As soon as we pulled around the corner, I had to do a double take to make sure I had the correct address because it was the most charming place you can imagine. My jaw dropped. I looked at my friend and said, “I don’t care, I want it.” 

It needed a lot of work, but even so, it was just magical from the minute I saw it. On the outside, the logs were a honey color, but I updated them with a charcoal-gray stain. The roof was this brown asphalt shingle, and I had that changed to a dark-green metal. The interior was not in great shape either, but I moved what I called my “fancier” furniture up here, and it all worked so beautifully. 

I have three dogs, Brutus, Max and Buddy, and that was one of the main reasons I moved up here full-time. My biggest weakness is dogs. My condo in Atlanta only allowed two dogs, and I found Brutus, the yellow lab, up here in the middle of the intersection of the road. I stopped traffic and knelt down, and he came running to me. So I threw him in the car and looked for the owners, but I couldn’t find them, so my vet said, “He’s yours.” 

I’ve gained a few pearls of wisdom living in the cabin. The first is, when you’re in a cabin, you realize you can live in a lot less space than you think you can. I never thought I could condense my life into something this small, but when you’re in a cabin, for some reason, you think a lot more simply. 

The other thing is, if you have property with a view, that’s great. But, if you feel like you’re settling because you don’t have a view, I think there’s always something to see in the mountains, and there’s always something to see in the woods. Sometimes some of the greatest treasures up here are things that are not related to the view at all. 

Finally, a screened porch is really important. Before I screened in my own, I never really used it. Now that I have a screened porch though, I have tables and lamps, as if it’s part of the living room, and I use it every day. When it was open, I wouldn’t have done that for some reason. Now, it’s like a new room in the house. It’s very soothing. 

In my spare time, my hobby is working around this house. And my yard brings me a lot of joy. There’s always, always something to do. So I’m never really bored or tired. I’ve put all of myself into this place, and I love it. There’s nothing about the furnishings or the design that’s overtly cabin-y, it’s just homey.


See also: Minimal Effort, Big Deal

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