At The Heart of It All

04 Jun 2024

This home in High Hampton is all about the love

By: Brittany Conley

Photos by Amy Lamb, Native House Photography

Terry and Jamie Hawkins have long loved living in Cashiers. They spent over 20 years hosting friends and family at their lakefront home in the gorgeous Holly Berry community. The home served them well, giving them as many memories as it did projects–and as self-proclaimed “serial renovators,” they very much enjoyed the chance to put plenty of sweat equity into that home. But as the COVID pandemic went on, the couple realized two things: they were ready for a new project, and they were ready to become full-time residents of the plateau. They found the answer in one of High Hampton’s most gorgeous lots.

With Rock Mountain situated just beyond their backyard, it is not hard at all to see why the Hawkins family couldn’t resist making the leap from part-time to full-time residents. After a friend introduced them to the community, they found and fell in love with the pristine panorama. “We are very thankful for the location and the view. At our old home that we were in for [over 20] years, we were on a lake and didn’t have the mountain view and I think that makes it even sweeter to us,” says Jamie Hawkins.

Finding such a gem of a lot, though, demands finding the right builder–someone who can see what hasn’t even been built yet, how it will mingle with the landscape and how to achieve the goal with all the challenges that can come with building something on sometimes less than forgiving terrain. After poring over the options, Terry and Jamie decided to hire Design South Builders. “We were able to see several homes [built by] Jim Robinson and Design South and get a feel for what they were capable of,” says Hawkins, who says they desired something on the modern, yet traditional side, whereas their former home had been charmingly rustic. “Design South has one of the best teams on the plateau, specifically Hallie Lycans during the design phase and Chris Turner on the cabinets and punch out,” says Hawkins.

Not only is it always interesting to work within the tricky terrain and often unpredictable mountain weather, but this build had the added logistical nightmare brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the tattered supply chain. “Building a new home can certainly be a challenge. Especially in the mountains and during COVID. But we found Jim and his team responsive to requests and things that we would bring up that were important to us,” says Hawkins.

Jim Robinson, owner of Design South Builders, who completed the masterful architectural design of the home, felt the Hawkins were pretty much the ideal clients to have during such a trying time for accomplishing much of anything, especially a project as large as building a luxury home. “This house for Terry and Jaime was built during COVID, which greatly impacted the construction industry. While supply chain and labor issues were challenging for all builders, the Hawkins were very kind and understanding,” says Robinson.

With the build process in the infinitely capable hands of Jim and his team, Terry and Jamie needed only to decide on an interior designer to trust with transforming the gorgeous house into a warm and inviting home. Only, there really was no decision to be made as there is only one interior designer Terry and Jamie were interested in bringing aboard this–and any–interior design project: their daughter, Joan.

“In spite of the fact that she’s our daughter, she is super talented and has helped us on many homes that we have renovated or purchased,” says Hawkins, who admits the interior process had them a little out of their comfort zones as it was such a vastly different concept than anything they had worked on before. “We could not have achieved this home without her help and insights,” says Hawkins, who notes Joan also played an instrumental role in the construction project management.

At the time of the build, Joan Hawkins lived in Mississippi running her own boutique shop and custom interior design business. “This was not the first home I worked on with them,” says Joan, who also designed the interior of her parents’ home in Tampa. “It’s been a beautiful experience for me. It has brought us closer together and the memories we made working on this project are ones I will cherish always.”

Joan’s approach to working with interior design clients is to foster a relationship that makes the client confident enough to communicate honestly so they can collaborate and create a space that works on all levels. For this project, that level of comfort and confidence had been long cultivated. Having seen Terry and Jamie’s relationship blossom and grow over the decades, Joan knew the move and leaving their beloved Holly Berry home would initially be bittersweet, but she also knew how to help them move forward and fall in love with their new home.

Joan and her stepmother were both on the same page about one of the home’s first design priorities: Terry’s prized album collection needed proper placement. “In all his years and other homes, this was the first time priority was placed on putting his collection conveniently at his fingertips. It was one of the first things we worked through the design and integration of with Jim's plans, custom built-ins flanking the fireplace. Jamie was insistent that a place for his prized collection not be an afterthought,” says Joan, who notes that some of her own favorite childhood memories were made on Saturday mornings with her dad in record stores thumbing through albums together.

The combination of immense talent from Design South Builders and Joan Hawkins Art & Interiors resulted in what is surely one of the most stunning homes in High Hampton. The dramatically terraced landscape is essentially a pedestal for the home which is meticulously positioned to make the most of the jaw-dropping view of Rock Mountain. “The Hawkins picked an exceptional lot with a great view of Rock Mountain. I designed the floorplan to center on this view with an axis that runs from the front porch, through the foyer, to the large window wall in the living room,” says Robinson.

Even to the untrained eye, it is easy to see the thoughtfulness and effort that went into making sure the home worked with the natural surroundings instead of competing against them. “We used a natural native granite stone known locally as Hoopers Creek for the exterior and living room fireplace. This stone has a nice palette of grays and light browns that work well with our siding and natural cedar shake roof. We carried the front porch’s flagstone floor into the foyer, thereby bringing the outside space into the interior,” says Robinson, who also notes that incorporating a Carolina room with an Eze-Breeze window system that slides all the way to one side was an inspired idea to take full advantage of the Rock Mountain view.

One of Joan Hawkins’ favorite elements in the home is also found in the Carolina room. “One thing everyone makes note of is the lighting fixture hanging above the porch dining table. It’s a 19th-century European orchestral kettledrum,” says Joan. In order to satisfy the tastes of both her father and stepmother, Joan utilized a select few vintage and antique statement pieces in clever ways with rough-hewn cross beams which helped to soften the newness of everything else.

At first glance, the home and property seem larger than life. Yet, somehow as you really look through the home, you get the sense that although the home is a great place for friends and family to gather, it truly was built for a couple deeply in love to spend their time together. An unexpected, though brilliant, example of this is the office. Not only did they go through the painstaking process of installing custom iron and glass barn-style doors, fabricated by John Collins in Cashiers, to keep the space open to the great room, but they also contracted Garret Taylor of Taylor’d Designs to custom build partner desks so they could work together. “I found it thoughtful and rather romantic that they wanted the office to be designed so that their desks could face each other,” says Robinson. Taylor’d Designs also crafted the wormy chestnut ceiling.

At the heart of it all, through all the years they have between them, it’s always been about togetherness and love for Terry and Jamie. They have been fortunate in so many ways, not the least of which being finding each other. “I love and admire them as a couple as much as I admire them individually. They support each other in ways that I think we all hope and strive to accomplish in our own relationships,” says Joan.

For more information on Design South Builders, you can find them online at Joan Hawkins is now based in Greenville, SC, and can be found online at

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