Due North

07 Feb 2022

Timeless style overlooking the Terrapins

By Mandy Murry

When 32 acres next to High Hampton became available, Don and Carolyn Glisson jumped at the opportunity to build the home of their dreams. With their first grandchild on the way this spring and the engagement of their second daughter, the property was perfect for their growing family.

Design-build contractor, Jim Robinson of Design South Builders, worked closely with the ambitious couple to bring their visions to life. For those familiar with Jim, you know that no attention to detail is spared. This is apparent the moment the home comes into view as you enter their beautifully landscaped driveway. They say “location, location, location” is everything, and the positioning of the home site sits perfectly to incorporate the breathtaking views of the Big and Little Terrapin mountains.

The Glisson’s began visiting the area about 25 years ago. At the time, their daughters were small children. Carolyn reminisces, “We would rent a house every summer in High Hampton for three weeks and made special memories. We bought our first house there in 2010, and when the property for the current house came available, we jumped at it. We moved into the current house in November of 2020 and could not be happier.”

The exterior of the home embodies the style of European countryside architecture. The mixture of gable, hip and shed roof lines are softened by the curved keystone archway. It is this subtle yet dramatic entry that invites you in. Once through the front door, you feel as though you are actively living within the painted backdrop of the gorgeous western North Carolina mountains. 

Windows span the entirety of the rear of the home, showcasing the daily display of colors. Don and Carolyn both agree the master bedroom is their favorite room in the house, “We designed the room to be very large with plenty of room for two sitting areas. One by the windows with the views of Big and Little Terrapin mountains and the other by the gas fireplace. The room has the best view in the house, and when we open the automatic blinds in the morning, we get a different view each day with the changing lighting, climate, etc. When the clouds are passing through the valley in the morning light, it’s just spectacular.”

Deciding to work with Jim and the Design South Builders team was a “no brainer,” Don and Carolyn both agreed. The attention to detail and quality of work was impressive. “Jim is an artist and has a knack for making the ordinary extraordinary.” Examples of his artistry can be found throughout the home. As a designer and builder, Jim puts great thought into his homeowner’s lifestyles, coupling their passions with their living space. “We entertain a lot, and I enjoy collecting and sharing wine with friends,” expressed Don. The suggestion was made to incorporate a climate-controlled wine room, and it was a perfect addition to complete this custom home. “The door Jim designed really makes the room.”

Creating outdoor and indoor spaces that become one was key to the desires of Don and Carolyn. The screened-in porch is another one of their favorite features of the home. Giant, multi-slide doors open to allow for a large entertaining space perfect for family and friends to gather. The Glisson’s enjoy the ability to watch sporting events outdoors, as well as the option to close off the television with hand-crafted barn wood doors for more intimate events. 

In speaking with Jim and the Glisson’s, the design and build of this 5,400-square-foot home was filled with heart. The thought process and considerations for best views, noise levels, aesthetics and livable spaces is evident throughout the layout. The right wing of the home consists of a three-car garage with bedrooms overhead. These design decisions take the focus away from the garage and keep the cottage feel. It is these details that play to the strengths of Jim as a builder and the passion he has for his work. It also speaks to the Glisson’s zeal for entertaining and connecting with loved ones.

Start to finish, the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath home took approximately 14 months to complete. The great room features stunning high vaulted ceilings and custom built-ins. The master suite offers 11-foot ceilings and is in the left wing of the home, allowing for noise separation for Don and Carolyn. 

Jim has been building in the Cashiers area for approximately 17 years. After graduating from Tulane School of Architecture, he worked with a firm out of Atlanta and was asked to do a spec home in Wade Hampton. As the story goes, Jim fell in love with Cashiers, eventually moving there and founding his company, Design South Builders, in 2009.  

It takes a collaborative team to build such a remarkable home. Design South Builders has developed strong working relationships with all their subcontractors, allowing them to maintain quality and consistency throughout all their projects. Design features such as the mitered edge and veins alignment of the floating marble vanity in the powder bath and stone placement of the fireplace and exteriors showcase this dedication. 

The interiors of the home were tailored to have a modern, mountain chic feel. Focusing on keeping it light and airy, interior designer Joan Anderson used soft gray and light-colored palettes to help draw the outside in. Made for entertaining, the open and expansive kitchen boasts an island topped with Taj Mahal quartzite that coordinates and contrasts with the absolute black leathered countertops. A long, rectangular rustic dining room table is a perfect complement to share meals with daughter Dr. Samantha Glisson Hill and her husband, Dr. Hayden Hill, and daughter Abigail Glisson and her fiancé, Dr. Carson Freeman- who hope to be married in the backyard to take advantage of the stunning views.

Jim loved the concept of this home from the beginning and believes preserving the land and only utilizing one location of the 32 acres was a responsible way to build. Facing due north, with southern exposure showcasing the Terrapin Mountains, illuminates its prominence as a family treasure. There is no doubt that this unique home will prove to be an awe-inspiring backdrop for the upcoming family wedding.

Home Design and Build

Design South Builders


(828) 577-0407

Interior Design

Joan Anderson Interiors


(828) 747-0836

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