A North Carolina couple creates a mountain getaway rental log home with an eye towards retirement.
Bliss mountain lodge is located in the leatherwoods mountains community. renters can use the resort’s swimming pool, on-site restaurant, hiking trails and equestrian facilities.
No, it was not déjà vu. My husband and I had already been here once before, just the day before, as a matter of fact. This second photography assignment brought us from Boone, North Carolina, along now-familiar and once-daunting twisty forest roads to the resort community of Leatherwood Mountains.
It feels like the middle of nowhere, but the private residential Leatherwoods Mountains community is ideally situated between the iconic mountain towns of Boone, Blowing Rock, and Wilkesboro. The gated resort contains nearly 4,000 acres of pristine forestland with established recreational amenities, including an equestrian facility, hiking trails, fishing spots, and paved residential roads throughout. It’s a perfect getaway.
Most of the homes in Leatherwood are vacation homes for their owners, and many residents opt into the resort’s vacation-home rental program. Such was the case with the home we were heading towards, aptly named Bliss Mountain Lodge in Leatherwood’s rental directory.
“As soon as my wife and I visited Leatherwood Mountains, we knew it was the place for us to build a second home,” says Chuck Bliss. “Mary and I purchased a 15-acre parcel of sloping terrain and situated our house to take in a panoramic, long-range view of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The heavily forested property gives us complete privacy from neighboring lots.”
Chuck and Mary determined that a log home with rustic appeal and solid construction would be the natural choice for their property. Their goal was to create a spacious but warm home with unique architectural details. Log Homes of America, the log home producer, worked closely with the couple to design the home. A general contracting business out of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, 4 Forty Four, carried out the construction of the house.
A true lodge, the Bliss residence is large, taking up approximately 7,400 square feet, not including the 1,500 square feet covered by decks and the rooftop garden. Designing the home’s interior, though, was an intricate process because of the couple’s requirements for the usage of inner space. They wanted spacious, open living areas and a main-level master bedroom suite. Additionally, they envisioned, each bedroom in the home would be a private suite with its own unique ambience.
“We aimed to create out-of-the-ordinary architectural features in the home,” says Chuck. “The stairs are ‘floating’. We have Juliette balconies, and there is a ‘living roof’ over the screened porch where native species of wildflowers thrive.”
Another primary design goal was to keep nature the center of attention through the use of expansive windows that capture the mountain views. This is evident the moment the front-entry door opens to welcome us, and any guest that might arrive to Bliss Mountain Lodge.
The homeowners resorted extensively to natural materials, using reclaimed wood throughout the home along with granite countertops and a natural stone fireplace. White pine logs comprise the walls of the home, with spruce and Douglas fir timbers adding elements of structural support. Everything Chuck and Mary selected for the house harmonizes with the simple, rustic tone of the resort. They also went to great lengths to purchase American-made products for the home and, whenever possible, they commissioned skilled local craftsmen.
The goal of eventually retiring and residing full time at Leatherwood Mountains led the Blisses to incorporate elements of universal design in their home. Doors are 36 inches wide to accommodate wheelchair passage, if needed. Space was allocated for an elevator shaft in case an elevator is required between the home’s three floors at some future time. All the handicap access design elements incorporated into the home were implemented with extremely good taste. You wouldn’t guess the design is a by-product of thoughtful foresight on the aging process.
Bliss Mountain Lodge is furnished with unique items the homeowners found themselves. They searched high and low for rustic furnishings made locally in North Carolina. A majestic elk-antler chandelier is suspended above the fireplace seating area of the great room. A diversity of original artwork includes bronze and metal sculptures, oil paintings, and fine silk embroidered textiles. A life-sized cast-iron horse poses outdoors, a handsome sentinel welcoming guests at the front entry’s porte-cochere.
The Bliss family spends time at their mountain home throughout the four seasons of the year. “There is an added dimension of peace and quiet during the winter months,” reflects Mary, “especially when it snows. We enjoy the great room with its solid, soaring fireplace and the gorgeous views, no matter the weather. The rear deck is an awesome place to sit and relax or dine during beautiful North Carolina bluebird days.” (A bluebird day is a sunny, cloudless day.)
Thankfully, we were there on one such bluebird day. Even while working, we made our way through the day in a somewhat “blissed-out” manner, taking in the views from behind the camera. There’s no doubt about it: Bliss Mountain Lodge is a great location for people to relax, unwind, and enjoy themselves.
“Everyone who visits is amazed by the view, privacy, and overall atmosphere of this special place,” says Chuck. “Mary and I love sharing it with others and are happy to have it included in the Leatherwood Mountains rental program.” Mary adds, “Each time we arrive, we feel every bit as excited as the first time we set eyes on our property. It’s a magical place that we will never tire of or take for granted.”
For more information about staying at Bliss Mountain Lodge, go to www.leatherwoodmountains.com.