Shannon Berrey

The Partridge Nest at Partridge Hill

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


A few weeks ago I had the treat of visiting a dear friend, Jennifer's mom {who is also a friend} in Brevard, NC. Maris had a basketball game at their local high school, and I jumped at the chance to visit with Jean and Charlie Brendle, whom I hadn't seen in years.



Their property is nestled on a mountainside near the French Broad River in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Up from their main house is The Partridge Nest, a rental cottage that this talented couple built in 2003. All of the finish work, railings, floors, painting, window treaments and pillows was accomplished by this talented duo.      



Many years ago, my young family and Jennifer's, traveled to have dinner and go to the movies in Asheville. It was New Years Eve and at the end of the night, we drove to the cottage to bring in the New Year. Our kids were so little but they sure had a big time! It is such a fun, idyllic, americana get-away that I wanted to share it with you. 




A large portrait of their 2 beloved dogs hangs prominently over the stacked stone fireplace. To say these two proprietors are animal-lovers is an understatement.



Do you see that little white squirrel on the mantle? Have you ever seen a white squirrel??? 

Legend has it that Brevard, North Carolina’s White Squirrels arrived here over 50 years ago via a circus truck. Now this story is so strange is almost has to be true. So here is goes… According to Brevard resident Mrs. W.E. Mull, a pair of white squirrels was given to her brother-in-law, H.H. Mull, by Mr. Black of Madison, Florida, in 1949. A carnival truck had overturned near Black’s home and the squirrels were caught by Mr. Black when he observed them playing in his pecan grove.

Mull gave the critters to his niece, Barbara, who unsuccessfully tried to breed them. In 1951 she married and left home. Eventually, one of the white squirrels escaped and Mr. Mull soon let the other one go. Before long, the squirrels began breeding in the wild and appeared in several areas of town.

The white squirrels became so prized that the Brevard City Council voted to approve an ordinance declaring and establishing a sanctuary for squirrels, especially the white ones, in 1986. 



The couples dear friend Elaine {who I also got to visit with!} painted this view of Pisgah Forest from their porch. Charlie and Jean then framed it with twigs to create this one-of-a-kind valance that hangs over the windows in the great room.  





I love the design Jean painted on the kitchen floors.







Jean troweled on layers of plaster on the master bathroom walls. She used a fern stencil and built up layers of the plaster before pulling the stencil off. After they were dry, the walls were painted and then glazed to enhance all of the crevices and to give the walls depth. 





The upstairs loft provides the perfect spot to read a book. Especially lovely as the late afternoon golden sun pours in.



The opposite corner provides the perfect afternoon nap spot. 



My favorite room in the cabin is the upstairs Green Room. The cypress planked walls provide a beautiful background for the green paint. The green paired with oversized black buffalo check and toile fabric is so fresh and classic. I never tire of this combination.



A beautiful collection of found mirrors covers one entire wall.






Such a great spot to sip on a glass of wine and watch for the white squirrels or black bears. 




And speaking of bears...a tree that had fallen in the yard, had just enough trunk still in the ground to allow the perfect spot for a chainsaw artist to uncover a few black bears attempting to score honey. 




Down the mountain a bit, sits the main house, Partridge Hill. The home was built around 1900 and the Brendles have called it home since 1994. In the 30's, this was home to author Hamilton Basso. His best-known work is the novel The View from Pompey's Head, a story of a New York attorney who returns to his Southern home to investigate a mystery surrounding a famous writer. The book spent almost a year on the bestseller lists in 1954. His life-long friend, Thomas Wolfe, one of the most prolific and poetic of great American writers, was a frequent visitor to Partridge Hill. If walls could talk, right ?! The Brendles have several books that recall the two writers friendship, the times spent on the back porch of Partridge Hill, and the fishing the two enjoyed down the road.      



Other frequent visitors have left some beautiful baggage behind that have allowed an eclectic collection inside the front door. 




The kitchen, guestrooms, living room, dining room and sitting room are in the building to the right. The master bedroom and bathroom are in the building to the left and they are connected with a covered breezeway. I think this is so cool!










The living room features one of the homes five fireplaces {ignore my bag that I plopped in the middle of the floor}







This perfectly weathered door leads out to a backyard with such pretty views of the Pisgah Forest. 





How charming is the little cabin that serves as Jean's potting shed ?!   

I am so glad I got to spend the afternoon with Jean and Elaine. It was such a treat! And thank-you for letting me share pictures of your inspiring home.    


If you want to learn more about planning a get-away to The Partridge Nest visit here.


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Shannon Berrey Bio
I'm an artist, interior designer, wife and mom. Join me here as I share projects, ramblings, and inspirations.
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