Photography by Janna Bannan
As a designer for the hospitality industry, including luxury brands like St. Regis and The Ritz-Carlton, Cheryl Richardson is well-versed in the art of creating dreamy spaces that soothe guests into a rhythm of relaxation. So, when she had the opportunity to design the mountaintop escape she shares with her partner, Bill Pratt, she leaned into her expertise, and an elevated yet casual aesthetic emerged.
“We wanted the home to feel comfortable and approachable but with a certain sense of awe,” she says of the timber home situated on 117 pastured and forested acres. “It’s the kind of place where you throw on socks, Uggs and a sweatshirt.” While textured neutrals blanketing the interiors impart a cozy sense of serenity, the showstopping views and Douglas fir timber frame supply the “wow” factor. “You look up at this wide expanse of timbers and the beautiful construction and you can’t help but be amazed,” Cheryl says.
“There is a ton of timber framing in this home,” affirms Mike Stoner, an independent sales representative for Mid-Atlantic Timberframes. There are 37 tons and 444 pieces, to be exact. Douglas fir hammerbeam trusses in the living area and on the front and rear porch feature mortise-and-tenon joinery with wooden pegs. “It really took on a life of its own once we got started,” says Mike.
Though it now plays an integral role, a timber frame wasn’t on the couple’s radar when they first purchased the property in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. “Bill likes a more rustic style, so we started out to build a log cabin,” says Cheryl, “but I prefer a more mountain-modern look.” The timber frame was key to bringing together the two design styles. “It allows both of us to feel very at home and comfortable,” Cheryl affirms.
Within the timber framework, the interiors pair Bill’s penchant for all things rustic with Cheryl’s modern leanings. In the home’s main living area — an open expanse that includes the kitchen, living and dining area — marble countertops and sleek, stainless-steel touches appear next to live-edge wood furnishings and leather upholstery.
Then there is the medley of artisanal touches from all over the world that infuse the mountain home with subtle, cosmopolitan energy: swing-in casement windows from French Canadian company Lepage Millwork, tile from Mexico and plumbing fixtures from Italy. But it’s the cabinet hardware that wins the award for longest trek, coming from a forger in Siberia. “I wanted a hand-hammered look, but it was incredibly expensive,” explains Cheryl, who took to the Internet to find a bargain-priced alternative. “I found him on Etsy, and he was a delight to work with.”
Though they have been enjoying the home for three years now, the couple is still in research-and-build mode. Having completed a barn and workshop, they now have a basement renovation underway that will expand the home from its original three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom iteration into five bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths, plus a fitness room and media room.
On any given day, you might find their shared crew of six children and four grandchildren visiting the property, riding ATVs, working jigsaw puzzles or exploring the kitchen garden. “It’s a big, open, family environment, with plenty of spaces for everyone to find their little spot,” says Cheryl.
For most, it seems the preferred place to settle in is anywhere with sightlines to the outdoors — or in the outdoors themselves. With 360-degree mountain views, windows at every turn and a spacious front and back porch, the property pulls off the indoor/outdoor living experience seamlessly. “We wanted the outside and inside to feel integrated, and this property was the perfect location for that,” Cheryl says.
Though originally built to be a weekend home, it’s been a full-time residence since the couple moved in during the quarantine days of 2020. “When Covid hit, we came here to work from home, and I never left,” Cheryl says. “This place provides us with a level of peace that we’ve never had anywhere else; it’s magic here.”
Square Footage: 3,900
Timber Provider/Designer: Mid-Atlantic Timberframes