An Atlanta-based architect and furniture designer team up to create a floating glass mountaintop retreat

Keith Summerour collaborated Skylar Morgan to create the wood, metal, and glass abode

107
mountaintop retreat at Blackberry Farm
The catwalk leading to the front door shows off the home’s dramatic perch, with a glass floor that reveals a breathtaking 60-foot drop below.

Photograph by Ingalls Photography

The key rule in creating this ridgetop guest house at Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm residences: Don’t impede the view. Floating on steel posts atop Chilhowee Mountain, with a panoramic view of the Great Smoky Mountains, the retreat sits on “a very unique piece of property,” says architect Keith Summerour, who collaborated with furniture designer Skylar Morgan to create the wood, metal, and glass abode.

At 1,600 square feet, with one bedroom, this intimate hideaway will serve as the guest house and office for a yet-to-be-built main house. But this gem got the star treatment—and the prime mountaintop placement, which Summerour assessed with drones. After enlisting Skylar Morgan for some custom furniture, the teams decided to join up to design the retreat together from floor to ceiling, incorporating custom ergonomic details throughout, like LED-lit handrails and integrated technology. Glass railings on the deck—plus sections of catwalk with glass floors that reveal a dramatic 60-foot drop below—allow for the house to soak in its surroundings.

mountaintop retreat at Blackberry Farm
The top level embraces architect Keith Summerour’s simple, single-gable design with a vaulted ceiling braced with blackened steel. The custom oiled walnut desk by Skylar Morgan features inset leather and felt and integrated power, USB, and lighting. The company’s Y steel coffee and side tables complement soft furnishings. The light fixture is Prometheus II by Christopher Boots.

Photograph by Ingalls Photography

mountaintop retreat at Blackberry Farm
Outside the bedroom, a hot tub and Skylar Morgan’s modern take on a rocker, in oiled mahogany and blackened steel, offer places to settle and soak in the view, unimpeded by heavy railings.

Photograph by Ingalls Photography

Skylar Morgan outfitted the home with white oak woodworking on walls, floors, and ceilings, and walnut furniture for a warm contrast. “We were so inspired by the surroundings to include nature and natural materials into every element,” says Stephanie Morgan of Skylar Morgan. “It’s almost like a floating ship.”

The custom furniture—from rocking chairs to a shelter bed and desk—included materials used in the architecture for a totally integrated feel. “Most projects don’t have a furniture designer, interior designer, furniture craftsman, and architect working together as one team,” says Summerour. “The client was willing to let us ply our own crafts, and it just shows how beautiful [design] can be with collaboration.”

mountaintop retreat at Blackberry Farm
Avalanche quartzite brings organic movement to the downstairs bathroom, while brass fixtures add warmth.

Photograph by Ingalls Photography

mountaintop retreat at Blackberry Farm
The king-sized walnut bed by Skylar Morgan with a leather-wrapped shelter headboard shines as the only piece of furniture in the room. Built-in side tables and inset brass reading lamps cover all the bases.

Photograph by Ingalls Photography

This article appears in our Fall 2021 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Advertisement