This Blue Ridge mountain retreat is both cozy and cool

This cabin will make you crave a weekend in the mountains

The Clevers demolished a dated structure on the site to custom-build their dream cabin, shown here.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

The Clever family likes to spend most weekends in the Chattahoochee National Forest in North Georgia, which draws city dwellers for cooler temps, outdoor adventures, mountaintop views, and changing leaves in the fall. The little historic town of Blue Ridge, lined with galleries, cafes, and microbreweries, offers its own diversions.

“I like to say it’s like a college town for adults,” says Mike Clever, who bought this mountainside property with his wife, Stacy, in 2016. The couple, who live full-time in Cumming, knocked down an outdated 1980s home and crafted a new, rustic cabin.

With views stretching across Lake Blue Ridge and the national forest and into North Carolina and Tennessee, outdoor spaces were a must. The cabin has three exterior decks, including one with a custom bed swing and another expanding onto a stone patio with a firepit, hot tub, and big farm table.

Heather Zamonis and Tyler Papp, of Z & Co. Design Group, created a warm retreat in Blue Ridge for the Clever family, who live in Cumming. The pair spent a lot of time on trial and error with wood species and stains. “It was important to find the right tone,” says Papp.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

One of three exterior decks, with views across Lake Blue Ridge and into North Carolina and Tennessee

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

Inside, Heather Zamonis and Tyler Papp, of Z & Co. Design Group, who decorated the Clevers’ Cumming home, crafted a cozy getaway with a dash of groovy. The Clevers’ design inspiration came from rocker-turned-designer Lenny Kravitz, who is known for mixing earthy elements like leather and wood with glam accessories.

The Clevers also wanted to give the new cabin a sense of history, so they sourced oak from a century-old barn in Ellijay, as well as American chestnut for accents, taking care to get the colors and tone just right, using a custom mix of Sherwin-Williams stains.

Hides and horns reinforce the lodge vibe. Zamonis and Papp sourced markets for antique fishing baskets and reels; a pair of elk antlers came from a castle in Austria. Says Zamonis: “It feels inviting but lets you know you’re still in Blue Ridge.”

A cowhide over a patterned Loloi rug provides a rustic, layered look in a bedroom.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

Vintage barn wood cozies up a custom bar with sleek quartz countertops.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

A hanging bed, purchased at Scott Antique Markets, was custom-built by Four Oak Bed Swings.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

Vacation Planner

Here’s how to grab your spot in the mountains

Built of reclaimed brick, the new Blue Ridge Station lofts downtown have a warehouse vibe that nods to the railroad history of the area. The 15 luxury units (two-bedrooms from the $400,000s) sit atop a restaurant and wine bar just steps from galleries, antiques shopping, and the refurbished train depot hosting the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, a heritage train voyage that takes visitors on a winding journey through North Georgia.

This is the land of the vacation rental cabin; snag your own for the weekend through the Chamber of Commerce’s selection on, or search Airbnb or VRBO for a range of price points. In early 2020, a new boutique hotel will break ground downtown. Blue Ridge is about 90 miles from Atlanta.

This article appears in our November 2019 issue.