An antique cabin stands in front of the larger structure

Tenth grader Brooke Bresnan smashed onto the scene at Charlotte Country Day School from Connecticut like a lightening bolt. Her hair was green and she wore huge Jenco jeans, while the rest of her class dressed in preppy attire as if it were a required uniform. On her first day she was challenged to a fist fight by another girl in her class, something that has never happened in the history of the school. Brooke showed up for the fight but never had to strike a blow. By shear force of will she won over her opponent and became a legend at the school for her guts, her intelligence, and her willingness to challenge the opinions of other students as well as teachers. 

The big windows in her sunny living room

Brooke and my daughter Abby, both rebels, became close and are still tight years later. Brooke has brought her strength and energy to Wall Street, to Los Angeles, and now she is here in Western North Carolina, as is Abby. Brooke no longer chooses to set the world on fire, although she certainly could, but has settled in with a sweet man in a log cabin in Chunn’s Cove, is living the rural life, and is working on a memoir. With AJ she has created a beautiful handmade home. 

In Brooke’s office

Their log cabin is huge by cabin standards, but Brooke has made the vast space with its towering cathedral ceiling feel cozy and comfortable. When she and AJ moved into the house, it was painted in loud colors, but Brooke has gravitated away from the wild colors she wore in high school and has transformed the space by painting the walls with soft neutrals, which she also uses in the home’s decor .

The house is full of delightful vignettes, with nothing out of place. She has wisely kept her stuff contained and between the soothing neutrals and the lack of clutter, the house makes the interior feel peaceful. 

Brooke’s office s the ideal setting for her writing. Her computer is on a desk overlooking the back yard with her reference books and office supplies arranged neatly at her fingertips. It’s the ideal setting for her creative endeavor, devoid of distractions and set up for maximum creativity. A white board on the wall details her appointments and work goals so she is organized and focused. She has already made huge progress on her memoir and is thinking about future writing projects.

Organization plus

AJ is a man of many talents and has created a splendid vegetable garden, a music studio, and a media room with handmade stadium seats. For our lunch, Brooke dashed out to the garden and picked a head of Romaine that looked like a magazine picture, and served it with a quiche that AJ had whipped up the night before. 

AJ’s instruments

The real boss of the house, though, is Lefty the short-haired pointer. He decides where he will sit and when, and has decided that the squishy white linen couch is his dog bed when there are guests in the living room, dog hair be damned!. There are six other dog beds in the house and Lefty visits those too when the mood strikes him. 

Lefty on his throne

Brooke inherited her beautiful style from her mother, my dear friend Julie Bresnan, from whom she also got some of her interesting pieces. Julie and John live in Biltmore Forest, and I will take you inside their amazing home in a future newsletter. Both homes, while large, make a visitor feel welcome and embraced. This is the feeling you get in a handmade home.

Lettuce from the garden