What happens when a salty Chicago businessman buys a vacation property at a mountain lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains and turns to a southern architect to envision his dream home? The result is a home with a unique envelope, playful lines, and unexpected tones, leading to a long-term friendship. Our relationships deeply influence our designs, often bringing delightful surprises, as seen in this project. We explored the richness of stained wood to craft rooms with moody, cozy atmospheres that transition seamlessly into lighter spaces. A standout feature was a four-story stair tower, culminating in his office at the top, where wallboards and stair treads were crafted from the very oak trees cleared for the house’s construction, giving those trees a continued life in the form of textured boards.