Story of a House: Asheville

Modern Getaway

Panoramic Blue Ridge views mingle with the eclectic art in this summer home

by Jessie Ammons

photographs by Nick King

Letitia McKibbon fancies herself a beach person. The Florida native would occasionally make her way to the mountains for vacation, “but I’d always choose the sea,” she says. Until about 15 years ago, when McKibbon and husband John McKibbon rented a vacation house in Asheville for the summer. Their month-long stay was the catalyst: “Long story short, we started looking for a house.”

The McKibbons found a mid-century ranch house they hoped would become a summer home. It was dark and out-of-date, but the outdoor space and sweeping mountain views made up for the interior, at least for a while. In the meantime, John McKibbon’s hospitality group opened several hotels in the area, including the Aloft downtown and brand-new AC Hotel Asheville. (He has worked locally to open Homewood Suites by Crabtree Valley Mall and at RTP.) Asheville became more than a seasonal escape, Letitia McKibbon says. It became a place they are invested in, both in business and in charity. “This is our community.”

 To reflect the parts of Asheville they love most, in 2010 the couple completely gutted and renovated their house. There is spunky art, open space, and windows galore. The ridgeline, after all, is what won Letitia McKibbon over in the first place. “It still shocks me sometimes that I feel this way,” she says good-naturedly, “Looking at the mountains is as good as the ocean.”