How do you create a lake house that’s equally comfortable whether it’s full of 20 family members or just two guests? Such was the challenge for interior designer Abbi Williams of Red Door Design Studio when she was working with homeowner Randy Dobbs for this abode at The Reserve at Lake Keowee in Sunset, South Carolina.
“This house isn’t a traditional lake home, nor is it overly rustic,” Abbi says. Walking the empty lot in the pre-construction stage, she and builder Will Hines of Keeoco Development came up with a design that took advantage of sloping topography and sunlight. Even though the house is large, it essentially was designed one room deep so that both sides of the house get exposure to natural light.
They also tweaked the floor plan and interior finishes to add warmth. “Randy wanted an open floor plan but when most people hear that, they think of the dining, kitchen and great room all in a single shared room,” says Abbi. “But we chose a different approach: connecting the rooms visually then separating them with architectural elements.” As one technique, she and Will staggered ceiling heights and added openings with reclaimed wood headers to keep the rooms connected but gain definition in each space.
“For the finishes, we chose to limit the use of stained wood so the home didn’t get too visually heavy, rustic or masculine,” she continues. “We wanted to get the warmth of amber wood tones but felt by editing the use of wood, we created a more refined look that was still comfortable and casual.”
The kitchen has a sophisticated-rustic look with a friendly scale — not too big, not too small. “Every designer works differently,” explains Abbi. “I tend to focus on textures rather than colors, so to keep the ‘confident simplicity’ of the space, we painted the cabinets to match the wall color and trim, so it’s all one color.” Abbi chose to use the reclaimed oak for floors, island top, vent hood and ceiling beams, then went with darker reclaimed pine wood headers to give the space some depth and variation. “Since the kitchen isn’t an oversized space, we opted to bring all the cabinets down to the countertop to maximize storage,” she adds.
The terrace level has all the amenities of a fun resort and serves as an ideal place for Randy to entertain, watch football and spend time with his children and grandchildren. A bar area and fireplace is lined with Tennessee fieldstone for a striking architectural feature. Adjacent rooms are stocked with games, refreshments and everything needed for a day on the lake.
Exterior spaces were just as key to success as the interiors. Abbi added seating areas around the grill, the porch features rocking chairs and, of course, cozy chairs surround a fireplace to make sure visitors have plenty of places for relaxing. “Square footage is too precious to waste on duplicated spaces,” says Abbi. “Each area of a lake home should create a different experience to enjoy.”
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