Life is Better at the Lake

Nestled in nature with Lake Martin as its backyard, this getaway has quickly become a family’s favorite gathering spot.

The home is positioned to take full advantage of the lot’s incredible lake views, but it’s also strategically sited to complement the natural surroundings. To further embrace the setting, designer Lisa Flake chose an exterior color palette of greens and grays. The porch offers a front row seat to enjoy a Lake Martin sunset. Outdoor furniture from Summer Classics adds comfort and style. Photo by Justin Clayton

Sunrise, sunburn, sunset, repeat. Just like the words in the Luke Bryan song, the pace of life slows into an easy rhythm at the lake. Mornings involve leisurely sipping coffee from the comfort of the porch, afternoons are all about enjoying life on the water, and evenings are reserved for gathering together with family to watch the sunset. Those activities make up the allure of life at Russell Lands On Lake Martin and are the things that attracted this Birmingham-based family when they were looking for a getaway spot. “There was really no thought of going anywhere else,” says the homeowner. “I’ve been coming here my whole life.” In addition, all of the amenities offered at this master-planned community—dining, retail, and a plethora of recreational options—only helped to confirm that this was the perfect location. The real decision was finding just the right house to make into their retreat.

While looking at options, the homeowners came across a particularly pleasing property at Russell Cabins at The Ridge. “We originally didn’t intend to build, but the lot was too good to pass up,” the homeowner says. “It was flat and wooded with plenty of waterfront views—exactly what we had in mind for the perfect lake home.”

To kick off the homebuilding project, the owners selected a floorplan—the neighborhood features 11 distinctly different designs—and began working with Classic Homes, a Russell Lands builder, to tweak the plan to suit their needs. The collaboration resulted in more square footage, including adding two bedrooms upstairs and enlarging the home’s porches. Classic Homes also helped position the home to take advantage of the views. “We wanted the house to feel like it was meant to be there, not just an afterthought,” says Chad Calhoun of Classic Homes. “This plan fit the lot so well. We just turned it a bit to optimize the water views.”

The open-concept floorplan features an expansive kitchen. With each detail in the space, Lisa seamlessly mixed various textures and materials to create just the right balance of rustic and refined. Dark walnut floors contrast a lighter ceiling and painted cabinets (Mindful Gray by Sherwin-Williams). Shiplap walls, painted in Calm by Benjamin Moore, add texture. “The kitchen is not too casual or masculine, but it’s also not too polished or feminine,” Lisa says.

With the floorplan complete, the homeowners turned to Lisa Flake for interior assistance. Having worked with the designer before, the homeowners knew she could create an aesthetic that blended both of their styles—hers more refined with a flair for French and his more rustic—while also keeping it comfortable and easy to maintain. Lisa did just that by keeping the color palette neutral with shades of grays, blues, and greens to mimic the natural views outside. Throughout the entire space, the designer employed light and dark stained wood in the ceilings, beams, and pine floors. In the kitchen, she juxtaposed the wood with unlacquered brass faucets and fixtures, handmade subway tile, and quartz waterfall countertops.

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One of the most dramatic features of the home is the Oneonta stacked-stone fireplace in the living room. Lisa offset the rustic structure with a French-inspired chandelier. She then continued the home’s wooden details by opting for shiplap in every room but painted it white to keep the spaces from feeling too cabin-like. “Lighter walls let the stained wood details really pop,” says the designer. “It also allowed us to bring in some darker furniture without making the space feel heavy.”

To keep the interiors comfortable, Lisa layered in various textures, such as the Oushak rugs in the entry and dining room and the jute rugs in the bedrooms and living room. “It’s not too casual, but it’s also not formal,” says the homeowner. “It’s the right balance for a lakeside getaway.”

The entryway combines rustic elements, such as the framed crane print from Summer Classics and the shell accents, with more refined pieces, like the French wooden chest and Oushak rug, to create the effortless elegance of the home’s design.
The focal point of the living room is the Oneonta stacked-stone fireplace that features a custom wooden mantel from Evolutia.

Living at the Lake: A Design That Works

Wide-Open Spaces. The open concept of the main floor creates an easy, uninterrupted flow for gatherings both big and small.

Serious Sight Lines. All main living areas—including the bedrooms—feature incredible water views. The main level rooms are also connected to porches for easy access to the outdoors.

Living Large. The size of the main porch was expanded to ensure plenty of space for outdoor entertaining. There are also a variety of porches around the home, both screened and open, so everyone can pick their favorite spot.

Hidden Storage. While the house offers plenty of storage space for all of the needed lake items—life jackets, fishing gear, water toys, etc.—the spaces are tucked away so as not to be completely visible. They do, however, offer easy access for daily use.

The powder bath highlights Lisa’s mixed use of materials. The wooden sunburst mirror, floating wooden tabletop, and concrete bowl are juxtaposed by the unlacquered brass faucet and gold sconce. “I love the combination of various woods with gold,” Lisa says. “That’s really the theme of the whole house.”
“Framing small works of art in large frames takes up more wall space so you get more bang for the buck,” Lisa says about the frames on the stair wall. A painting by Arthur Price (Gallery 1930) reflects the colors of the lake and landscape.

The Designer Difference: Lake House Must-Haves

It doesn’t get much better than a weekend at the lake. But there are a few fundamental items that can take that lake weekend from fun to full-on fantastic. Here are some lake house essentials from designer Lisa Flake.

A sizable sofa. The living room should include a comfortable sofa—preferably
a sectional—for the whole family
to gather together to watch movies, play games, or simply hang out. “Be sure to have plenty of great throws too,” says Lisa.

Stereo system. Turn up the fun with a great stereo system. Make the vibe even better by compiling a playlist everyone will enjoy. “A portable stereo system is also a must so you can keep the music going outside,” Lisa says.

Fire pit. Chilly fall evenings beckon for a fire pit. “My family loves to roast s’mores over the fire pit while singing along to our favorite songs,” Lisa says.

Personalized items. Every lake house needs a name. Lisa says a fun yet functional way to incorporate the name is with personalized cups for family and friends to use. “Our lake house is named ‘On the Rocks,’ so it’s really fitting for personalized cups” Lisa says.

Lisa kept the master bedroom light and airy with a white-and-gray color scheme. Soft blush hues in the chair pillow (Stock & Trade) and rug provide just the right amount of contrast against the neutral backdrop.
The bunk room was a late addition during construction, but it has become a favorite of the couple’s teenage daughters. Lisa continued the home’s gray-and-white palette throughout the room, but she added some pops of color with pillows and vases from Domicile in Homewood and an Oushak rug from King’s House Oriental Rugs. To accommodate all ages, the homeowners opted for four side-by-side built-in beds instead of traditional two-level bunks.

Designer: Lisa Flake, Caldwell Flake Interiors, Builder: Classic Homes, Russell Lands On Lake Martin, Kitchen backsplash and Silestone quartz countertops: Russell Home Décor, Marble cutting board: A’mano, Wooden cutting board and bar glasses: Table Matters, Mantel and coffee table: Evolutia, Lighting: Hiltz-Lauber, Art behind bar, pillows in den: Argent, 205.871.4221 Bedding: Three Sheets, Dining room rug: LillieKat Rugs, Kitchen and master rugs: 18th Street Orientals, Powder bath sink, master bedroom chairs and pillows: Stock & Trade, Powder bath faucets: Fixtures & Finishes, 205.323.5616 Master bed: Serena & Lily,

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