Point of View

Finding everything desired in a home isn’t always easy. But when Kristin and Bill Ritter came across this five bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom retreat in South Ridge Harbor at The Ridge, a Russell Lands community on Lake Martin, they quickly realized that it checked all of the required boxes. For her: incredible lake views and plenty of space to host the entire family. For him: spacious outdoor living areas that keep the focus on the lake.

ABOVE Bedroom palettes are easy on the eyes, and furnishings throughout the house are casual—just what the lake calls for.


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The almost 4, 000-square-foot home was designed for relaxed weekends with family and friends. That’s partly because it was built by Newcastle Construction’s Glenn Siddle, who has enjoyed his own lake retreat in the same community for the past 16 years. His unique perspective of being homeowner and homebuilder meant he was well versed in creating an inviting and functional home that also blended well with the natural landscape. Numerous elements were specifically used to unite the new home with its surroundings, from the dark green color of the siding to the stone columns to the cedar woodwork, railings, and porch ceilings. “You don’t want the home to look obviously brand new in a natural setting, ” Glenn says. “My goal was to work it into the site to make it seem as if it had been there for years.”

To maximize the lake views and outdoor living space, Glenn worked with designer David Smelcer—who has been drawing up Glenn’s designs for 15-plus years—to make the footprint wide, rather than deep, which meant more windows looking out at the lake and larger porches. In fact, the two-level home includes two spacious covered porches with an oversized swing, a grilling area, and even a nearby fire pit. “I always want to emphasize outdoor living, and this house is a prime example of that, ” Glenn says. “From the moment you walk in the front door, you are looking right out at the porch and on to the lake.”

Glenn and David incorporated some of the same natural elements inside to make sure the interiors lived up to the standard set by the exterior. They replicated the rough-cut cedar beams and repeated the same rock used on the exterior framing for the living room fireplace. A highlight of the home is the poplar walls and ceilings. Glenn and interior designer Nan Jackson chose not to stain the wood and instead opted for a semi-transparent paint that would show off the wood grain. To complement the wooden walls, they kept the trim color and bedroom walls simple with Sherwin-Williams’ Snowbound, a soft white. Keeping the lake setting in mind, Nan turned to Seibels in Homewood for nature-themed interior accents. “Everything is lake-friendly while also having a comfortable elegance, ” Nan says. “The home is gorgeous but doesn’t overpower the incredible view outside.”

ABOVE Before putting pen to paper, Glenn Siddle and David Smelcer paid special attention to the topography of the lot, settling the home in among the trees so that it would be secluded instead of completely exposed to lake traffic. 

Why We Love It

OPEN SPACES A lake home has to be able to accommodate numerous—and sometimes unexpected—guests, so residential designer David Smelcer built in specific aspects to make it guest-friendly. He cut down space in less important second-home spots like bathrooms and closets and opted to put more space in the main living areas. A bunk bed downstairs provides an extra sleeping option.

WEEKEND READY When it comes to second homes, it’s important to make more time for fun and less time for work. This plan offers a lake-prep room—an entire space dedicated to storing accessories like inflated tubes and floats, life jackets, and skis. Homeowners can walk in, grab what they need, and go.

THE VIEWS The house was designed to take in lake views from most every room. To make sure nothing obstructed those views, interior designer Nan Jackson kept the seating low. She also incorporated swivel chairs in the main living areas to make lake viewing easier.

OUTDOOR LIVING With two porches, there is front row seating for boat watching, a shaded spot for grilling, comfortable lounges for reading, and an oversized swing for an afternoon nap. Nan also created multiple conversation areas with different types of materials including wicker and teak. “A common misconception is you can’t mix your outdoor furniture, ” she says. “To really make a home feel unique, don’t go with just one grouping.”

AMPLE AMENITIES While it has the feeling of a rustic cabin in the woods, the home is anything but remote. Nestled within the gated community are countless amenities—marinas, pools, trails, a restaurant, a market, and more—most within walking distance.

ABOVE To balance the soft poplar walls in the main living space, Glenn introduced color with the kitchen cabinets. The open layout and large island make entertaining easy.

ABOVE “I love color; it’s fun to pop it into a room in different ways, ” says Nan. In a guest bedroom, she went with bold blue bedding and a blue rug to pop against white walls.

ABOVE The oversized porch swing was custom-made by Seibels. Nan topped it with washable cushions and pillows in shades of blues and green that hint at the surrounding elements. 

“They did a great job of nestling the house into the trees and using the environment to make it feel like it’s a part of nature. The house seems so secluded yet is convenient to everything.” –Homeowner Kristin Ritter

Russell Lands

Russell Lands on Lake Martin encompasses approximately 25, 000 acres. This master-planned community includes 14 individual neighborhoods, including The Ridge, Willow Point, Trillium, and Willow Glynn. Each neighborhood boasts an incredible number of amenities. For example, The Ridge neighborhood features the country’s largest lakeside marina, a 10, 000-square-foot clubhouse, two-tier pool, tennis courts, and a fitness center. 

Russell Crossroads, conveniently located in the middle of the neighborhoods, serves as the town center and is where the community gathers for events. Russell Lands frequently hosts everything from live music to wine tastings to yoga classes. Here you’ll find Catherine’s Market, the spot to purchase everything from locally-grown produce to gourmet goods. Or, opt for a night out at Russell Crossroads SpringHouse restaurant, which features the menu of executive chef Rob McDaniel, a James Beard Foundation Best Chef South semifinalist.


Builder: Newcastle Construction, Inc. • 205.326.7406 newcastle-homes.com Residential designer: David Smelcer Design • 205.229.3835 davidsmelcerdesign.com Interiors: Interiors Etc. By Nan • 770.664.5124 [email protected] Furniture and accessories: Seibels • 205.879.3558 Paint: Sherwin-Williams • sherwin-williams.com Countertops: Turkish Carrara Marble Backsplash: Lucente stone/glass mix (Ambrato Linear) • countertops: Ornamental Verona Granite Hardwood floors: Shaw’s Leesburg Cinnamon Wall stain: Pickled Poplar by Sherwin-Williams interior and exterior Light fixtures: Mayer Electric • 205.583.3500 mayerelectric.com

text by Paige Townley • styling by Melanie Grant • photos by Jean Allsopp

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