Second homes can feel themey—fast. But not Cindy and Ken Rhoden’s. You won’t find campy plaids, canoe paddles, or any other played-out design tropes at the couple’s Lake Martin getaway. Yet the 2,500-square-foot home feels anything but out of place. Located in a Russell Lands community, its woodsy lot inspired the design decisions both inside and out. “I never really wanted a lake house until this spot came along,” says Cindy. “This property has everything you desire in a place by the water. It’s shaded, quiet, and has an ‘old lake’ feel. Still, it’s a quick drive to Catherine’s Market (the grocery at Russell Crossroads, the hub of the lake community), and that was a game changer for me. I’m not someone who can buy groceries for an entire week at the lake!”
The prized location came with a unique arrangement—a shallow lot and ample water frontage that made designing a home tricky. To create their lake escape, the Rhodens teamed up with architect Alex Krumdieck of Birmingham’s Krumdieck A + I Design. After closely studying the terrain, Alex developed a modest footprint and striking, steep-pitched roof scheme. “The roof planes mimic the canopies of the trees and really nestle the house down to the ground,” he says. Along those same lines, he encouraged the Rhodens to try an unusual color on the exterior—all black. “The dark color lets the house all but disappear among the trees,” he says. “From the water, it’s a satisfyingly, seamless look.”
Inside, Cindy took the décor in an equally natural, albeit brighter, direction. “I lean towards modern, clean interiors,” she says. “I wanted the house to reflect that but also spotlight the beautiful scenery.” To walk that fine line, she opted for creamy white walls (White Dove by Benjamin Moore) that wonderfully complement, rather than compete, with the floor-to-ceiling windows and the waterscape beyond. The white oak floors also add to the home’s organic feel. Rather than a traditional stain and polyurethane sealant, Cindy employed an eco-friendly oil coating (Rubio Monocoat) that seeps into the wood for a soft, feather-like finish. “They are heavenly to walk on,” she says.
While the home’s interior reads neutral, it’s anything but boring. Cedar beams and vintage-inspired lighting add a bit of nostlagia. Furnishings feature a number of antique and vintage items that have some sit-and-stay-awhile appeal. An avid art collector, Cindy further enlivened the white rooms with pieces full of color and texture. “I don’t have grandchildren—yet. But I filled this house with artwork that I love in hopes it will be imprinted in the memories of the children who will one day spend time here,” she says.
With the project complete, the Rhodens have just what they set out to achieve—a happy place to unwind with family and friends that is equal parts cabin and house. Indeed, the Rhodens find themselves relaxing the very moment they turn into the long red-dirt drive.
A Good Plan
Architect Alex Krumdieck shares smart strategies for making the most of lake views and creating an ideal, laid-back atmosphere.
Prioritize the porch.
“We took advantage of the home’s close proximity to the water with a screened porch that runs almost the entire length of the lakeside of the home. The result is a continuous connection between the house and the water.”
Keep it casual.
“The Rhodens didn’t want any formalities at the lake. As a result, we went with a streamlined, open floor plan where the kitchen, dining room, living room, and porch work as a singular space.”
Make guests at home.
“This isn’t a terribly large house, but it is an incredibly efficient one that was designed with guests in mind. Each of the four bedrooms has its own ensuite bath, giving company a boutique hotel experience.”
Architect: Krumdieck A + I Design, 205.324.9669, krumdieck.com Builder: Chad Calhoun, Classic Homes, 256.397.1003 or 256.675.6011 Tile and stone: Triton Stone Group, 205.592.0202, tritonstone.com Tile and stone installation: Alabama Stone Works, alabamastoneworks.com Security/surround system: AVX, 205.871.7289, avxinc.com Various pieces: Eneby Home, Nashville, enebyhome.com Dining area chandelier: Workstead, workstead.com