Atlanta couple Greg and JoAnn Koch found a perfect location on Lake Martin in 2005 when they purchased a condominium in the northwest area of the lake known as The Narrows. In 2015, they built a home in the same area but on a point with a spectacular big-water view. In fact, they lovingly call their home Kochs’ Point of View.
Cutting 25 feet down into a hillside, the Kochs made the most of the steep landscape with the Riverside home design by architect Mitch Ginn; then, they added a few of their own tweaks to the plans. The exterior of the 3,200-square-foot home is finished in gray stone and Hardi-plank that is painted Fairview Taupe from Benjamin Moore. The interior walls are shiplap with tongue-and-groove ceilings throughout. Both Kochs credit Melanie Wilkes at Russell Home Décor with great assistance throughout the selection process.
Outside, the Kochs built a double boathouse for two boats and personal watercrafts. Large porches on the main and downstairs lake side of the home provide additional space to enjoy that big-water view. The terrace level includes three bedrooms and baths, plus a rec room with a custom bar. The comfortable main floor with kitchen, living room and master is only rivaled by a covered porch measuring 50 feet by 16 feet, which takes outdoor living at the lake to a new level.
“The porch was our biggest change to the original plans. We pushed it out to double the size and added the vaulted roof. We knew we would spend most of our time there. The view is just beautiful,” Greg Koch said.
The couple added a stone fireplace with a high hearth to the porch, along with a reclaimed wood mantel and a built-in grill, which Koch constructed with his daughter, Grace, who was 11 years old at the time. A mason completed the process by adding a granite countertop and enclosing the grill with stone to make it a permanent feature in the space, perfect for entertaining. Comfortable furniture from Pottery Barn includes a large sofa and four chairs.
“Besides naming our house, we also named parts of the house. We call the porch The Refuge. I love it when the kids are here, and we can all gather there. I love the high windows and that we have a beautiful sunrise,” JoAnn said.
Antique beams reclaimed from a building in Selma, Alabama, define the large opening between the living room and kitchen. Original nails and hollowed spaces have been left untouched in the beams.
“We worked with Clay Klinner at Evolutia in Birmingham to find the reclaimed wood beams and mantels. He was really great in helping us get the right pieces, especially since we were out of town,” Koch said.
The red oak floors upstairs are stained with a mixture of three-fourths ebony and one-fourth Jacobean for a modern, sophisticated look. Because the house is on a point, the large living area faces southeast to greet the breathtaking sunrise, and the opposite side welcomes a beautiful sunset at the end of each day.
Large nailhead-trimmed club chairs and a leather sofa create a restful retreat near the stone fireplace and reclaimed wood mantel. Artwork by Finny Moore, a Georgia artist and JoAnn’s sister, adds pops of color among the neutral furnishings and creamy shiplap walls. The ceiling is pickled, better reflecting natural light into the room. Large iron chandeliers from Restoration Hardware light the room and stairwell.
The kitchen features Jenn-Air appliances and Fantasy Brown granite countertops. Cabinets from Wellborn Forest are painted Arctic white, and the large island is stained. Pendant light fixtures hang above the island, which is equipped with four bar stools. A dining table, custom-made to match the ceiling, and six upholstered chairs complete the room.
To the back of the kitchen, the pantry and laundry room are conveniently situated near the back door and a covered flagstone walkway that leads to the garage.
The master bedroom on the main level enjoys an amazing lake view through large windows; plus, a private side porch off the main covered area provides easy access to taking in that view from two chaise lounge chairs. Two gray and yellow patterned, modern chairs add a colorful element to the neutral fabrics in the linens and Roman shades that were custom made by A Stitch Above in Alexander City.
“We call the master bedroom Big Sky. I had the walls and the ceiling stained with a color called Driftwood from Russell Home Décor. With the ceiling shape, it made sense to take the color from the walls all the way up,” said JoAnn.
The master bath entrance boasts a set of barn doors that accent a large chandelier hanging from the beam in the bedroom. The barn door was built by the couple’s son, Christopher, and his wife, Tori. Another chandelier hangs in the center of the bath, featuring a soaker tub, shower and double vanity. The couple moved a unit of cubbies from another home for their large master closet and cleverly painted them to appear as if they were built in.
At the terrace level – or Moonlight Basin, as the Kochs have dubbed the space – they pushed the foundation wall back to add more room upstairs for the entry and downstairs for a bar area. Koch designed and selected the materials – reclaimed wood, glass shelves and a mirrored wall behind it. Shiplap walls painted a Titanium color and pickled shiplap ceilings keep the space airy and bright.
Porcelain tile protects the floors leading straight onto the patio and backyard, which extends to the water just a few feet away. The couple chose a water-repellent jute rug for the room, perfect for the feet of children and dogs constantly coming in from and going out to the lake. All of the doors open across the back of the rec room to the patio where comfortable seating and a shady spot are available for guests returning from lake excursions.
Three bedrooms with baths give guests their own hideaways at the lake level. One bedroom features two sets of built-in bunk beds. Koch built the ladder and rails with industrial plumbing pipes, adding a unique custom look. Also, the bunkroom has the same Driftwood stain from Russell Décor on both the walls and ceiling as the master bedroom.
Both of the other bedrooms are on the lake side of the house and offer exquisite views. They are furnished with many pieces from Holley’s Home Furnishings in Alexander City. One bedroom has become JoAnn’s mother’s room when she visits, and it even includes a toddler bed for her mother’s great-grandchild to share the room. The other bedroom – the one all the kids want when they visit – seems tucked away on the opposite side of the rec room and features a beautiful view of the lake through the porch.
One of the couple’s greatest pleasures at the house is sitting at the boathouse at night when the dock is lit up with a custom four-light fish-attraction system designed and built by Lake Martin’s very own Ronnie Dennis, founder of Green Monster Fish Lights. His sons love to fish into the wee hours in what Koch calls his aquarium, where they catch largemouth bass, crappie and stripers.
Whether it’s just the Kochs or a houseful of friends and family, the couple has found that coming from Georgia to their Lake Martin home every weekend has become a routine that offers great stress relief.
“Our house on the lake is our serenity – our little piece of heaven,” JoAnn said.