Greg and Denise Cessna bought their 1,100-square-foot cabin on Lake Martin in Dadeville in 2003. In 2019, they began a major renovation and addition to the cabin. When their old foundation was destroyed in a storm, what could have been catastrophe became a blessing in disguise as the couple had to start the process from scratch. The Cessnas drew their plans on a napkin and hired Scoop Langston with Oak Leaf Development in Auburn to build the lake home of their dreams.
The character of the 4,750-square-foot home begins with the exterior color – Naval by Sherwin Williams with a white trim – a home color not often seen on the shores of Lake Martin and certainly one that makes an impressive statement. The navy theme continues throughout the home in textures, tiles and fabrics that create charming effects.
“Navy is my favorite color, so I knew the exterior would be blue and that the interior would have navy as the main accent color,” said Denise Cessna, a designer and accredited professional stager.
A large front porch welcomes visitors at the entry with luscious ferns and an herb garden. Just inside, the kitchen and vaulted dining and great room combine for a perfectly comfortable and full-time living space for the Cessnas. A raw-edge slab table with anchor legs was built by Greg, as well as other tables in the guest bedroom.
The kitchen countertops are a gray quartz. The expansive 5-feet-by-8-feet navy island, containing built-in shelves on one end for books and framed family photos, is topped in quartzite called Aqua Marine. Countertops throughout the house were installed by Amazon Stone of Palmetto, Georgia. The backsplash is a wavy, white subway tile with a dark grout.
“We have plenty of space in the kitchen now. We love to cook ribs and shrimp and grits. One of our family favorites is to have a competition pizza night. Everyone makes his own pizza, and the neighbors grade the pizzas on presentation and taste. We’ve had lobster pizza, chicken and gravy pizza and everything in between,” Cessna said.
Cabinet Works in Auburn created the custom cabinets for the kitchen, matching decorative arches in the glass doors of two armoires to arches in the cabinets. Throughout the main level, the hardwood floors are oak with a walnut finish.
The light fixtures in the kitchen and great room, found at Scott’s Antique Markets in Atlanta, combine wood, iron and rope for a nautical effect in three pendants over the island and two chandeliers over the dining table. Eight pendants on long ropes tied to a single bar hang from the vaulted ceiling in the living area. The ceiling is divided over the living room, creating higher space in the center for a row of windows that add more natural light. The furniture in the great room was found at Scott’s and Bassett Furniture. Cessna was careful to select performance fabrics for the sofas and chairs.
A hallway just off the kitchen allows space for a built-in desk area and a large laundry/pantry combination with floor-to-ceiling shelves and a second refrigerator. The gray tiled floor outlines patterned tile used in the center to mimic an area rug.
“I used tile from a fireplace in a home we had in Atlanta to make the ‘rug.’ Adding a big pantry was important. We never had enough room in the cabin for all the food we needed when everyone was here, and now we do,” she said.
The Cessnas new home boasts two guest rooms upstairs with a Jack-and-Jill bath between. In addition, one of those rooms also has a private bath, and there is a large full bath in the hallway. Navy accents are part of the décor in all three bathrooms. The hall bath vanity, built from reclaimed wood by Cabinet Works, makes an extraordinary statement piece.
The bedrooms are beautifully appointed with fabric headboards, white and cream linens, swirls of watercolor fabric, blue drapes and area rugs with blue design. Each room features special pieces – fish paintings and pillows, a table built by Denise’s father, a mirrored side table, even white sheets with a delicate, small, gray fish pattern.
Also upstairs, the master bedroom opens to the back deck and has fabulous lake views. A plush, gray and cream medallion comforter on the bed pairs well with a charcoal headboard and grays in the drapes and rug. Blue botanical prints over the bed complete the palette. The master bath has a double vanity with a dressing table built in and a glass shower. The floor has porcelain planks, measuring 36-inches-by-5-inches, with a woodgrain look laid in a herringbone pattern.
The upstairs covered porch can be accessed from the great room or the master bedroom. Teak furniture and a fireplace create a cozy place to enjoy the lake view and all outside activities.
Downstairs, the Cessnas have created a space for all things recreational. The main room has a sectional sofa centered on an 80-inch television, perfect for movies and games. A pool table and dart board provide hours of fun for the grown-ups, along with a bar area tucked into the back corner. A third guest room showcases a repurposed dresser painted a glossy navy with gold hardware and a white quilt with nautical blue stripes on the bed. A full bath is located in the hall just outside the door.
“Our family is very competitive. We enjoy competitive golf, corn hole and dominoes. The downstairs room and our backyard give us plenty of room to do what we love,” she said.
A barn door slides quietly closed to separate the rec room from the rest of the lower level. An area specifically for the grandchildren contains a trundle bed, covered in stuffed animals, and a children’s table and chairs. Nearby, an office with four leather recliners and bookcases provides a place to work with a lake view that is away from the main rooms of the house.
Both the rec room and the office open to the back porch and the lawn, stretching to the water and dock. The Cessnas leveled the ground and built their own five-hole putting green in the backyard. A sand box for the children is located just outside the rec room.
Beside the house on the lower level, a retaining wall formed the perfect space for Bryan Waits with The Backyard in Auburn to build an outdoor kitchen, furnished with a built-in gas grill and Big Green Egg. A bar with four stool,s plus additional tables and chairs, offers casual lakeside dining at its best. Waits also constructed a fire pit near the water. Landscaping for the home was executed by Creative Habitats.
The Cessnas’ new dock, built by Welcher Construction in Dadeville, has a covered boat slip and a 17-foot-by-8-foot sitting area, also under cover. An uncovered sundeck provides a great spot in the sun and a jumping-off place for swimmers. Cessna has decorated the covered dock with ample seating and two ceiling fans. Lanterns and lights hang from the roof, and fishing poles are in a rack waiting for the next angler.
“We are so relaxed living here. We love the water, even in the winter. Lake life is a different pace, and that’s what we love most,” Cessna said.
With a nod of appreciation to the previous owners, the Cessnas kept two hanging black caldrons filled with flowers, a bell and a porch swing on the new home site – simple reminders that generations before have enjoyed and generations to come will cherish memories made on Lake Martin.