A spectacular view from a perfect point at Lake Martin. When buyers find that prime combination, they purchase now and ask questions later. If the lot includes an existing house that needs work, experts determine if the bones are good and a renovation is in order or if the bones are bad and the house needs to be leveled for a new one to take its place.
In the case of two Lake Martin homeowners, the home on the lot they purchased had good bones, so the two-year 14-month renovation began in 2016.
The Montgomery firm of Tippett Sease Baker Architecture, with all three partners having previously been with Bobby McAlpine’s firm for more than 20 years, began working with the homeowners to determine what should be done. The firm’s initial assessment revealed two clear facts: The lot with sunrise and sunset views was perfect; and the bones of the approximately 40-year-old house were good. At that point, David Baker began crafting the renovation design by hand and putting together his team, which included builder Trent Calhoun and interior designer Susan Ferrier.
“Sometimes, in a remodel, the house just needs small components to make it better. Maybe we need to minimize the scale to make it more approachable. With this one, I knew there were few locations on Lake Martin that were better than this point. And since we believe that, with a lake home your best friend is the lake, that’s what we focused on,” Baker said.
The footprint of the home remained the same, but a new front entrance was added, as well as a new deck, extending the house toward the lake. Baker and Ferrier collaborated to create a sleek, modern home with a simple white and gray palette, drawing textures from the fabrics.
“The walls are muted – all painted in similar tones to expand the view through the windows, away from the architecture and to the water. No one in the home should be cheated a view of the lake,” Baker said.
From the new entry, anyone entering would be drawn forward toward the lake. The design purpose began to foster this idea using soothing, dark gray walls in the foyer and a wide hallway that leads to the heart of the home, an elegant living space surrounded by the lake. The home is divided into sections of personal and shared space, all easily accessible, yet private when preferred.
The main level of the house contains the kitchen and living room, both immaculately decorated in the white, gray and black palette for fabrics and walls. The kitchen cabinetry, custom designed with Poggenpohl, is complemented with marble countertops. The appliances are hidden within the cabinetry to create the feeling that the kitchen is simply an extension of the living space. The top of the large island features only a Wolf induction cooktop and a prep sink, leaving the rest of the island for prepping, serving and gathering. The island seats eight on stools and a hide-covered banquette. Behind the back kitchen wall, through concealed doors on each end, Baker added a walk-through butler’s pantry with a sink and storage space, allowing dishes and cooking utensils to be moved out of sight when entertaining.
“The living room is like the hood ornament, offering views of the lake on three sides. And, although there are three defined areas in the room, no one is removed from conversation. A seated group in one area of the room still allows guests to be witnesses to the whole,” Baker said.
Three walls of windows provide lake views from sunrise to sunset. Comfortable sofas and chairs, warm lighting and varied textures, along with a banquette and dining table, provide ample space for family and guests to relax and enjoy the spectacular views.
Each of the five bedrooms includes a lake view. The luxurious master suite on the top floor is the width of one section of the house, so its windows provide views of the lake from both sides of the room.
“This is truly a unique home where the lake can receive you on one side when you wake up; then, kiss you goodnight on the other. The master bedroom is truly gifted with its views of both east and west,” Baker said.
The master bed is located against a wall that is covered with a silver-gray hide. Tucked behind this wall is an office and private sitting area that add additional purpose to the private space. Simple furnishings, including two matching side tables under the windows, keep the bedroom balanced and give it a feeling of symmetry. The master bath area features a free-standing tub, large glass shower and marble countertops in keeping with the palette of the rest of the home.The teens’ rooms are on different levels of the house. Downstairs, a masculine bunkroom and bath are entered through a large sitting area with a sectional sofa, television and game table. All the furniture and linens continue the gray and white theme, with soft gray suede on the sofa, as well as white waffle coverlets on the beds. The space is both inviting and relaxing, the perfect place for gathering and play.
Upstairs at the front of the house, an opulent bedroom with two queen beds offers more feminine touches, including soft fabrics and rugs. A large bathroom area is furnished with a sphere-shaped iron chandelier, a double marble vanity, soaking tub and a separate room that houses a large shower and serves as the water closet.
“The sitting areas were designed to be teen-friendly but ready for adults when needed,” Baker said.
Two guest rooms are on the lower level and open to a covered patio leading to the pool. Both rooms have private baths and share a sitting area that adjoins them. The floors on this level are rice-colored Peacock pavers in random sizes.
Outside, the Peacock pavers continue in a uniform size on the patio and around the infinity pool, creating a seamless transition from inside to outside. The pool was designed with a custom color to match the color of the lake, creating the illusion that the pool water merges with the lake, although the edge of the pool is actually 25 feet from the water. Comfortable lounge chairs with white cushions shaded by white canvas umbrellas surround the pool and are matched by contoured loungers in the water on the pool sun shelf.
Ipe wood balconies and decks surround three sides of the home and include seating and dining areas, lounge and rocking chairs and an outdoor kitchen area with two grills.
“Lake Martin has something that most lakes do not have. It is truly a gift. A second home should be a respite from ordinary life, and this home does exactly that,” Baker said.