Diamond View home at The Ridge showcases a spectacular view of Lake Martin

Ridge home designer Larry Furlong took a gamble with his latest building plan, the Diamond View house at the South Ridge Harbor area at Russell Lands’ The Ridge. By utilizing the terrain and showcasing the sunset views of Kowaliga Bay on Lake Martin, Furlong designed a lake home that dazzles.

Taking notice of recent building trends and customer requests, Russell Lands On Lake Martin envisioned a design that included larger living spaces at the lake.

“Knowing what people wanted to have in a lake house and what comes with lake living, this design showcases that in the best possible light. I appreciate Larry’s courage to propose this layout,” said Steve Arnberg, vice president of real estate for Russell Lands.

This four-bedroom, six-bathroom diamond-shaped layout emphasizes the lavish lake views in which the sun sparkles on the water. While the plan was tweaked and implemented for the specific lot, it could be adapted to fit other areas of The Ridge as well, said Arnberg.

Upon stepping through the front entry, the wide-open lake view is the clear focal point and the design’s best attribute. Builder Chad Calhoun with Classic Homes worked with Furlong to polish up the original plan to fit the South Ridge lot.

Furlong decided to angle the house so two window walls would come to a point, expanding the vista from a straight-on view to a panoramic one. The addition of deep 12- to 14-foot porches offers outdoor living with sunset views, said Furlong.

The ultimate goal was to regulate the afternoon heat that might be absorbed through the 35 feet of glass windows on the lakeside walls.

“Most of my inspiration comes from going to the lot and studying the views and how the sun goes across the sky,” said Furlong. “I looked down across the water and realized, with the big, sweeping views from side to side, that I didn’t want to have the view limited to one window wall.”

The design maintains the traditional components of many houses at The Ridge with horizontal wood walls, ceilings and floors, neutral colored finishes, a stone fireplace and warm tones, explained Emily McDaniel, Realtor for Russell Lands.

“The main focus is still about bringing nature inside the house,” said McDaniel.

Nan Jackson, interior designer and owner of Interiors Etc. by Nan, said she used specific finishes that reflect that natural feel of lake living. Jackson chose tiles that replicate the water for the bathroom, along with the shiny kitchen backsplash. She also incorporated a variety of woods throughout the home.

“The things we chose hopefully represent lake living. We normally go with light colors because you don’t want a dark lake home, but I tried to choose things that I’ve never done before in a design,” said Jackson.

Using locally made pieces as often as possible, Jackson incorporated furniture from Johnson Furniture, artwork by Alexander City artist Catie Radney and artwork from Design Supply out of Birmingham.

Steering away some from the classic craftsman feel, Jackson said the Diamond View is a very welcoming home that appeals to the majority. The coffered ceilings add a cozier vibe to the spacious main floor.

“The rest of the house is cozy, and I love the pops of color throughout the den. You don’t have to go crazy with a budget if you have some really individual pieces,” said Jackson.

She emphasized this through accents, such as pillows, along with custom light fixtures, which Jackson said are vital to the design of a home. Mixed material fixtures throughout the house add a hint of the unique but aren’t considered too crazy, she said. The geometric copper chandelier hanging over the kitchen table, along with the copper sconce on the wall, were both hand-made to fit this home.

The stately kitchen island featuring stained wood complements the cabinets and kitchen décor, as it creates a place for family and friends to gather.

With nearly 3,700 square feet of living space; an open living room, kitchen and dining area; and plenty of lake storage, this house would be suitable for a large family or multiple generations to stay and visit, said McDaniel.

Arnberg said, “We think it’s the kind of home people will buy and enjoy for many years. It’s a legacy buy that will stay in the family and be passed down.”

Furlong wanted to ensure there were obvious separate areas on the main floor while still keeping it as open and spacious as possible.

“The open living space is huge, and it’s easy to entertain. Everyone can stay together with the crowd, even in the kitchen. It’s really built to suit either full-time or part-time residents because of the vast storage and large closet sizes,” said McDaniel.

Due to the shape and orientation of the house, lake storage space offers more than enough room to store the necessary floats, tubes, kayaks, outdoor furniture and wake, surf and paddle boards needed for a home on Lake Martin.

“This is a very generous space. A lot of first-time lake home buyers don’t realize how much lake storage they’ll really need,” said McDaniel.

Two bedrooms on the master level, with an oversized master suite that accesses the main level porch, offer spacious privacy. The porch wraps around to cover both sides of the view, mimicking the glass windows, and a screened-in porch is located on the lake level as well.

The two generous bedrooms on the lake level branch off from a second open living space for game playing, a kids’ area or a comfortable sitting area for game day. With a wet bar and access to the lower-level porch, this area can easily be transformed to meet a family’s year-round needs.

“Even in the basement level, we wanted to take advantage of the view with a lot of glass to capture the scenery. This is probably the largest amount of windows we’ve put in a house in a long time,” said Furlong.

Jackson decided to pop up the team rivalry with a contrasting University of Alabama and Auburn University theme, using handmade pillows designed in New Jersey and commissioning artwork: a black-and-white painting of an elephant facing a black-and-white painting of a tiger.

“I just thought this was a neat idea because of the territory. For the open house, I even had red and orange tulips, along with red and orange jelly beans,” said Jackson.

The open house on Valentine’s Day weekend unveiled the design to the public, and with nearly 300 people touring the upstairs, downstairs and outdoor areas, McDaniel was amazed at how spacious and versatile the home is for entertaining.

Furlong mentioned the traffic flow of the house was designed to accommodate just that kind of entertaining, with access to the porch from either side of both the main and lake levels.

“The number one challenge of the lot was access to the area where we would build. It caused us to place the house in a very specific area,” said Furlong.

This was done by placing the home’s footprint below the road, and architect Furlong said Calhoun masterfully managed the driveway grading to ensure proper drainage. An arrangement of stones at the base of the house look natural but divert the runoff into attractive patterns, said Furlong.

The position of the lot brings the 149-foot shoreline closer to the house while the landscape gently slopes to the water with terraced interest on one side, leaving yard space for kids and pets, and the stacked stone boulder seawall provides attractive protection from wave action, said McDaniel.

“With this view, you will definitely be able to easily watch the fireworks from this porch,” she added.

The collaboration of each team that had a hand in the creation of the Diamond View was instrumental in bringing its unique vision to life.

“It takes a team. Every house we do, we make it a little different and a little bit special. We want to have individualized homes and stay on top of what’s good,” said Jackson.