Below includes original editorial content from Country Living.
According to Country Living Style Director Page Mullins, there’s only one nonnegotiable rule of lake house design: Don’t block the view. And that’s certainly understandable when you set foot on the waterfront property of the Country Living Lake House of the Year, a collaboration with Nashville architect Jonathan Torode (Pfeffer Torode Architecture), builder Chad Calhoun (Classic Homes), and Russell Lands On Lake Martin, a high-end real estate developer on this Alabama lake, just two hours from Birmingham, and roughly 2.5 from Atlanta.
“The design is less about being ‘timeless’ and more about creating a place where people lose track of time,” says Jonathan. And because some Russell Lands residents choose to live on Lake Martin year-round, Page fought the urge to “lake it up” indoors and instead designed a space that counterbalances more rustic elements (wood beams, a stone fireplace) with effortlessly elegant furniture, finishes, and fixtures. Or, in happy hour-at-the-lake speak: the “sauvignon blanc” equivalent of a lake house as opposed to the “six-pack” interpretation. Still, thanks to durable materials (nubby linens, performance velvets, sisal and rag rugs), nothing feels particularly precious or too formal. Here’s how the Country Living team, with the help of our partners, brought a dream lake house to life.
The ample living space accommodates larger groups (hello, holidays at the lake!), but to make it feel more intimate year-round, Page carved out four distinct spaces for dining, reading, lounging, and card-playing. In keeping with the don’t-block-the-view mantra, the room’s sole overhead light fixture, an artisan-crafted Lowcountry Originals piece inspired by gas lanterns, hangs street-side.
Lake Martin’s heavily wooded landscape inspired the home’s overall design, as well as the interior finishes, such as tongue-and-groove pine walls, the cedar ceiling, and the stained, pecky cypress kitchen island. “We’re primarily surrounded by plaster and Sheetrock in our day-to-day lives,” says Jonathan. “Walking into a cabin that’s wood inside and out removes us from that everyday and shifts us into a relaxed mind-set.”
In addition to the assorted wood finishes, reinforced by the barstools and an antique trestle table, a broad range of finishes sets a relaxed, not-matchy tone. Copper lighting blends well with stainless appliances, polished chrome faucets, quartz countertops (London Grey by Caesarstone), and the Pearl Ash subway tile in the kitchen and pantry.
In the upstairs landing, an antique green cabinet stays stocked with board games and quilts—the latter of which provides a perfect spot to sit an take in Lake Martin’s Fourth of July boat parade, which features thousands of decked-out boats and the largest fireworks show in the Southeast.
As we move along, take a virtual tour through this lake homes beautiful bedrooms and bathrooms.
Page embraced an interior palette that downplays the delineation between the indoors and out: Blues, greens, and browns, as seen on the bedding and the Sleep Number Flax Boucle bed and i8 mattress set in the master bedroom, keep the scene serene.
Throughout the home, jute window treatments from Smith & Noble (Belize Sand downstairs; Fiji in Mist upstairs) offer privacy and texture without blocked coveted sunlight, while floral linen panels (“Wild Thing” in the cobalt/copper colorway by Carleton V) add a feminine touch to the master bedroom and pair well with two handsome antiqued striped wingbacks.
The master bathroom has a spa-like feel thanks to ample neutral light, quartz countertops (Shitake by Caesarstone), and printed porcelain tile arranged in a classic pattern around the oversize bathtub.
Neutrals inspired by nature—including the earthy coverlet fabric paired with a Sleep Number Upholstered headboard in Stone Linen and p5 mattress set—continue in the guest room. An antique demijohn repurposed into a lamp base adds a nice tough of “crust” to an otherwise buttoned-up space.
In the kids’ bedroom, a vintage desk is a convenient nightstand-desk in one, and indigo shades feature a globe pattern strike a youthful note but could easily transition to an office space or more grown-up guest room down the road.
Page primarily used sisal and oushak rugs downstairs and turned to durable rag rugs on the second floor (Neddick in the game room; Kittery in the twin bedroom). An indoor/outdoor recycled sail pouf in a cozy playroom offers an equally durable spot to plop down. (If sailcloth can handle the sea, it can handle damp swim trunks!) A modern-rustic console displays the television while storing odds and ends, like vintage globes and a healthy National Geographic collection.
For more home design inspiration, visit our Home Decor section of the blog.
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