Travel: Vacation homes look out

Lake home style can enhance the serene environment while maintaining functionality for friends and family.

  • Aug. 5, 2012 8:00 p.m.
When you’re paying for the view

When you’re paying for the view

Lori Johnston, contributor

When you’re paying for the view, a vacation home doesn’t need to have fussy decor or over-the-top interiors that distract from the setting.

“That’s the reason why they’re buying the house,” said Alicia Mooney-Macchia, owner of Alicia Mooney Interiors, an interior designer at Lake Oconee, Ga. “What you want to do is walk in the house and look straight back at the view.”

Clean lines, linen fabrics and neutral colours are what’s in, she said.

Still, vacation homes don’t have to be shabby or suffer from the bare-bones look of a college apartment. Lake home style can enhance the serene environment while maintaining functionality for friends and family.

“The layouts are more efficient and effective,” said Dan Jones, owner of Jones and Jones Premier Builders and president of the Lake Oconee Builders Association. “There’s not as much wasted square footage. Openness is a continuing trend.”

Carol Morrison, who owns a vacation home with husband Ken on the 10th hole of the Harbor Club golf course at Lake Oconee, said they used minimal window treatments to keep the house open and see the view.

The desire for openness even extends to decisions about placing stair rails so they don’t obstruct the view. Dennis Chamberlain, owner of Stair South, based in Eatonton, Ga., said his company situates iron rails horizontally (where allowed by local building codes), instead of vertically, both inside and outside the home. “If you’re sitting on your porch and looking onto the lake…you can look horizontally and see more,” he said.

Builders, interior designers and homeowners shared other ways to decorate vacation homes with the scenery in mind:

Using nautical decor

Keep it simple. Mooney-Macchia advises accessorizing with nautical items, such as old oars or glass fishing floats and buoys. Or a throw pillow could have a water motif.

Space for guests

Requests for bunk-bed rooms are rising, especially as grandparents seek to accommodate multiple grandchildren during weekends and summers.

“One of the neat things we’ve done is bunk rooms,” Jones said. The main thing to consider is ceiling height—at least nine feet is optimal.

Stair South recently was installing bunk beds out of solid ash in Bert and Trudy Hene’s home at Harbor Club. The downstairs room will have seven beds. The couple first owned a three-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath condo at Lake Oconee, but last year they moved into a five-bedroom, 4 1/2 bath home.

“We have three children and we outgrew the condo. We have five grandchildren now,” said Trudy. “We just knew that we wanted something bigger, that if all the kids came, and grandkids, we would have enough room for everybody.”

Going big

While much of the time is spent outdoors, homeowners are placing a greater emphasis on creating large spaces for themselves and their guests to eat indoors.

Chamberlain is seeing an increase in requests for massive tables that seat 12 to 16 people.

The Henes have a custom 12-foot table at their lake home.

“We had it made to look like a picnic table, but it’s real heavy wood,” Trudy said.

Lori Johnston is a Capital News contributor.

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