Tour a Supersized Vacation Home With Lakefront Views

Carter Kay Interiors transformed an almost 10,000-square-foot lakefront home in Georgia into a warm and cozy family retreat. Take a tour and learn some tricks of the trade for making oversized rooms and soaring ceilings feel inviting and intimate.

July 13, 2020

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Photo By: Emily Followill

Lakeside Retreat

Most homeowners have a specific vision or special request when redesigning interiors, but not so for this sprawling vacation house on Lake Burton near Clayton, Georgia. Instead, the owners presented Carter Kay Interiors with a designer's dream statement: "Surprise us," they said.

Carter Kay and her team accepted this bold proposal, which meant tackling unique design challenges in the 9,600-square-foot home with its six bedroom and nine bathrooms. The epic ceilings were especially challenging — soaring as high as 24 feet in the main room. "Our goal was to make [the home] feel comfortable, warm, and if possible, cozy for this growing family of eight (including grown children and grandchildren)," Kay says. Since the home's exterior is more in keeping with a Cape Cod style and features lake views, the interior's end result feels both coastal and rustic, while achieving the comfortable, warm and cozy goal.

Calm and Collected

Kay kept colors and shapes to a minimum in this inviting window seat area by sticking with creams and browns and choosing pewter plates, pottery vases and antique books. She replicated the color scheme in the hallways to evoke a calm and peaceful vibe.

Eyes on the Horizon

"This is one of the most challenging rooms we have furnished!" Kay says, thanks to the main room's 24-foot ceilings. They solved the problem by adding horizon lines to break up the space and "make it scaled for humans," she jokes. Said horizon lines include the iron drapery rod, the 7-foot tall lamps framing the window, the 5-foot tall swivel chairs by the fireplace, the 4-foot chair and ottoman, and the 2-1/2-foot chairs and sectional.

Scaling It Down

The family room also presented a scale challenge. To address it, Kay and her team arranged the built-in shelves to showcase art and collections at eye level, hung abstract art to create another horizon line, added tall floor lamps, and finished the look with oversized accessories.

New Heights

This home is so large it contains two kitchens. "The other working kitchen backs up to this one and accommodates lots of cooks," says Kay. To create the space, her team lowered the ceiling to 14 feet, which in turn added another bedroom above the kitchen. Since 14 feet is still higher than the average ceiling, Kay opted for vertical board cabinets to emphasize it.

In order to reflect the home's views and bring in more light, Kay wrapped the range hood with mirrored panels in an iron frame, and added a slate-and-glass backsplash. To finish off the kitchen, Kay chose soapstone counters for some texture.

Break It Up

"With such a large backsplash, it was important to break up the space and add slate shelves for oils and spices," Kays says of the kitchen. However, the overall space still feels expansive thanks to the beamed ceiling reflected in the mirrored range hood.

Color Cues

"We took our cues from the strong stone and wood tones," Kays says of this space with the focal-point lake views. For example, she chose rattan chairs in a gray wash, children's chairs in teak and a "rusty" coffee table, all of which lend to the soothing atmosphere.

Oh Deer!

Kay found this deer head at a local flea market, noting that it came with a tag indicating it was legal to own. This is all the decor that's needed as the white shiplap walls and black staircase provide plenty of visual interest.

Change Your View

"Because this bedroom had just one view, we hung photographs of woodsy falls and foggy lakes for another window," Kay says of the main bedroom. Hints of pink and purple break up the room's dominant neutrals.

Sit Awhile

In the main bedroom's sitting room, Kay added a round chartreuse chaise that accommodates all of the grandchildren, along with a swivel chair that takes advantage of the unmarred lake views. For the overall look, "we took one strong color and softened it with woods, creamy leather and organic pottery lamps," she says.

Engage the Senses

An aged copper tub with a lovely patina is a highlight in the main bath. Kay and her team regularly play with shapes, lines and textures, and that's the case here too. Besides the copper tub, note the plaster walls, rough hewn beams and leather and iron elements. "There's something to connect all of the senses in this bath," says Kay.

Room for Creativity

"As an artist, our owner wanted a space of her own in which she could create, relax and nap," Kay shares. "Our work table actually tilts for art projects, and the seating invites children and friends."

Flights of Whimsy

"Whimsy is always appropriate in children's rooms, and we had fun pairing art and furniture with animals and birds," says Kay. A wrought-iron bed, cowhide pouf, three-legged table and blackbird art are some of the whimsical touches.

Make Bathtime Fun

"We repurposed this zinc sink and mirror, added two black iron faucets, and created a favorite bath for the grandchildren," Kay notes of this space. Meanwhile, the knotty pine walls provide contrast while focusing the eye on the sink.

Knot a Problem

"Knotty pine walls are a strong design element, so we had fun adding punches of deep watery colors balanced with white and lots of textures," Kay says about this bedroom. "Symmetry always needs a little kick in order to be friendly!"

Lines of Communication

"Fall foliage tones give this guest room warmth," says Kay. "Always play vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines against each other: the tension makes it all sing," she adds.

Playful Touches

Kay created this area for guests to use as a work or play space. As for the blue chair? "Sometimes all one needs is a jolt of color to bring it all together," Kay points out. A rattan dressing table and mirror are other considerate touches for guests.

Inject Humor

For the basement, Kay decided to use humor as a way to entice the family to use this rustic space. So she hung carousel animals on the walls, found metal spring candlesticks and snake-shaped gourds, and opted for an iron mirror with a cloudy reflection. A leather sofa and cowhide stools complete the look. In case the family needed more persuading, there's a game room through the brick arches.

North Meets South

Kay loves how this Southern home's exterior exudes a Cape Cod feel. Situated on a generous 1.7 acres of land, the space feels like a private family compound.

Beacon of Light

"Because the home is on a piece of land that has been known as 'The Point,' the family wanted to include a lighthouse element with a screened-in porch overlooking the lake," Kay says. Adding an enclosed porch is a bonus feature for any lake house: "It is the place to gather where the bugs cannot 'bug' you!"

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