Tour This Contemporary Cottage on Lake Martin, Alabama

For Birmingham designer Jan Ware, whose busy life has her juggling four kids, a successful career, and a puppy, her Lake Martin getaway restores balance as nature, family, and fun take center stage.

contemporary cottage on Lake Martin, Alabama, master bedroom
Photography by Jean Allsopp

In every room, windows line the walls, inviting the watery vista into the house. Curtains are minimal, designed for privacy and framing views rather than as decorative statements. The designer refrained from installing recessed lights, preferring natural light during the day and lantern and sconce light once the sun falls. “I’m all about the vitamin D when we can get it, and then I rely on lamps and ornamental light when we need it,” she says.

contemporary cottage on Lake Martin, Alabama, bunk room
Photography by Jean Allsopp

Ware insisted on push-out casement windows rather than the traditional crank casements because she wanted to keep the hardware to a minimum and the view as pristine as possible. As such, the colors of the landscape play a big part in the colors of the paint and fabric she chose. “I love a sort of lichen color — the gray-green-blue that you see at Lake Martin,” she says. Linen upholstery fabrics evoke the home’s surroundings of air, water, and trees, and the patina of unfinished wood throughout provides further complement.

contemporary cottage on Lake Martin, Alabama, bathroom
Photography by Jean Allsopp

Accents of unlacquered brass in the lights and fixtures, flower arrangements assembled from the garden, and patterned pillows bring in bold colors. But Ware keeps those decorative elements confined to small shots in keeping with the relaxed style of a family getaway. “We’re mostly on the boat,” says Ware. “Or we’re piled in the media room.” In this home, fun and comfort take precedence, while style is woven into the fabric and spirit of the cottage.

This home tour was originally printed in our Summer 2017 issue.


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