Text: Lauren Gentry Walker
Photos: Jean Allsopp
When it was time for a longtime vacation home to be put up for sale, the son of the original owners decided he wanted to keep the beloved property in the family and give it a new start. Many childhood memories were spent in the house on Smith Lake in Alabama, and he, along with his wife, chose to tear down the existing home and build a new one from scratch while honoring the grounds and natural surroundings. After working with her on their primary residence and other projects, the homeowners didn’t hesitate to hire interior designer Liz Hand Woods of Liz Hand Woods Interiors (@lizhandwoods) to oversee the home’s rebirth.
The exterior of the home was designed in a contemporary-rustic style. The homeowner grew up visiting the lake property with his family and wanted to ensure the home’s natural surroundings were preserved.
A banquette and round table sit in the family room.
The family room is kept crisp and serene while remaining comfortable.
The kitchen ceiling was painted in the home’s signature blue.
The long light fixture in the dining room was the perfect selection for the large, rectangular space. Prints of antique pressed ferns hang on walls at each end of the table, and draperies create a portiere in front. “We wanted to add in some softness, and that is hard to do in dining rooms,” says Woods.
The master suite continues the blue-and-gray color palette. The walls of the bedroom are draped on three sides due to the massive banks of windows, and Woods selected the upholstered headboard, platform bed, and antique bedside tables. The bathroom overlooks the lake and was given lime-washed oak cabinets with fluted detail. The floating design adds airiness to the space and balances the dark hardwood floors.
After working with architect Cindy Coyle of Architecture Works in Birmingham, the three-story house was built with hosting friends and family in mind. “The goal was all about being able to bring a crowd together and relive some of those family memories on the lake,” says Woods.
While the lake views take center stage from within the house, the lush foliage and abundance of trees were purposefully retained and are front and center to all who enter through the gated entry. The driveway meanders through the natural landscape before splitting in two and circling the house, and a happy green door highlights the entrance to the home. “The homeowner really wanted the door to be a fun, playful element,” says Woods. “Instead of maintaining the bronze paint scheme, she wanted it to be a brighter, happy color.”
For the aesthetic of the interiors, the homeowners wanted a tranquil, spa-like space that blended softly with its surroundings. Woods pulled the color palette from the colors in the lake and trees—soft blues and greens that are peppered throughout the entire house. The artwork used in the family room, dining room, and kitchen also pays tribute to the scenery—vintage prints of pinecones, ferns, leaves, grasses, and other natural elements.
Creating a comfortable space to accommodate the large size of the family presented a challenge in the beginning, but it quickly became the perfect room with ample seating.
The kitchen, a favorite space of the designer’s, was given cabinetry in lime-washed oak, counter-tops in Belgian bluestone, and a ceiling painted in a blue that coordinates with the barstools and other rooms. The end result is a rustic-inspired design that felt like a better fit than the popular all-white kitchen. Following the rustic-chic theme, Woods was overjoyed when she came across the sunburst mirror that hangs in the foyer. “I love this style of mirror, and this one was perfectly understated,” she says
The focal point of the wide dining room is the electric light fixture designed to look like a large array of pillar candles. The rectangular shape of the room called for a long table that could serve the entire family. “For me, choosing furnishings and décor for this home was a joy because I have a similar preferred aesthetic,” says Woods. “Being involved through the home’s inception to the last layering details was so much fun.”