Text by Katie Ellis
Nestled in the charming lake community of The Reserve at Lake Keowee, South Carolina, this rustic cottage was built for casual living—the perfect retreat for its empty nester homeowners. With a wish list of ample outdoor living spaces and cozy, relaxed interiors, the homeowners leaned on the expertise of architect Timothy Adams to make those dreams a reality. Eight years after putting their ideas on paper, the home was finally completed in 2016.
The lakefront oasis exudes cottage charm long before you cross its threshold. Due to the mountainous region, the lots in the area have a steep incline from the road to the waterline—adding extra importance to the home’s exterior design. “[The homeowners] wanted a home that melded into the landscape that was both casual and comfortable,” Timothy says. To achieve this, they chose materials that felt natural to the property, like live-edge siding, a slate roof, and locally sourced stone, giving the home a sense of history while blending with the natural setting. The result is a rustic exterior that offers a perfect welcome to the serene haven that awaits its guests inside.
The home’s great room is ideal for gathering and was situated to have windows on all sides, allowing ample natural light to filter throughout the room. For even more light, dormers were added within the vaulted ceiling. While the sweeping views of the lake are nature’s showstopper, Timothy’s handiwork can be seen in the grand stone fireplace. “The fireplace was centered and created as a monumental focal point,” he says. The warmth of the stone is complemented by the reclaimed wooden beams above that accent the vaulted ceiling. The artful design contrasts the organic, rustic charm with the clean, modern aesthetic found throughout the cottage.
Interior designer Barbara Westbrook helped curate the home’s furnishings and decorative accents. Taking cues from the views outside and nature’s color palette, she sourced a thoughtful balance of both new and antique pieces that helped the home feel rooted in history. Using natural materials like leather and stone, she also highlighted the home’s unique architectural details.
Timothy designed all of the main living spaces, including the kitchen and dining areas, to have spectacular views of the water. The open kitchen and dining room offer the ideal place to gather with friends and family. “[The homeowners] enjoy cooking and entertaining. They wanted this space to be visually connected to the living room but not really open to it,” Timothy says. The white oak flooring found throughout the home adds a warmth to the kitchen’s black and white finishes.
No matter how comfortable and gorgeous the interiors may be, when a house is situated by the water, outdoor living spaces seem to trump all others. Anchored on the left side of the house is a two-story timber-framed vaulted screened porch. “As with any lake house, it was important to provide multiple outdoor living spaces,” Timothy says. “The screened porch was held to the side to provide a visual connection not only to the lake but the cove on the side and the front area.”
Although this dreamy lakeside retreat is a new build, its thoughtful details and unique architectural elements make this cottage feel as though it has stood the test of time. These empty nesters’ dream home was certainly worth the wait.