A Lakehouse Transformed
A dramatic makeover infuses a waterfront dream home with old-world elegance
Photos by Toby Maurer
The announcement of an impending grandchild accelerated the redo of a ten-year-old dream home at Lake Keowee. Although the house’s owners say they were “still in love with the rustic interior,” the exterior needed a little 21st-century panache. “It didn’t quite match the spirit of the location, or create the ambiance we wanted when we drive up to the house.”
Plans were made to create a second-floor guest suite over the garage and to re-work the exterior of the home in a fresh new style. The renovation by Morgan-Keefe Builders of Arden — who also built the original home — took more than a year. But the homeowners say they are “extraordinarily pleased” with the result. “Both the look and feel of the house is great…just what we wanted.”
“The most flattering thing you can have in this business,” says firm principal Malcolm Morgan, “is for a customer to come back to you years later. This family was great to work with the first time…and we were happy to work with them on the renovation as well.”
The original home was built in 2001 with cedar siding, asphalt shingles, and an attached two-car garage. A deck and screened porch along the back of the house offered outstanding views of the foothills in the distance, the gorgeous lake and the boathouse. When the owners approached Morgan with their newest ideas, “we invited them to come see a home we were building that could provide them with inspiration,” he says. “They liked what they saw” — chiefly, a more elegant exterior and a transformed garage.
Architect Tim Adams, with TS Adams Studio in Atlanta, was selected to draw the plans for the guest suite. Turning the garage into a two-story carriage house inspired a redesign of the house’s entire roofline. Dormers were added, the shingle roof was changed to Vermont slate, and the roofline was extended to create dramatic timber overhangs at the entrances. The cladding accrued natural materials — native fieldstone, granite, and rustic wavy-pine siding.
Around back, the screened porch was repositioned and enlarged by ten feet. A commanding Isokern masonry fireplace replaced the fireplace insert, and the larger floor space allowed a separate dining and grilling area plus more room for casual living. The house is surrounded by hardwoods, so now the back porch gives a treehouse effect.
A nifty exterior spiral staircase was added at one end of the deck to free up flow between the upper-level porch and ground-level patio and boathouse access.
While the family was comfortable with the interior of the home — with the rustic lake-house feel — they are pleased that now the exterior blends with the interior and with the natural landscape. Interior designer Cheryl Smith, of Cheryl Smith Associates in Hendersonville, worked with the family the decade before, and as part of the Morgan-Keefe team she was again called upon to help. Smith not only restyled the new spaces, she helped design and choose the outdoor lighting and exterior stains.
The landscaping changed too, becoming more connected to the environment. A stone wall was added along the front of the house, changing the elevation of the drive. This offered new material for landscaping at the entryway, and also improved rainwater management. Landscaper Barry Cosgrove, of Cosgrove Landscaping in Horse Shoe, put more emphasis on perennials and native plants, and added a “smart-drip” irrigation system to help with water conservation.
“With the renovation, we wanted to bring more of what we loved on the interior to the exterior,” the owners explain. “We can’t say enough about the Morgan-Keefe team.”
While the renovations were nearing completion, a baby girl was born. Already she has christened the guest suite as her own. “My wife, daughter, and granddaughter spent two weeks together at the lake house recently,” says the new grandfather. “It provided a comfortable, elegant retreat … just what we wanted.”