Lakeside Luxury

When a couple of young, successful entrepreneurs decided to create their ultimate lakeside getaway, they knew exactly who to enlist — someone who would not only dream big with them, but a person who also possesses the ability to see beyond boundaries and expectations.

They’d enlisted the same talented designer to guide them through a beautiful redesign of their Chapel Hill home several years before, so luckily, they knew exactly where to find her – at Heather Garrett Design. It was clear from the beginning that this project would be different. Tucked into the beautiful banks of Lake Gaston in Littleton, N.C., the homeowners envisioned a space that was perfect for entertaining, yet had all the cozy comforts of a retreat uniquely designed for their growing family. The couple had fond childhood memories of spending precious family time on a lake and wanted to recreate those experiences, while adding their own personal flair. 

“What I loved about these young clients is that they really didn’t care about ‘normal’ at all,” said Heather. “The original architectural plans called for a detached master suite with a bedroom and bath, but we realized through our design process that the husband brainstorms best while in motion. So, he wanted to have, like, circus rings or a trapeze or basketball court instead of a master suite there!”

When asked more specifically, the homeowner clarified that it was about functionality, adding, “I’d rather sleep in a little bedroom upstairs and have a climbing wall downstairs than a fancy master bedroom.” As changes like these came along, Heather worked with builder Corbitt Hills Construction to make the adjustments. This change resulted in a spectacular gym complete with a robust climbing wall. “Talk about a real learning curve for us,” said Heather. “We discovered a lot about building code compliance for a climbing wall!” Another out-of-the-box change included ditching the idea of a traditional dining room in favor of a luscious, deep upholstered niche and shuffleboard table. 

In place of a traditional boat dock, Heather created an exquisite floating lounge with a full-size wet bar, huge flat-screen TV and a swimmer’s platform perfect for all their treasured wakeboarding adventures. Guests and family members would also be able to enjoy breezy, lazy afternoons lounging in the oversized hammock, or swinging carefree in lounge chairs as they gaze up to the gorgeous vaulted wood-paneled ceiling or out onto the breathtaking lake.

“Nature, without question, is why I’m drawn to loose and relaxed shapes with gritty textures and imperfect forms,” said Heather. “Imperfection has a very romantic quality to it, in my opinion. In terms of architecture, I favor clean and pure structures – whether it’s a classic French traditional or contemporary California plan – an uncomplicated, open structure is a dream.” 

Another part of Heather’s overall design philosophy includes her love of organic ornamentation. “Essentially, it’s the idea that nothing made by man is as beautiful as that found in nature,” she explains. Inside and out, this lakeside dream space provides a refreshing continuity from room to room – from Garrett’s use of multiple organic shapes and textures to her soothing neutral palette of colors. By incorporating items such as shells, branches, antlers, wood grains and more, she creates a spirit of comfortable and casual elegance that flows from every corner.

Surrounding the exterior of the home is a stunning wrap-around porch, an inviting outdoor living room centered around a stone fireplace and a welcoming lounge area with sofas, chairs and dreamy porch swings. Heather and the homeowners both agree that this is easily their favorite space. Here, rustic beauty and serene sophistication blend seamlessly. Billowing drapery anchoring each corner flows with a gentle breeze and when combined with soothing lakeside sounds, even the most cynical guest could agree that this is a little slice of heaven on earth.