Story: Katie Cooper | Photography: Rett Peek |
Designer Melissa Haynes creates a modern home on Lake Ouachita for a water-loving family
While most may think of a lake house with preconceived ideas on style and décor, a Mountain Harbor home sitting tall on the edge of Lake Ouachita proves your private oasis can come in any flavor—in this case, an ultra-modern take on waterfront living that complements its natural surroundings. The contemporary hideaway is a home away from home for this Fort Smith couple. The pair asked designer Melissa Haynes to bring their vision—a far departure from the French Country style of their primary residence—to life. “They actually saw our work in a previous issue of At Home in Arkansas and called us. From the beginning, the homeowners’ desire was a modern lake house,” Haynes says of her relationship with the family and design inspiration.
Attention to Texture
The design process started with one goal in mind: “We really wanted to take advantage of the amazing views,” Haynes says. “You’re sitting there [in the home] and you’re sort of in a tree house. We didn’t want to compete with that.” Through fabric choices, flooring, and varied surfaces, Haynes created a neutral palette to embrace the green landscape beyond the windows. “We wanted to focus on texture and monochromatic coloring,” the designer says.
This play on texture radiates throughout the kitchen, a space that the homeowners note is a much-used area. Calcutta Lincoln marble is used on the island countertop and wraps to the floor for a dramatic flair. Haynes used this same material on the backsplash, which extends to the ceiling. “This marble adds so much movement with its large scale veining. It added the contemporary, natural vibe we were looking for. Using it on the island and again on the backsplash keeps that flow going,” she says. In a room with multiple surfaces, Haynes notes the attention in her selections. “We had to be very mindful of small details—veiny marble, plus stained wood on walls, plus dark stain on kitchen cabinets—to make sure everything worked well together.”
To ground the space, wide-planked wood floors run throughout the home adding both style and durability. “These floors are really unique. The wood has been smoked to bring out the natural gray tones. We then used a European oil-based stain that creates a natural finish that isn’t too glossy,” Haynes says. Keeping in mind the heavy traffic and, often times, wet foot prints from guests coming off the lake, maintenance was also important when choosing a floor covering. “These floors are very durable. If scratched, you can easily repair them yourself by re-oiling the damaged area,” Haynes notes.
Aside from the floors, Haynes also created another whole-home design element seen from room to room. “Throughout the house, we used the same sheer drapery fabric. I think the homeowners first thought I was crazy for suggesting any type of window covering, but we did this for two reasons. Not only does drapery help the rooms feel complete and relate to each other, but also, when you’re in a glass box, it makes sense functionally for sunlight and privacy.” The softness from the drapery fabric adds an unexpected airiness to the overall look and feel. “We kept it really clean, discreet, and unobtrusive,” she adds.
Bringing the Inside Out
In addition to the multiple windows showcasing the views, a covered patio area creates an even more immersive experience in the trees. “We love being out here,” the homeowner says. “We have many friends in the Mountain Harbor area, so it’s a great space for entertaining. Our kids love being out here, too. It really is like a tree house.” Outdoor dining and lounging areas add more living space, all while keeping the same contemporary lines as the home’s interior scheme. “When it’s a summertime home, you focus a lot on outdoor entertaining, so we carried the contemporary feel and neutral color palette outside to these areas,” Haynes says.
In a home equipped with multiple sleeping areas along with five and a half bathrooms—a priority for the homeowners in an effort to host and sleep many guests comfortably—the luxurious master bedroom caps off this lakeside retreat. “We wanted this room to feel inviting. It sort of has that hotel quality, like you’re checking in, just as you would at any other home away from home,” Haynes says. Enveloping the room in luxury, silk was used to line the walls. “It’s like instant room success,” Haynes says of the Phillip Jeffries wall covering. “The way the light hits and reflects, you feel like you’re in a cocoon. That’s the workhorse in the room. We left everything else really simple,” Haynes says. Opting for less clutter, wall-mounted lamps hang on either side of the upholstered platform bed, while built-in cabinets matching the stain of the kitchen cabinetry and adjoining bathroom vanity make space for clothes and accessories.
This modern lake house, full of high-end finishes, varying wood tones, and organic elements, achieves the modern simplicity the homeowners desired. As a space to make memories with their young family, this is much more than just another day at the lake.
Architect Taggart Design Group
Interior design Melissa Haynes, MH Design, Inc.
Appliances Metro Appliances & More
Bedding, fabrics, furniture, lighting, outdoor furnishings, rugs, and window treatments MH Design, Inc.
Cabinetry Claflin Custom Cabinets
Countertops and tile—kitchen Majestic Marble & Granite
Fixtures Ft. Smith Winsupply
Flooring Wood Floor Gallery, Inc.
Paint Benjamin Moore
Tile—bathroom Allison Sales Flooring Company