Resort Homes: An Airy Lake Oconee Retreat

Lake Oconee

{photos & content originally appeared in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles}

ometimes the smallest detail provides inspiration for an entire project. For interior designer Suzanne Kasler, just such an epiphany occurred while browsing a flea market in Paris. Just before her trip abroad, Kasler joined a “dream team” of professionals to create a show house in Reynolds Plantation on stunning Lake Oconee. The home, a project for a women’s golf magazine, had to revolve around the relaxing lake lifestyle, as well as the comforts and needs of a golf enthusiast. As Kasler scoured the flea market, two pairs of antique golf sconces immediately grabbed her attention. Style and luxury abound on Lake Oconee at the hands of Suzanne Kasler and William T. Baker.Sometimes the smallest detail provides inspiration for an entire project. For interior designer Suzanne Kasler, just such an epiphany occurred while browsing a flea market in Paris. Just before her trip abroad, Kasler joined a “dream team” of professionals to create a show house in Reynolds Plantation on stunning Lake Oconee. The home, a project for a women’s golf magazine, had to revolve around the relaxing lake lifestyle, as well as the comforts and needs of a golf enthusiast. As Kasler scoured the flea market, two pairs of antique golf sconces immediately grabbed her attention. “They were perfect for this home,” she says, “and they became my inspiration for the entire design.”

The lakefront home, replete with a boat dock and outdoor putting green, was a collaboration from the start. Kasler, who was entrusted with the home’s interior embellishments, worked hand-in-hand with residential designer William T. Baker, who devised the spacious interior’s open floor plan, vaulted ceilings and comfortable ambiance rife for entertaining. Teaming up with builder Rob Marett and landscape designer Alec Michaelides from LandPlus, the foursome, who had collaborated on projects in the past, were familiar with each other’s nuances and worked together to create a fun yet sophisticated residence.

Baker envisioned a space versatile enough for entertaining intimate groups or large gatherings. The five-bedroom, three-story residence’s focal point is the vaulted great room, which is defined by reclaimed rustic beams from a 200-year-old Georgia barn and a wall of windows overlooking the lake. With such a large space, Kasler was careful not to over-decorate the room. Instead, she took her cue from the home’s natural surroundings, allowing the interior to blend with nature’s colorful canvas.

“It’s my job to give a home its personality—an eclectic, quality look that really defines its uniqueness,” she explains. “In the great room, the contrast of the white painted wood walls, rough-hewn beams, sisal rug and iron accents with the great original art and antiques give the space a classic, timeless, yet transitional look. The whole room has this earthy, organic feel that really complements the trees, water, sky and natural light.”

Keeping the interior neutral, with varying pops of natural tones, Kasler created a sophisticated design defined by texture and architectural details. Sumptuous velvet, crisp linen and creamy leather blend perfectly with contemporary and antique accents. Framed botanicals in intimate groupings complement the overall design of the home and add an artistic element. Kasler chose botanicals instead of oil paintings to keep the mood casual and add an “architectural quality” to the interior, she says.

Dubbing the look “American classic,” Kasler and Baker were particularly concerned with the home’s flow and worked together to ensure its livability. While the rooms transition nicely from one to the next, the designers were careful to “define” each space and give each its own personality. Using an understated palette of tan, saffron and bone as a backdrop, Kasler varied the intensity of the hues from one space to the next. To break up the monochromatic look, eye-catching details, such as tortoise shell tiles in the bar area, were employed. “The way this house interacts with the outdoors is fantastic,” Kasler says. “It juxtaposes cutting-edge finds with the warmth of classics.”

Adding unexpected architectural touches was a priority for Baker as well. One of the most interesting rooms is the two-story octagonal dining room with rectangular and circular windows to capture the natural light. Matching the circular windows that lead to the outdoors, interior circular windows from a second-floor bedroom also complement the dining room. “Sometimes, when you design a home, certain opportunities present themselves, and you just run with them,” Baker says. “Here we were given a chance to create a very different but fun feature—a unique vista that gives you a totally different view of the property.” Says Kasler, “Our main goal was to create a home that was both great looking and comfortable. This home not only has universal appeal, but it also really lives well.”