When searching for a summer home on Georgia’s Lake Burton, Atlanta fine art painter Dawne Raulet Hall kept coming back to a ramshackle cabin that was considered untouchable. The house, which dates to the 1930s, was little more than a fishing cottage comprised of Styrofoam ceilings and worn dark-paneled walls, plus a less-than-functional layout. All that was needed was Raulet Hall’s artistic spirit—not to mention gallon upon gallon of white paint—to transform her ugly duckling into a swan. “It became my peaceful sanctuary,” says Raulet Hall of the made-over cabin. “It’s the perfect place for me to get away and reflect, yet my kids love it, too, because I made it like a camp for them and their friends.”
Raulet Hall, a former stockbroker, eased into her passion project by painting everything white and installing wall-to-wall white carpet to brighten up the cozy five-bedroom house, which is located about 100 miles north of the Atlanta. Because years of piecemeal additions—a master bedroom here, a bonus room there—had left the home haphazardly put together, she enlisted custom home builder Mike Hammersmith to step in and resolve the layout. The house now sleeps as many as 16 people, including Raulet Hall’s husband and their combined four children.
Total kitchen, bath and dock renovations proved a must, as did the addition of bead board wall paneling to reinforce a cottage theme. Raulet Hall kept some original detailing, such as nautical woodwork and rope railings in the living room, to preserve the cabin’s existing charms, and built upon that layered feel by adding industrial elements, such as the family room’s salvaged bucket-turned-lamp and a mirror made from a barrel. “I like an eclectic mix of new and old,” says Raulet Hall, who considers herself an avid flea market forager (she also chips in as buyer for her parents’ antiques shop in Cashiers). “I have the attitude that, if I like something, I will make it work somewhere.”
Demonstrating her deft hand at combining sophistication with youthful modernity, Raulet Hall bathed the entire house in whites and creams. “I didn’t want it to be practical, I just wanted to love it,” says the artist of the light and bright living room which carries a hint of French sophistication and flair. “Because nothing is off limits to the kids, I’ll probably have to replace everything before I would normally have to,” she adds.
In keeping with the lake cabin’s woodsy vernacular, Raulet Hall wove in handcrafted works throughout the space: a collection of decorative antlers in the living room, twig railings on the front porch and a show-stopping wooden canopy bed in the master bedroom. “I love natural textures, so you’ll see a lot of shells, driftwood and wood in my home. Those organic elements feel easy and relaxing,” she says. Proving that all beautiful things can coexist if you just know how to style them, Raulet Hall tapped her friend, interior designer Shawn Broaddus, to help with the finishing touches, including languid window treatments to frame the lakefront view.
But perhaps the most high-traffic space title belongs to the home’s bunk room, formerly the cabin’s main living space. Now a spacious shrine to fun, it’s also a child’s dream come true, thanks to ship-style bunk beds, foosball table and a climbing wall that leads to a sleeping loft. Vibrant pops of orange, pulled from one of Raulet Hall’s abstract mountain paintings, permeate and energize the playful space. The adventure continues outdoors, where in addition to the lake, the kids can choose to zip line, jump on the trampoline or indulge in evening s’mores by the fire, making the house’s name—Good Times—a perfect fit. “It’s not a big house, so it lends itself to everyone being close together,” says Raulet Hall. Undoubtedly letting the good times roll.