This home on Lake Rabun has a singular style. Which is precisely what owners Ann and Warner Veal wanted. “I’ve always loved quirky things that are mixed with classic,” says Ann. “More than anything, I wanted this house to be fun.”
To that end, she turned to Jeff Jones—her go-to designer for the past 20-some years, when he first opened Jeff Jones Design. One of the things that makes the relationship work: They share a belief that challenges give birth to creative and interesting solutions.
And this home was not without its challenges. The original house had its share of water problems. But more than that, it wasn’t big enough to accommodate the owners’ growing family. The idea of an expansion, though, produced another challenge: The structure’s footprint could not be changed.
The Veals reached out to architects Todd Pritchett and Craig Dixon of Pritchett + Dixon, who took the structure down to its original foundation. In its place now stands a new three-level home that fuses the best of two worlds. “You know you’re in a Southern lake house—there’s a certain Southern vernacular—but there are modern elements, too,” says Pritchett. The modern aesthetic is apparent in the open floor plan, with overscaled doors and windows creating the feeling of glass walls. The kitchen, with its mix of ultra-modern Siematic cabinetry and primitive pieces, has a warehouse feel. Meanwhile, the nod to Southern style is evident in the wood walls, reclaimed floors and fieldstone fireplaces.
The architects also took full advantage of the home’s prime location. “The house is no more than 30 feet from the lake, and on the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest,” Pritchett points out. “Every room has a view of one or both.” At the same time, the new plan meets the owners’ need for a larger entertaining area, as well as more bedrooms and baths—plenty of space for six grandchildren. There are now two living areas instead of one; a dining area, with a table large enough to seat 12, separates the two. And with the exception of the master, bedrooms are intentionally small—like boutique hotel rooms—because, says Ann, “When you’re at the lake, who wants to spend a lot of time in their room?”
Every inch of this house, however, speaks to Ann’s distinct sense of style. “She wanted this house to be one of joy, family, fun and surprise,” says Jones. “We had a great time searching for those unusual, often one-of-a-kind objects and handcrafted furnishings. And the materials throughout are bold and unique. Of course, it helped that the Veals own a major tile and stone business. We had so many options from around the world at our finger tips.”
Proof positive that the design team got it right lies in Ann’s assessment of the completed project. “This house makes me smile,” she says. There may be no greater compliment.