A Masterful Mix

Designer Gretchen Edwards and Harrison Design Associates turn conventional style up a notch in a home set against the beautiful backdrop of Lake Oconee.

A style spectrum would place rustic and contemporary at polar ends, but this visionary jewel of a home—nestled on a hillside of picturesque Lake Oconee—proves opposites do attract. Harrison Design Associates and interior designer Gretchen Edwards defied convention by fusing elements of these two contradictory aesthetics into one masterful retreat.

“The exterior is all about the natural form; the traditional applications of stone and cedar, and how they blend into and become part of the land,” explains project manager Steve Markey of Harrison Design Associates. “The interiors, however, are a refreshing counterpoint with sleek and more sophisticated uses of natural materials.”

Indeed, Edwards complements the clean, modern lines of the indoor spaces with a stunning array of warm woods and textures. Walnut, cypress, alder and barn wood were transformed into ceilings, walls, doors, tables and chairs while intriguing textures such a rope, abaca fiber and even pony hair took on new life as unique accessories. The home’s great use of assorted materials is none more apparent than in the well-appointed powder room. The custom vanity consists of a limestone top and zinc-wrapped doors while the ceiling and mirror are made of cypress wood. Rounding out the eclectic mix are two colors of linen wallpaper and thin glass tile adorning the walls.

Though a neutral color palette acts as a common thread, unique elements in each room gives every space a distinct look and charm. While planks of alder wood on the walls of the main level master bedroom help create a strong, yet serene contrast of cream and chocolate brown, a metallic grasscloth wallcovering adds pizazz to an adjacent vestibule. But most remarkable are the walls of a terrace level bedroom which were made entirely of Jerusalem stone.

“Stone was used everywhere, from the floors to the walls to the baths. The tile installer had three crews working at the same time, but it took months to complete,” remembers Edwards. “The complexity of the materials and the amount of detail in the house has made this home one of my most exciting projects to date. It’s also been one of the most challenging because it wasn’t just putting up sheetrock and selecting paint colors.”­

Never once does the intricacy of the home becoming overwhelming, though. After all, it was built for entertaining. “The homeowners rarely go by themselves,” shares the designer. “They always host several families.” To that end, engaging seating layouts throughout the communal spaces encourage conversation while a custom, oversize table in the dining room not only accommodates multiple guests but also a delicious array of dishes that showcases the owners’ love of cooking. Furthermore, heat lamps and retractable screens were installed on the spacious covered porch to make this second home truly a retreat for all seasons.

With nearly every room of the home boasting views of the lake, it would be impossible not to return time and time again. “It’s breathtaking; when you get there you never want to leave,” says Edwards. “All the Atlanta traffic—or whatever stress it took you to get there—just melts away as you let yourself be immersed in serenity.”

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO BUILD? A year and a half
Gorgeous views of the lake
Rustic home with modern accents that wasn’t too formal; enjoy the lake views from every room of the house
A variety of fabrics, stone and woods, including walnut, cypress, alder and reclaimed barn wood
Impossible to have just one! I love the master bedroom and master bath, along with the guest room that I stay in every time I am there.

INTERIOR DESIGN Gretchen Edwards, Gilstrap Edwards Interior Design, 345 Peachtree Hills Ave., Suite 310, Atlanta 30305. (404) 869-4401; gilstrapedwards.com ARCHITECTURE Harrison Design Associates, 3198 Cains Hill Pl. NW, Atlanta 30305. (404) 365-7760; harrisondesignassociates.com WALL COVERING Phillip Jefferies Ltd. CEILING BEAMS & FLOORING Carlisle Wood Plank Flooring COFFEE TABLE Norman Hasty CHAIRS Ironies through Ainsworth-Noah RUG Eve Inc. SOFA Lee Industries through South of Market PORCH FLOORING Traditions in Tile PORCH TABLE Norman Hasty PORCH CHAIRS Dedon through Logan Gardens PORCH LIGHTING PENDANTS South of Market CUSTOM RAILING Charles Calhoun DINING TABLE Gregorius Pineo through Jerry Pair CHAIRS McGuire CURTAINS Galbraith & Paul fabric through Jerry Pair RUG The Moore Showroom CHANDELIER Gregorius Pineo through Jerry Pair VANITY & MIRROR Norman Hasty TILE Waterworks SCONCES South of Market LINEN WALLPAPER Donghia LOUNGE CHAIRS Frontgate WALL COLOR Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter CHAIRS South of Market ARTWORK Jason Horton through Deljou Art Group FLOORING Carlisle Wood Plank Flooring BREAD TRAYS A. Tyner Antiques COFFEE TABLE Bradley-Hughes CABINETRY Robin Smith of Block & Chisel WALLS Carlisle CUSTOM HEADBOARD O’Kelley’s Upholstery & Design SIDE TABLE Bradley-Hughes CHANDELIER Formations through Jerry Pair ARTWORK The Mercantile CURTAINS Galbraith & Paul fabric through Jerry Pair