Lakeside Leisure

Tempering an all-white palette with natural wood and stone, designer Paige Sumblin Schnell creates a relaxing retreat on the shores of Lake Martin.

When a young couple first approached Paige Sumblin Schnell about the design of their dream lake house, they had a few requests. Their Alabama home, situated on a stunning point in The Ridge on Lake Martin, had to be versatile enough for their family of six. It also had to be comfortable and, most importantly, all white. “The client likes lots of white, and you can see that in the space,” says Sumblin Schnell, a principal designer with Tracery Interiors. “It is a marriage of more rustic wood and stone with crisp white, with a little bit of French influence, but not too much.” Juxtaposing natural materials like reclaimed wood beams and floors—harvested from barns in Vermont and Georgia—with planked walls swathed in Benjamin Moore’s China White, Sumblin Schnell and assistant Anna Kay Porch created a soothing color palette that didn’t deter from the main attraction: the view.

“When a home is on a lake like this, you want every room to face the lake. You want to make sure that you capture the views,” says Sumblin Schnell, describing how she planned the space to embrace the surrounding scenery. But the most challenging aspect of the home’s design was keeping it from becoming too formal for a family with four children. Modern touches of linen and galvanized metal soften stately French antiques, while dividing the living room into intimate seating areas makes it feel at once cozy and grand. Moored by striking architectural details like the substantial fireplace and natural stone pillars, the space also has playful touches, like graceful chandeliers in unexpected places, keeping it light and unconventional.

The casual vibe continues into the kitchen, where small appliances and plenty of extra storage are tucked away in a back pantry. “It relieves the kitchen of some of the stress of being utilitarian, allowing you to do more beautiful architectural elements in the kitchen,” says the designer. “It really opens up your possibilities.” Offset by the natural wood and white color palette, these possibilities include modern details, like two marble-topped islands anchoring the room, a large farmhouse sink and open shelving
—the perfect place to display vintage stoneware.

As outdoor living space is essential to any lake house, large French doors lead from the living room onto a Beaumaniere limestone porch, continuing the neutral palette. And to further encourage the indoor-outdoor lifestyle, a dock features a stone fireplace, grill and dining area, providing a place to unwind by the water. Because the space is large enough for entertaining and family gatherings, the home sees no shortage of use. And as visitors to this resplendent getaway can attest, relaxation is unavoidable. “It really resonates with people,” says Sumblin Schnell. “They instantly like it. The space just feels great.”

Tracery Interiors, 2814 Petticoat Ln., Mountain Brook, Alabama 35223. (205) 414-6026.
72 Main St., Rosemary Beach, Florida 32461. (850) 231-6755;