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A designer’s thoughtful vision for her family’s mountain lake house is guided by memories of rustic waterfront cottages while sporting all the amenities of a new build

Interior designer Kim Majure vividly remembers the allure of her grandmother’s Jersey Shore beach cottage. “She had this quaint old house, and I have such nostalgic memories of it,” she says. “It had all these nooks and crannies, and as a little kid it felt so magical.”

Those feelings stayed with Majure as she and husband Patrick searched for their own waterfront getaway on Lake Burton in North Georgia, where their family had been vacationing for years. “Lake Burton feels as though you’ve been transported to a distant, remote locale, yet it’s only a short drive from home,” says Majure.

While they agreed on location, the couple had different notions about the home itself. “I longed for an old and vintage cabin while Patrick wanted the low maintenance and reliability of new plumbing and electrical,” says Majure.

After property-hunting for five years, they found a “unicorn”—a gently sloping lot on a deep cove lapped by cobalt waters, dotted with mature hardwoods and blue hydrangeas, with a front row to sweeping views.

With architect Garrett Daniel of Garrett Daniel Architecture in Atlanta, the couple set to work on designing a new home that felt like it had been on the lake for decades. The team studied images of old area cabins and hotels to stay true to the historic architecture and building materials. “We would often have my drawings laid out on Kim’s big design table, four or five books open at one time, photos and trace-paper sketches,” says Daniel of the deliberate and collaborative process.

Majure imagined tucked-away nooks to cozy up in after a day on the water, materials that felt rugged but not overly rustic and a sense of comfort and welcome throughout. Design choices were made to evoke the idea of a small cabin that was added on to over the years. In the foyer and upstairs hall, the fireplace is exposed as though it was once an exterior wall. The kitchen was designed to feel like a renovated porch with a surround of windows.

Second floor rooms were carved from the eaves as though an attic was converted into bedrooms and a bunk room was modeled after her family’s shared room at the shore. Alcoves were created to house vintage furniture, versus relying on contemporary built-in cabinetry. A mix of antiques, hand-me-downs and new objects make for interiors that feel personal and balanced.

“My young nephew recently came to visit and was delighted to run around discovering ‘secret’ rooms,” says Majure. “It was exactly the feeling I’d had at my grandmother’s old cottage—where the closet under the stairs became my own secret world—just the emotion I hoped to evoke in our new ‘old’ home.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Kim Majure, Kim Majure Interiors;
ARCHITECT Garret Daniel, Garrett Daniel Architecture, (404) 441-6495;
BUILDER Jerry Kyle, Kyle Construction; (706) 947-0211