Sunny Outlook

An enchanting blend of historic and modern elements define this home on Lake Keowee

Seeking a relaxing retreat for gatherings big and small, a pair of empty nesters purchased a lush lot on a point overlooking Lake Keowee in South Carolina and commissioned architect Peter Block of Peter Block Architects to design a home that effortlessly combines historic and contemporary influences. “This is a building with two souls,” says Block. “It feels old, but it has a youthful enthusiasm.”

 Reminiscent of the prominent camp clubhouses that dotted the White Mountains for generations, the two-and-a-half-story English Arts and Crafts-style stone dwelling is built into a hill, its lower-level bar’s giant arched windows opening to the swimming pool patio. “The stone walls give you a feeling of comfort, like you’re living in something substantial that will last generations,” says Block.

 In deference to the prominent stone walls throughout the home, interior designer Barbara Westbrook and project designer Elizabeth Hanson of Westbrook Interiors established a neutral color palette enlivened by oodles of texture, pops of color and one-of-a-kind artwork. In addition, Westbrook designed much of the cabinetry, creating a bar in the living room, for example, and built-in beds in the top-floor bunk room.

The home’s mix of modern and historic elements begins in the wood-paneled foyer, where a collage made of gold leaf paper creates a moment of drama that teases at what’s to come. And a ribbon-like three-dimensional bentwood wall sculpture hangs on the plaster hood in the open kitchen, which is outfitted with handcrafted oak cabinetry accented by dark soapstone countertops and brass hardware. “It’s unexpected up at the lake,” says Westbrook. “Artwork gives the house personality.”

For example, she points to the vibrant illuminated piece depicting butterflies in the formal dining room, where a modern branch-like chandelier floats over a shapely dining table with a sandblasted oak and steel base that juxtaposes the stone walls. A prominent stone wall with a fireplace likewise defines the living area, which is furnished with plush tailored pieces in neutral hues that play off the colors in the stone. “These pretty warm tones feel very inviting,” she says.

As do the lush surroundings by landscape designer Alex Smith, who incorporated a mix of specimen trees and native plants that add texture and color throughout the year. “The house and landscape are so complementary of each other, and both have aged so well so quickly,” says Smith.

The house soon became a beloved retreat for the owners, who enjoy hosting family and friends for extended visits. After long weekends filled with swimming, karaoke and shuffleboard, the grandchildren have been known to shed tears when it’s time to head home. “It all feels right,” says Westbrook. “Like everything belongs and you can just relax.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Barbara Westbrook, Westbrook Interiors, (404) 355-9430; ARCHITECT Peter Block, Peter Block Architects, (404) 352-2422; landscape DESIGNER Alex Smith, Alex Smith Garden Design, (770) 455-8878; BUILDER Ken Berry, The Berry Group, (864) 868-2811;