Long summer days are just right for enjoying family and friends at this idyllic lake house.
Laid-back Living
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn / Styling Rose Nguyen

Kate and John Phillips looked at many houses while searching for a getaway at Lake Martin, near Alexander City, Alabama. But then builder Lock Hunter showed them just the right one: a house with a large screened porch that was ideal for casual family gatherings.

The new house felt like the kind of old-fashioned, rustic lakeside cabin that the couple wanted to enjoy with their children, Maddie and Robert. "Lock modeled this house after the Adirondack style," says John. The spacious screened porch holds two seating groups, a long wooden dining table, and metal chairs. Touches such as wicker furniture, twig accessories, plants, and flowers give the area a colorful country look. Kate and John bought lacy steel motel chairs from secondhand stores and then had the original red-and-white finish carefully restored. "The best people to paint metal furniture are auto painters," says Kate. "You have to sandblast pieces to get rid of the rust, and they know how to tape up and match color."

Kate collects old fabrics and handmade aprons to cover pillows and cushions. John keeps an old bin-style Coke machine stocked with bottled drinks. Oil lanterns and wooden fans are reminders of simpler times. In this relaxed setting, everyone loves to gather and trade stories.

"We go to the lake to build family time," says Kate. "Here, you have time to relax and go back over it all."

Pages 100-101: Construction by Lock Hunter.

This article is from the August 2005 issue of Southern Living.