Our former editor-in-chief shaped a tiny Southern Living house plan into a serene lakefront hideaway. Former Southern Living editor-in-chief Lindsay Bierman originally pictured a 2,500-square-foot, rustic-modern lake house rising from the rocks above Alabama's Lewis Smith Lake. He faced a tough choice: value-engineer the project to keep the quantity of space or downsize the plans to maintain the quality of space. If the home was built more true to size, around 1,000 square feet, he could have the upgrades he wanted, and honor his belief that the quality of our space improves the quality of our life. Bierman landed on an easy-to-build SL house plan with a classic cabin vibe that needed only minor modifications to take it from spec to spectacular.
The 1,000 square foot structure stands atop a jagged rock cliff, 75 feet above the water's edge. Bierman limited his paint selection to Benjamin Moore's Bronzetone (60) for the exterior and the screened porch to contrast the greenery.
This palette feels light, but not too stark for a relaxing lake retreat. The walls and cabinets are Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream and Cream Froth. The Ann Sacks backsplash adds a whisper of pattern to the room.
"Promise you'll never do popcorn ceilings," says Bierman. He sprang for real V-groove, but beaded board is cheaper and looks great too. It adds historic charm to any brand-new house. Ditto for chunky window casings.
Because it's such a small space, it cost only $250 more to install marble herringbone tile, adding color and texture. If that exceeds your budget, you will never, ever go wrong with plain white 1-inch hexagonal floor tiles. Use dark gray grout to conceal dirt.