This North Carolina Lake Home Was Built For The Views

This lakefront haven may be new, but it feels timeless.

Crop of the Lake Wylie house

Brie Williams Styling: Jennifer Berno Decleene

Lake homes have always been refuges for weekend and summer escapes, but Charlotte native Sarah Crosland craved that state of mind every day. So in 2020, when the stars aligned for her to build on Lake Wylie (a reservoir that’s an easy commute to the Queen City), the busy executive decided to trade town for rural life. “Although I work in Charlotte, I loved the idea of being able to come home to a quiet spot by the water,” Crosland says. “This place is very much in the country—I’m 2 miles down a gravel road through the woods. The stress of the real world slips away when my tires first hit the gravel after a workday.” 

When imagining her dream house, she collaborated with a drafter to design a plan, but they never could nail down exactly what she had envisioned. Then, on a serendipitous lunch date, her mother shared a magazine page that she had saved from Southern Living, which featured a house plan called Evergreen Cottage (SL-2003) by Lake and Land Studio. Crosland fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

“I instantly loved it,” she recalls. The 2,000-square-foot home features four bedrooms (a tweak she made to the three-bedroom plan to better suit her needs)—all with lake views—and has colorful, comfortable interiors that nod to a playful farmhouse sensibility. Water-inspired blues, cheerful accents, and natural textures anchor the open floor plan of the storybook home, which is frequented by foster children, overnight guests, and her four-legged sidekick, Winston. “My goal is to make anyone in the space feel relaxed and happy,” she says.

01 of 08

Linger Longer

Lake Wylie Porch

Brie Williams  Styling: Jennifer Berno Decleene

From the first cup of coffee in the morning to the last round of after-dinner drinks, the upstairs balcony is the ideal spot to start or end the day thanks to its captivating views and cool breezes. Rose-patterned hexagonal tiles from Florida Tile punctuate this area with a splash of subtle personality while allowing the lake to take center stage.

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Mix Master

Lake Wylie Living Room

Brie Williams  Styling: Jennifer Berno Decleene

Scenic views of Lake Wylie fill the graciously proportioned living room, which brims with colors, fabrics, and history. “I love the contrast of materials in here—like my grandmother’s 1960s sofa, which I reupholstered in green velvet, with the jute rug and linens,” explains Crosland. “All the textures give the space a comfortable feel.”

03 of 08

Finders Keepers

Lake Wylie Reading Nook

Brie Williams Styling: Jennifer Berno Decleene

Crosland collects books, art, and even seashells on her vacations and displays them in her living room. “I love traveling and wanted this space to reflect that,” she says. Two window seats nestled between the bookshelves and the fireplace make cozy alcoves for reading on rainy days.

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House Of Blues

Lake Wylie Kitchen

Brie Williams  Styling: Jennifer Berno Decleene

As she often hosts guests, Crosland wanted a spacious kitchen for harmonious cooking and mingling, so she anchored the room with an island topped by a large slab of Silestone Calacatta Gold quartz in a suede finish. “Whenever I have friends over, I put out bites and drinks there so everyone can sit and chat as I prep,” says Crosland. “I’m also a short-term foster parent, so the island is great for homework and art projects.” The cabinets are painted a calm shade of blue (Sherwin-Williams’ Krypton, SW 6247) that she spotted online years prior and knew she wanted to incorporate. Matte white Café appliances finish the space with a custom look.

05 of 08

Where The Wild Things Are

Lake Wylie Outdoor Dining

Brie Williams Styling: Jennifer Berno Decleene

Dining alfresco is the rule, not the exception, on the water because Crosland and her guests enjoy observing Lake Wylie’s roaming residents. “I see beavers, river otters, and giant turtles swimming along the shore plus bald eagles, ospreys, and blue herons landing in the trees. Red foxes and deer wander across my yard,” she says. “It feels like watching dinner theater sometimes just seeing who will show up next.”

06 of 08

Natural Selection

Lake Wylie Bedroom

Brie Williams Styling: Jennifer Berno Decleene

As a frequent host and short-term foster parent, Crosland wanted the guest room to serve as an inspired sanctuary for those who stay there. “This space sits high beside the branches of an old oak, so I kept referring to it as the tree house room,” she says. When she discovered the Priano Wallpaper from Serena & Lily with its green vines, she knew it was the perfect way to bring the outside in.

07 of 08

Prettier In Pink

Lake Wylie Bathroom

Brie Williams  Styling: Jennifer Berno Decleene

She added a vanity area to the bathroom cabinets (painted Sherwin-Williams’ Pink Shadow, SW 0070).

08 of 08

New Secrets Of Cottage Style: Simple tricks to transform your lake house without breaking the bank

Lake Wylie Front of House not cropped

Brie Williams Styling: Jennifer Berno Decleene

1. Revive Heirlooms

Custom furniture for less? Yes, please. When decorating her Lake Wylie home, Crosland incorporated her grandmother’s vintage sofa from the sixties by re-covering it in a striking green velvet.

2. Use Paint That Pops

To get the biggest bang for your buck when building a new home, bring in color in unexpected ways. For a memorable first impression, Crosland painted her front door in Benjamin Moore’s Pleasant Pink (2094-60).

3. Find Your Pattern

The house is sprinkled with attainable furnishings (from Target patio seating to the living room’s spindle chair from Wayfair), but Crosland invested in standout wallpaper to make a big splash throughout the home, like in the guest room and bath.

4. Take In the View

Crosland always kept the outdoors in mind when building her dream home on the water. She tweaked the floor plan so every room (excluding the baths) had something she could never order from a catalog: sweeping lake vistas.

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