Pleasant Lake Camp: Waterfront Retreat for a Modern Family

Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberts Imaging

Sited on a former 1930s girls’ camp called Camp Truda and set along the shores of Maine’s Pleasant Lake, a family property offers the opportunity for three generations to come together in one enchanting destination. On this heavily wooded stretch of land, a Boston-based couple with young children wanted to create a four-season lakefront retreat that would ultimately share a common driveway and a large swath of waterfront with the husband’s parents’ existing cottage built 30 years earlier. The challenge? To design a contemporary lake home that would relate to the traditional style of the surrounding architecture yet also accommodate the needs of a modern family.

“It was a social as well as an architectural challenge,” says Rob Whitten, founding principal of Whitten Architects, who took on the project. “Both homes needed to relate to one another while honoring their own identities and affording both families their privacy,” he notes.

Deep Forest Allure

Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberts Imaging

A pair of stone piers and an alley of 70-year-old white pines leading to the waterfront welcome visitors to the property. “Because of the dense tree cover and our clients’ desire for daylight and lake views, we worked with a local arborist to site the camp around healthy trees while removing diseased evergreens,” says Whitten. “Our site-specific design planned for an open space between the camps on the inland side for family games and interaction,” he adds.

“We strived to maintain some of the big trees close to the house to honor the woods,” says Drew Bortles, a project manager at Whitten Architects who worked with Rob on the overall design. “It brings a level of age to the home, and we wanted this house to feel as if it had always been there,” he adds.

Camp-style Charisma

Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberts Imaging

Nostalgic about the lake life, the homeowners—both with Maine roots—love the relaxed feel here and the area’s endless opportunities to connect with nature. Actively involved in the design process, they drew inspiration from turn-of-the-century waterfront camps. They wanted their home to take on a traditional look—an exposed post-and-beam structure with warm wood finishes—compatible with the neighboring parents’ camp yet with a more modern, light-filled open floor plan. 

The home features an exposed timber frame with white cedar shingles on the upper portion and red cedar boards running horizontally around the first level. The rustic appeal of a fieldstone chimney is echoed in the terrace walls that surround a bluestone patio out back. Hand-split granite was salvaged from the site and repurposed as part of an entry bench, a fireplace hearth, and a screened porch bench.

“This house is very focused on the waterfront and all the solar exposures,” explains Rob. “The son and his dad share a common driveway, and their screened porches face each other but still offer each home privacy. They all share the lakefront space, which includes a dock and a kayak rack. Creating a direct connection from indoor living spaces to outdoor living spaces was a key part of our design,” he explains.

The wrapped and screened porches with exposed Douglas fir rafters extend the interior spaces outdoors and provide an idyllic spot for entertaining and a play space for the kids—rain or shine. The lakeside terrace offers a sunny oasis to unwind on long afternoons, and a fire pit invites marshmallow roasts on cool evenings. A long dock allows the family easy swim access to the area’s main attraction—the lake.

Sunny and Spacious

Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberts Imaging

The sun-drenched kitchen connects visually to the lake outside and features bi-parting sliders on the right side of the bank of windows that open to the front porch. To complement their home’s camp-style architectural design, the couple hired interior designer Krista Stokes to help them create a relaxed, down-to-earth aesthetic. Using a soft, understated color palette throughout, she gave the kitchen cabinetry an unexpected wash of Farrow & Ball Green Smoke paint—a shade they surprisingly discovered to be similar to the next-door parents’ kitchen. 

“The open shelving has a very campy feel,” Bortles comments, “and contemporary lighting fixtures take on a vintage look. The Macaubas quartzite countertop—a type of Brazilian granite—provides a nice textural contrast to the butcher block island topped in solid white oak plank,” he adds.  

Additional first-floor living spaces include a full pantry, mudroom, half bath, full laundry, and a getaway space with an office and TV.

Cozy and Casual

Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberts Imaging

To invite spaciousness and light, Whitten designed open-plan living and dining spaces that emulate the look of traditional camp cottages as well as the neighboring parents’ house. Horizontal nickel-gap white pine boards outfit the walls and ceilings in a natural matte finish, and knotty white oak floorboards lend a gracefully aged patina. Oiled Douglas fir ceiling beams display a subtle red hue overhead, creating a tangible and satisfying warmth within. 

A slipcovered sofa and a built-in window seat are among the family’s favorite hangout spots for reading or snuggling in front of the fire. A Moroccan rug anchors the seating area and complements the solid fabrics with a bold graphic pattern. 

“This area is a haven of outdoor recreation with many lakes, spectacular fishing, a nearby ski resort, and ATV and hiking trails,” says Whitten. “The family visits every week—even in the winter—so we made sure to implement energy-efficient features including high-performance windows, spray foam insulation, and radiant heated floors. There’s also a home office where the couple can work remotely,” he sums.

Effortless Elegance

Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberts Imaging

Backdropped by an open staircase, the adjacent dining area is kept airy and light with minimal clean-lined furnishings, including a reclaimed pine farmhouse-style table from Restoration Hardware, hand-crafted Shaker-style chairs from O&G Studio, and a black iron chandelier from Ballard Designs. Unobtrusive yet ample cabinetry hugs the back wall and creates even more room to breathe.

Scenic Stairway

Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberts Imaging

A nickel-gap pine-board accent wall creates a glorious window to the woods atop the staircase leading to the second-story master suite, two guest bedrooms, a bunk room that sleeps five, and a generous Jack-and-Jill bathroom. Hudson Bay wool blankets draped over the stair rail give colorful texture to a cozy nook at the top of the stairs.

Find Your Niche

Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberts Imaging

Perhaps some of the home’s most inviting features are the cozy built-in nooks made for reading, sleeping, and daydreaming. Upstairs, cocoon-like bunk beds give the kids a secret alcove all their own, and the living room’s reading nook offers the best seat in the house for watching a summer rainstorm or the first winter snowfall. 

“We enjoyed designing all the built-ins, and I especially enjoyed having a hand in the bunk beds and all the finishes in that room,” says Bortles. “Throughout the property, we worked with the homeowners to create spaces that encourage little pauses—special moments—where you can just take it all in. The bunk room conjures memories of staying up late into the night and chatting, and the breathtaking views from the window seat and the terrace outside inspire you to ponder the beautiful natural environment and the refreshing lake beyond.”

Lakeside Living: The Essential Outdoor Kitchen

Photo courtesy of DesRosiers Architects

As lake lovers, we thoroughly embrace outdoor living and the scenic natural beauty that surrounds us. So much it seems, we’ve taken all the creature comforts we enjoy inside and seamlessly transitioned them to the great outdoors—including our kitchens!

The pandemic has made us realize that this essential outdoor space provides a luxurious retreat and creates a blissful stay-cation environment anytime we want it. So, what’s trending now in outdoor kitchens? We went to the experts to get their 2021 A-list.

Full-Scale Functionality

Photo courtesy of Sterling Custom Homes

“Several years ago, it was more common to see small set-ups, simple grill islands, modest wet bars, and other similar designs,” says interior designer Whitney L. Paden, sales director for Werever Outdoor Cabinetry in Riverview, FL. “Now our customers are not only including a grill, sink, and refrigerator, but want additional side burners, power burners for large boils and wok cooking, pizza ovens, cocktail centers, and more. We see the outdoor kitchen become an entertaining oasis—and really, a destination,” she sums.

“The outdoor kitchen/living space has become paramount to experiencing a healthy lifestyle in the days since COVID-19,” says interior designer Cristie Schlosser, RID, ASID, owner of Schlosser Design Group, LLC in Dallas, TX. Cristie is also president of the North Texas Plains Chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the world’s leading trade association for the kitchen and bath industry. “Those who did not have an outdoor kitchen—just a grill—ramped up their desire to spend more time living outdoors. 

As a result, we’re now designing outdoor kitchens with deep sinks for prep and cleaning, frost-free outdoor-rated faucets, built-in grills with proper ventilation, and exhaust hoods to draw the smoke away, especially when the grill is close to the entry of your home. 

Using stainless steel is also critical when planning for longevity,” she notes. High-performing wine coolers, stainless-steel sinks, and built-in two-sided grills top the wish list for 2021. 

Sufficient Storage

Photo courtesy of Landscaping Network

Since lake homeowners are spending more time than ever before in their outdoor spaces, more storage is an absolute necessity—the bigger, the better. Ample outdoor storage also prevents us from having to run in and out of the house numerous times. Whitney recommends weather-resistant kitchen cabinets that are made of marine-grade high-density polyethylene (HDPE). “Our cabinetry specifically has become quite popular as a fully functioning storage and utility solution in the outdoor environment, providing pull-out trash cans, drawer storage for utensils and other kitchen goods, and cabinet space for smaller appliances and cookware,” she says. Added storage for pull-out smokers is also becoming a popular request.

Superstar Surfaces

Photo courtesy of Dekton

“Surface options for outdoor spaces have improved greatly,” comments Cristie. “I love using sintered materials for countertops and backsplashes. These easy-to-clean, highly compact porcelain and quartz slabs are thinner and lighter weight with gorgeous stonelike patterns—Neolith and Dekton are two brands we specify,” she notes. This high-tech process of sintering involves an accelerated version of the change that natural stone undergoes when subjected to high temperatures and pressure over thousands of years. “I think the use of sintered materials is going to the biggest and most long-lasting trend,” she says. “You can build an outdoor kitchen that looks luxurious—like it was meant to be indoors—through the use of these strong heat, frost, and stain-resistant panels.”

In addition, there are now outdoor-rated options for quartz and granite—not all types can be used outside due to the resin content applied in the manufacturing process that yellows over time. Cristie advises homeowners to be aware that using materials unauthorized for outdoor use may also void any warranties. For more information on outdoor kitchen countertop options, visit HGTV.

Elegant Earth Tones

Photo courtesy of Dwell

Our deepened desire to connect with the outdoors has prompted earth tones to emerge once again. Experts at Werever Outdoor Cabinets report that “shades of ocean blue, terracotta, beige, brown, and emerald green embody this color palette,” and influential brands like Benjamin Moore have named the soothing hue Aegean Teal as the Color of the Year for 2021.

“When it comes to color, we see a strong interest in gray as well, whether lighter or darker in value,” says Whitney. “We also introduced sapphire blue to our collection for spring 2021, and this is quickly becoming a favorite. Rich dark brown espresso still remains our most popular color year after year and throughout the entire country,” she notes. “Navy blue kitchens are trendy in lake and coastal areas and can provide a beautiful deep-toned yet eye-popping aesthetic.”

Photo courtesy of Werever Outdoor Cabinets

Whitney reports that the other end of the earth tone spectrum is also popular, with warmer hues and woodgrain finishes making a comeback. Undoubtedly, earthy shades align with our recent quest for all things organic. The overall look emanates a refreshing outdoorsy vibe, something that lake homeowners—and people everywhere—celebrate wholeheartedly after a year spent on lockdown. 

Looking Forward

Photo courtesy of Plesser’s Appliance Blog

As the world reopens and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s exciting to realize the long-term benefits of an outdoor kitchen. Aside from increasing the value of our lake homes, they now have become an essential component of our “new normal.” With a heightened consciousness of indoor dining risks, we’re all likely to continue outdoor get-togethers regularly and long into the future. With that in mind, Cristie offers these common-sense tips:

  • Build a kitchen that fits the style of your home and doesn’t look like an afterthought.
  • Keep in mind the sun’s direction when most of the cooking will occur, and strategize where to provide the appropriate type of shade. 
  • Prepare for cooking outdoors year-round—rain, snow, or sleet.
  • Make sure your space can handle the outdoors’ wear and tear and meet your cooking needs—and always buy the best quality grill you can afford.

So head outside and get cooking! When the time comes for all of us to gather once again, our outdoor kitchens will be there, offering a relaxing oasis where good times always happen.

Best Security Cameras for Your Lake House

Security cameras are one of the most necessary tools for your home. Especially for lake properties, which are typically second homes, it’s even more crucial to make your house less vulnerable to break-ins. Plus, security systems provide a significant advantage to deterring robbers. According to High Security Home, not having a home security system increases your chances of being robbed by 300%. Thankfully, with modern technology, keeping your home safe is easier than ever. Primarily with Wi-Fi access, you can check on your lake house’s safety from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re new to home safety systems or looking to upgrade your technology, check out the best security cameras for your lake house from top brands.

Lorex Technology Wi-Fi Security Cameras

Lorex Home Center.

The newest Wi-Fi security camera from Lorex is perfect for any lake homeowner. With two outdoor cameras and one indoor camera, you can keep a close eye on both curbs of your home — your home front and lakefront. The stand-out feature of this product is the ability to control the cameras with the sound of your voice. Commands like “Lorex, show me all outdoor cameras” and “Lorex, turn on all warning lights on outdoor cameras” utilize the same technology as an Alexa to help you keep tabs on your home from anywhere. In response, sensors can be linked to a nearby Wi-Fi camera to start recording. After the sun has set, color night vision helps provide maximum security.

Piper Home Security Cameras

Piper Security System.

New from Piper, this all-in-one security camera is a simple yet effective way to equip your lake house for maximum protection. It has all the features of the best security cameras, complete with pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities to view all parts of the room. You can set this device on one of three different modes: home, security, and vacation. If ever security mode is breached, an intruder deterrent siren will immediately go off. The two-way audio system allows you to use Piper as a video intercom to check in with family or pets. This way, it feels like you never left your home! No matter where you are in the world — whether you’re at your permanent residence or on vacation — you can watch live or recorded videos of your lake home from your phone or tablet.

Blink XT Wireless Security Camera

Photo courtesy of Digital Trends.

Ranked by Security.org as the most affordable outdoor camera (starting at $99.99), the Blink XT is undoubtedly one of the best security cameras out there. New from this Amazon-owned company, this product can run for an impressive two years with only two AA batteries. The simple set up makes this a perfect product if you’re just getting started in home security. Plus, its waterproof capabilities make it ideal for screening your lakefront property. So you can monitor your lake home while you’re away, the Blink XT comes with an easy-to-use app that can work with your Alexa. At a low price, you can have peace of mind about your home’s safety.

Ring Spotlight Cam

Photo courtesy of Ring.com.

Ring’s products consistently rank among the best security cameras for a reason. The wire-free and waterproof features, combined with a simple installation, makes it very attractive to homeowners. The new spotlight cam is specifically known for its integrated spotlight, siren, and motion detection. With instant motion-activated alerts and a high-quality night vision camera, you can quickly determine whether it’s your mom or a total stranger at the door. The ability to hear, see, and speak to anyone on your property from a phone or tablet offers an additional stand-out feature. 

Nest Outdoor Cam

Photo courtesy of Chris Monroe/CNET.

Nest, a product of Google, is another well-known contender among the best security cameras. The Nest Outdoor Cam has every important feature of a high-quality outdoor camera — two-way audio, HD vision, face detection, night vision, and 24-hour recording. If you’re a new lake homeowner, you might be attracted to Nest’s simple installation process, using only a magnet. With push notifications for any activity in your front and backyard, you’ll be able to monitor your home’s safety easily — even if it’s been a month since you’ve made the trek to the lake house.   

Security cameras with remote access provide the best solution for most lake homeowners. These security cameras are worth investing in, especially if you don’t live on the lake full time. Which one is your top pick?

A Guide to Septic Tanks at Your Lake House

If your lake home is not on a municipal sewer plant, you’re probably familiar with septic tanks. If you’re new to this topic, we’re here to help. Septic systems collect wastewater in domestic residences and are considered a simple OSSF (on-site sewage facility). At a lake home, septic tank upkeep is more crucial due to water contamination risks. To help you remain an informed lake homeowner, we consulted experts to answer frequent questions you may have about septic tanks. 

What are the Best Types of Septic Tanks?

Septic systems – EPA.

There are two types of septic tanks — concrete and plastic. The concrete tank’s durability makes it the ideal choice. Plastic tanks are the default when the installation company can’t access the site with heavy concrete delivery equipment. “This can be due to trees, fences, power lines, property lines, steep lots, and landscaping,” explains Jeanie Lentz of Lentz Wastewater, whose company covers Lake Norman and the Piedmont region of North Carolina. 

Beyond these two categories, nine different systems exist. You can visit the Environmental Protection Agency website for full descriptions of each type of septic tank. According to Justin Edwards, a septic tank installation contractor from Michigan, chamber systems are best for a lake house. “These are popular near rivers and lakes where excess water is common,” he explains. 

If your lake house’s septic tank isn’t a concrete chamber system, no need to worry. “Ultimately,” says Jeanie Lentz, “the best type of system is a system that’s installed appropriately by a licensed installer and properly maintained by the homeowner.” As such, proper maintenance is more important than the type of septic tank.

What Types of Clearance are Best?

Photo courtesy of bigboredrilling.com.

Your required clearance from a body of water depends on the state in which you’re located. However, the average distance that local ordinances mandate is 50 feet from springs, lakes, or water streams and 100 feet from any public water supply. To be safe, Mitch Turner from Septic Masters LLC recommends 100 feet of clearance for lake properties. Be sure to check local regulations in your lake area. 

How Often Should You Check the Tank?

Septic inspection – YouTube.

Mitch Turner advises checking your tank every three years. This can change depending on other factors, such as how many people live in the home and how often you use it. For instance, a house with a family of five members would need more regular maintenance than a household of two. Further, if you live permanently on the lake, you’d need to check the septic more often than if your lake house is a vacation home.
Another consideration with your septic system is proximity to the water. If you’re living next to a lot of water overflow, Justin Edwards says it would be beneficial to check and empty the tank annually. “It’s very important to clean septic tanks routinely. Otherwise, all the toxins will build up and kill the bacteria that is responsible for breaking down the waste in the first place,” he says.
You may also notice other clues that tell you it’s time for tank inspection. For instance, if you see wet spots, hear gurgling, or detect a bad odor, hire a professional to check your septic system.

How Much do Septic Tanks Cost?

Depending on the type of system, the cost of septic tanks can vary greatly. On average, it’s safe to assume you’ll be between $400-$800 out of pocket. This spend is not much different from a residential home unless your property requires you to invest in a less conventional septic tank. 

However, keep in mind that this cost represents the tank itself, not including the installation process. For more insight, Home Advisor posts the national 2020 average total costs. According to this report, you can expect to pay around $6,216. 

Is Septic Tank Maintenance Different at a Lake House?

septic-system-awwa
Photo courtesy of AWWA.

At a lake house, more is at stake. “Maintaining water quality is the primary concern with any water-adjacent sanitary sewage system,” says Jesse Silkoff, founder and co-president of MyRoofing Pal. Lake homeowners have a responsibility to the nearby body of water.

Despite the higher call of duty, there should be no difference in your behavior at a residential home versus a lake home. For instance, in both houses, you would not pour chemicals down the drain, use the garbage disposal, or park near the septic tank. “The biggest difference would be how often you perform maintenance on it since you’ll want to clean and empty lake home septic tanks more regularly,” says Justin Edwards. 

Even then, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for septic tank maintenance at a lake home. The type and cost of maintenance depend on the topography, presence of bedrock, the height of the water table, and type of soil. For instance, a North Carolina lake house is likely more rocky and elevated than a Wisconsin home

There are multiple considerations when deciding on the type of system and its maintenance. Septic systems are often necessary for the lake homeowner due to the often rural locations of many lakes. Consult a local septic tank expert for personalized advice on the topic and remember to consider the septic system when buying, selling, or building your next lake home. 

What is Wabi-Sabi Design and Why it’s Perfect for a Lake Home

Photo courtesy of Mademoiselle Claudine via The Spruce.

In recent years, concepts from various countries have become trendy in U.S. interior design like the Swedish idea of hygge, meaning comfort and coziness, which has grown in popularity. From further east, the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi has made its way into U.S. architecture and interior decor. Before diving headfirst into this trend, it’s important to understand its meaning and cultural context. For wabi-sabi specifically, this meaning happens to be aligned with the lake lifestyle. Let’s take a deep dive into this concept and why it’s perfect for a lake home. 

What is Wabi-Sabi?

Photo courtesy of Joelle Magazine.

Although the trend is relatively new, the concept is rooted in ancient Japanese culture. Specifically, it comes from Buddhist tea ceremonies where the tea masters used simple, rustic, and irregularly shaped utensils. When you break the word down, “Wabi” refers to understated elegance that is often found in nature. “Sabi” is a celebration of the imperfections that come with aging. Wabi-sabi describes something humble, authentic, and beautifully imperfect. In other words, it’s appreciating the way something is rather than how it should be

Wabi-Sabi in Design

Photo courtesy of My Modern Met.

In keeping with this definition, wabi-sabi design is typically asymmetrical, modest, and intimate. A classic example of these characteristics is kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending cracked pottery with gold and silver resin. Instead of trying to hide the ceramics’ flaws, this technique celebrates them. 

Photo courtesy of Wallsauce.com.

In 1994, Leonard Koren’s book Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets, and Philosophers garnered more widespread attention. The work of architects like Tadao Ando made wabi-sabi into a lauded design trend. For the interior decorator, wabi-sabi design techniques include mixing and matching, embracing and repurposing old items, artisanal decor, and homemade projects. However, just because it’s an eclectic style doesn’t mean it’s full of clutter. A wabi-sabi space should also be highly organized and peaceful.

The Appeal of Wabi-Sabi

Photo courtesy of DECOR8.

In a world where the latest trends are aiming for perfection and newness, wabi-sabi is refreshing. Helen White, design lead at House Of, says, “I think the main appeal of this style is that it appeals to the unpretentious and whimsical among us. There is so much beauty in the weather-beaten, cracks, and bumps in items as there are in meticulously crafted, smooth edges.” Further, this style offers permission to pick decor that simply brings you joy, even if it doesn’t match a specific aesthetic. Instead of showcasing a particular trend, wabi-sabi design introduces the people who live there. 

Invoking Wabi-Sabi at Your Lake House

Photo courtesy of dwell.com.

Wabi-sabi is evident in nature. Flora and fauna are not engineered to look a certain way– they simply are what they are, even as they age. At the lake, you’re surrounded by wabi-sabi. More broadly, the idea of leaving the city behind and retreating to nature with your loved ones is in itself, wabi-sabi. Since the lake lifestyle already adopts this concept, why not reflect it in your decor?

Photo courtesy of theuppers.com.

Jeneva Aaron, founder, and CEO of The House Wire, describes, “Wabi-sabi design is also about bringing nature inside your house. This is very much possible when designing a lake house… I believe the wabi-sabi concept is used in most lake house designs because of the natural effect. People are now more into fulfillment over materialism.” In practice, you may incorporate earthy tones and organic materials into your decor, such as driftwood. The bottom line is that it should reflect something you genuinely love, even if it’s not in vogue. After all, lake homes should be welcoming, and a wabi-sabi style expresses that sense of warmth.

What do you think? Would you consider incorporating wabi-sabi into your lake house decor?

2020 Outdoor Furniture Design Trends For Your Lake Home

navy and white coastal theme - outdoor furniture decor inspiration lake house
Photo courtesy of Martha Dayton Design.

With Spring quickly approaching, revamping your lake house decor might be on your mind. Of course, warmer weather means hosting family and friends on your outdoor patio, and as such, you may be wondering if your current outdoor furniture is sufficient or if it’s time for an upgrade. If this is you, we’ve got you covered with the outdoor furniture design trends of 2020.

Leaders in the outdoor furniture industry such as Brown Jordan, Sunbrella, and Summer Classics have all shared their cutting-edge insights about these trends on their respective blogs. We’ve synthesized the top trends from these companies’ reports and are here to share with you the latest color, material, product, and design trends for the year. We hope these inspire you to get started on redecorating your outdoor area at your lake home!

Color Trend – Say Goodbye to Saturation

While bright, bold colors were in style a few years ago, the theme that’s been emerging over the past few years is color-infused neutrals. Rather than aiming to wow your guests with bright neon pillows, you’ll instead find that fabric trends are headed in a more muted direction.  These faded shades create a softer look that complements the outdoor furniture’s material, rather than overshadowing it.

neutral wicker patio farmhouse style - southern living decor inspiration
Photo courtesy of Southern Living Magazine.

To highlight this trend, Brown Jordan named Peche (French for “Peach”)– a dusty pink color, similar to rose gold– the color of the year in 2019. This color has also featured prominently in 2020 designs. Of course, peche is not the only neutral color that’s trending this year. Blue, especially a bluish-gray color called chambray, is still a classic, can’t-go-wrong color for pillows and cushions. Further, luxury umbrella retailer Shadowspec has named dark green as another trending color in 2020. Especially at a lake house where grass and trees abound, featuring green fabrics in your outdoor designs creates a look cohesive with nature.

Material Trend – Create Texture Variety

This year, don’t be afraid to mix different materials when it comes to your outdoor furniture. Whether you’re combining a concrete dining table with wicker seats or a teak sofa with an aluminum end table, the goal is to evoke an exciting, textured look. However, it’s best to be cautious about which materials you choose to combine. To avoid a junky, haphazard situation, start by focusing on two elements and exploring different combinations.

lake house boat house - outdoor furniture decor inspiration
Photo courtesy of John Bessler.

Currently, some of the most popular products in 2020 are natural materials such as wood and wicker. Lucky for lakeside dwellers, these materials fit seamlessly with the shoreline in your backyard. They also create an exciting sense of texture that already exists in nature. Another popular content to mix into your designs this year is concrete. On its own, concrete appears strictly industrial. However, when combined with contrasting materials like fabrics and wood, it takes on a more dynamic look.

Product Trend – In Keeping with Comfort

The trend of outdoor kitchens has been on the rise for the past decade, and there are no signs of this trend slowing down. As lake homeowners continue to host gatherings in their outdoor kitchens, whether it’s a small family get-together or a large party of guests, furniture manufacturers have kept up by creating large dining tables to accommodate the lifestyle of entertaining. This way, every guest can have a comfortable seat at the table.

daybed hayneedle summer - outdoor furniture decor lake house
Photo courtesy of Hayneedle.

Based on this trend as well as other popular products, it’s clear that comfort is the name of the game in 2020. Luxury furniture retailer Summer Classics lists barrel chairs as a new outdoor furniture trend this year. These chairs, designed with a broad, curved back rather than a traditional box frame, are made for ultimate relaxation. If you’re looking to dive right into the comfort theme of 2020, consider investing in a daybed. Hayneedle, an online home furnishings retailer, names daybeds as one of the top outdoor furniture trends this year. What better place to relax and take a nap than on a plush daybed surrounded by your beautiful lakefront property?

Design Trend – Stick to Simple

modern luxurious sofa outdoor inspiration
Photo courtesy of Summer Classics.

Quoted in the luxury lifestyle magazine Arizona Foothills, the chief brand curator for Brown Jordan notes that furniture with modern, clean lines is the trend for 2020. This simplistic style has been recently popular in interior decorating, and now, it’s making its way to outdoor designs as well. High-end retailer Summer Classics agrees, and they have incorporated this style into their 2020 collections Elegante and Claro. Both of these lines showcase unembellished elegance, underscoring the beauty of a simple, linear design. Additionally, Shadowspec names minimalism as a big outdoor furniture trend in 2020.  Especially in the outdoor space of a lake house, choosing a minimalistic style will beautifully blend with your natural surroundings rather than overshadowing them.

We hope these 2020 outdoor furniture trends give you inspiration for your lake house designs. The use of stylish color and content will add fashion to your home and your life!

Brighten Up Your Lake Home with Dried Florals

living room lake house decorate ideas - dried florals flowers ideas arrangements
Photo courtesy of Botanical Tales.

In most parts of the country, it may not be warm enough to keep fresh flowers thriving. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the joy of decorating with florals in your home. Dried flowers can add a beautiful spring-like touch to your lake home, even when the weather hasn’t quite caught up yet. It would help if you didn’t have to compromise when it comes to spring florals, and by drying your flowers and stems, you don’t have to sacrifice your aesthetic. We have some advice on how to select, dry, and arrange your dried florals to add an element of joy to your lake home that will carry you through to summer.

Continue reading “Brighten Up Your Lake Home with Dried Florals”

Let it Snow (But Don’t Let it Stay): Tips for Managing Cold Weather at Your Lake House

Lake Tahoe cabin home

For those who live in southern states, winter may come and go with a minimal impact on your lake house. Perhaps it’s sunny most of the year and no new maintenance is necessary. However, if you live on one of the lakes in a colder region of the country, then you’re no stranger to the snow. As temperatures drop, a myriad of concerns increases. How can you protect your indoor pipes? How can you remove snow from your lake house and ice from your dock? While we’d all rather be focusing on decorating our lake house for the holidays, it’s crucial for any lake home owner to have tools to address these practical winter problems. At Lake Homes, we’re here to help with tips for managing cold weather concerns at your lake house. Whether you live on the lake year round or it’s your second home, we know first-hand the importance of a little maintenance when the weather outside is frightful.

Outdoor De-Icing

Boathouse deicer tips for managing cold weather
Photo courtesy of LakeIce.

Naturally, the most fundamental concern for the outdoor areas of your lake house is snow. Peter Elsenbach, the Director of Marketing of Raynor Garage Doors, speaks to the importance of managing it: “Adequately removing snow and ice from your driveway at your lake home not only provides an increased measure of safety for the foot traffic entering a home through the garage but can also help prolong the life of your garage door, where boats are typically stored.” Unlike snow that falls on the open areas of your property, snow by the garage door on your dock doesn’t have the ability to melt and refreeze which can cause the door to get stuck and become more difficult to open.

Boathouse deicer with warning sign
Photo courtesy of LakeIce.

To remedy this, Elsenbach suggests using a snowblower, as well as ice melt and salt to remove heavy snow from your lake house. You may also want to invest in a dock de-icer. First designed to allow you to store your boat in water during the winter months, you can use de-icers for a variety of outdoor snow maintenance tasks at your lake house. Be sure not to forget about your patio furniture too! Especially when it comes to outdoor cushions, these pieces can be sensitive to the snow. Make sure to clean and dry them, and either store them inside or cover them with a tarp for protection.

Indoor Dilemmas

Indoor lake home living room with snow outside
Photo courtesy of Mountain Living.

To make sure that your lake house interior is ready for winter, it’s crucial to maintain your heating systems. From stoves to chimney drafts, it may be a good idea to have a technician help inspect your heating systems so that you’ll be able to keep your place warm. Windows and doors are also a major culprit of letting the cold in, so it’s important to insulate your windows for the winter. Even small window cracks can make a big difference in the indoor temperature.

Lake house on a frozen lake
Photo courtesy of CabinLife.

Alex Berezowski, Owner and General Manager of The Foundation Experts Inc, a foundation repair and home waterproofing company, urges lake homeowners to not forget about insulating their pipes. He comments, “It’s fairly common for pipes to burst during the winter since there is water freezing inside of them if they’re not in use. The water expands, which increases the pressure on the pipes, resulting in a burst.” If your lake house is your second home, and you’re planning to be absent for a while during the winter, Berezowski suggests bleeding all water lines and drains before they freeze. If your lake house is older and pipes have never been replaced, he also recommends properly insulating them with pipe sleeves or electrical heating tape. Elsenbach also chimes in with advice on prepping pipes for the winter. Specifically, when it comes to pipes in your garage or around your house, he advises “putting Styrofoam covers on spigots and turning off water to the outside once the weather starts to turn cold.” And don’t forget to break off large icicles so you don’t experience a falling hazard.

Living in a cold lake region certainly has its benefits, like providing your own personal winter wonderland. You can build snowmen with the family, go skating, and go ice fishing all in your own backyard. Although these fun attributes come with certain challenges like ensuring proper heating and de-icing strategies, taking good care of your lake home is worth the trouble for all the joy you experience.

Don’t forget about your boat! Read “How to Winterize Your Boat for the Off Season” for more tips on preparing for the upcoming winter season.

Why Your Lake Home Needs an Outdoor Shower

Sure, it sounds backwards to have a shower on the outside of your house, but if you live at the lake, an outdoor shower may be exactly what your lake home is missing.

Take a few minutes to check out the benefits of installing an outdoor shower to your home, and see how easy it can be to do it yourself!

Benefits of an Outdoor Shower

Convenient, mess-free changing room:

Photo Courtesy of Wayfair.com

How many times have you had to walk through your home — wet and freezing — just to make it to a changing room after a day on the lake?

Not only is it a chilly trek, but the trail of water you leave behind can potentially damage your floors and cause unsuspecting lake lovers to slip and fall.

An outdoor shower provides a convenient (and warm) place to change out of your wet clothes and allows you to rinse any leftover lake grime down the drain. Trust us, your floors and your guests will thank you!

Visitor Overflow:

When you own a lake home, you’re suddenly the most popular person among your family and friends. As a result, your home is often overrun with visitors during the lake season.

An outdoor shower can help better accommodate these guests by being an alternative washing spot when indoor showers are occupied.

To ensure patrons are comfortable, be sure to enclose your outdoor shower with privacy walls and a equip it with a latch or locking mechanism.

For added convenience, outdoor showers can even be connected to your home’s hot water supply for a more enjoyable showering experience.

Adds Value to Your Home:

That’s right: an outdoor shower can ADD to the value of your lake home!

According to HGTV’s article, “Which Home Improvements Pay Off?,” adding a bathroom to your home can increase a home’s sale price by almost 9 percent.

While your outdoor shower won’t be a full bathroom, this additional space can still bump up your lake home’s value, even if only by a little.

Do it Yourself – How to Build an Outdoor Shower

Whether your outdoor shower is as simple as a water hose hanging from a tree, or as extravagant as an enclosed room with a waterfall shower head is up to you!

For something basic, all you need is the following materials:

Photo Courtesy of campingroxx.com

  • two extra-large hula hoops
  • water-proof/resistant material
  • a wooden pallet
  • sewing materials
  • 10 ft. of rope or cord
  • a water hose
  • water spigot access
  • a tree with low-hanging limbs
  • old-fashioned ladder

Construction Instructions:

  1. Take your waterproof/resistant material and sew it to one of the hula hoops, similar to sewing curtains around a dowel rod. Once completed, your material and hula hoop should resemble a tube.
  2. Next, secure the second hula hoop to the bottom of this tube. This will add a little weight to the bottom of the enclosure.
  3. Around the top opening of the enclosure, cut 4 holes large enough to slip your cord or rope through. These holes should be made slightly below the hoop itself, and spaced out like the points of a compass with one point at each direction.
  4. Take your rope or cord and cut it into fourths, with each fourth at the same length.
  5. You will next tie each rope to the top hoop through the four holes you previously made. Be sure these a tied securely to ensure your shower enclosure does not collapse while in use.
  6. After each rope is secured to the base, connect all four ends together, so that they make a peak from which you can hang the enclosure and slide the enclosure over a low-hanging limb. Be sure to choose a tree that in on a slight incline, if possible, to allow for better water run-off.
  7. Next, take your water hose, connected to the water spigot, and wrap it around the same limb so that it rests above the center of the enclosure’s open top.
  8. Take your pallet and place it under your hanging shower enclosure to serve as the platform on which users will stand to shower.
  9. Lastly, lean your old-fashioned ladder against the tree. This will be where your towels can hang until you are ready to dry off.
  10. Finally, your shower is ready for use!

For more outdoor shower ideas, explore these 32 beautiful DIY outdoor showers, and be sure to check out our other home improvement blogs here!