On Water’s Edge

The King family teams up with Mountain Brook Interiors to create the perfect lake retreat.

Written by Brett Levine

Photography by Edward Badham


“Melanie sent us a number of options, but when we saw this one, my wife knew it was it,” says Greg King. “And now, we are really proud of it.” The “one” in question is a beautiful live-edge table, a bold statement piece that anchors the expanse of living spaces on the main level of the home King and his wife, Kendall, have recently completed at Lake Martin. “It had everything we wanted,” Kendall continues. “It was large, it was warm, it was unique, and it still had the casual feeling we were trying to ensure we had for ourselves and our family.” The live-edge table anchors the dining area and is situated in front of a custom banquette designed to leave the view unimpeded while seating as many people as possible.

The Melanie he mentions is Melanie Pounds of Mountain Brook Interiors. She, Laurie Grantham, Amy Belt, Mary Louise Melendez, and Tyler Wilson describe the project as the perfect collaboration, and the Kings as open and receptive to design ideas. “Kendall and Greg want their home to function as livable family space,” Pounds explains. “So from the beginning, the design decisions that were made involved adding elements that were multipurpose and would provide the most family-friendly environment that could be created.” The home, designed by architect Hank Long of Henry Sprott Long and Associates and built by Mark Bell of Bell Contracting, captures the essence of the lake masterfully. “We were incredibly lucky to be able to work on the project from the beginning,” Pounds says. “We had the opportunity to share ideas about handle, beam, and door designs, as well as finishes—decisions that seem small at the beginning but that can go a long way toward making a home feel cohesive.”

This included a color scheme that subtly mirrors the environment as one moves throughout the house. The front door, painted a muted green to suggest the lush landscape, opens into an open-plan living, dining, and kitchen area. The living room is anchored by an oversize, custom coffee table that is five by five feet square. “This is an incredibly versatile piece,” Pounds says. “It is everything from a game table to an extra dining table for the kids.”

_EBV3447Rich, natural tones and textures abound throughout the home. “Given the timber interiors and beam construction,” Pounds explains, “we took a generally monochromatic approach to wall colorings and treatments. We layered a series of greys and pebble tones and then highlighted it throughout with an accent red.” The accent color is featured in luxurious draperies that frame the windows, as well as in a cannonball lamp adding a pop of color on a console table behind the living room’s overstuffed sofa. The console table features a travertine top. “It can double as a bar if it needs to,” Pounds says with a laugh.

One of the highlights of the main level is a hand-built stone masonry fireplace. “This is one of my favorite features of the entire house,” King says. “It is actually a double fireplace, upstairs and down, with independent flues that share the same chimney. I grew up with a wood-burning fireplace, and since we plan to be at the lake year-round, I couldn’t imagine anything that would make the place more comfortable.”

While the weather is warm, the family spends the majority of its time on the screened-in porch. “This is probably the space we use the most,” Kendall says. “I can’t think of a single meal we had all summer that didn’t happen on the porch. It has a teak dining table, two banana leaf chairs, and a swing—basically anything you would want to relax, read, and look out at the lake.”

“The live-edge table and the banquette really become the buffet for the porch,” Pounds explains. “It is all part of bringing the outside in, of understanding the casual ways people want to live at the lake.”

Each of the bedrooms has its own pleasures, too. They are comfortable and functional, although both the Kings and Pounds love the idea of the shared family space on the main living area. Still, the master bedroom is a retreat. A winged headboard and sheer curtains make the space just a little more intimate, focusing the views out onto the expanses of the lake. Given the topography of the lot, the bedroom is on the second story, and Pounds used this to her design advantage. “I wanted the bedroom to feel like an escape. It is a beautiful off-white, accented by side tables with petrified wood lamps. The bedding is layered, so it is simple to be comfortable throughout the seasons,” she shares. “What our team did was reflect the idea of the outside environment onto the open, clean, and simple interior of the bedroom.”

_EBV3647Focused on casual entertaining, Pounds made sure that the home considered how people live in the modern world. “There are individual outlets, plugs, and lamps in each of the four bunk beds downstairs, because that was a problem we could easily address with smart design,” she says. In the second downstairs bedroom, a second winged headboard continues the comforting theme, this time in a woven, grass-textured cloth. “Downstairs, the rooms have a different vista; we wanted the décor to continue to engage with the view in a very subtle but direct way,” she says.

The Kings believe that the partnerships they have with architect Hank Long and with the design team at Mountain Brook Interiors has led to a home that is more than they could have initially imagined. “I love the timeless feel and the use of natural materials,” Kendall  says. “We used as little sheetrock as we could throughout the home, and the wood and stone, as well as the other colors and materials, really make the house feel relaxed. It is a place we go to unwind, to be by the water, and to spend time with our kids, so really it is all about being comfortable.”

For Pounds and Mountain Brook Interiors, Kendall and Greg King are far more than clients. “We have a long-term relationship,” she says, “but more importantly, Kendall and Greg are receptive to design ideas and are really interested in how someplace to live truly becomes a home.”

And what is a home but a place to be together? This is what Mountain Brook Interiors delivered, and what the King family knew the experience was always about.

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