My Lake House Renovation- All About The View

Hello, Darlings!

Today I am continuing my series on My Lake House Renovation – All About The View. One of the first things we realized when purchasing the lake house was the value of the water. We are on one of the wider parts of the lake, giving us a great view of boating activity and sunsets.

My Lake House Renovation- All About The View

My Lake House Renovation- All About The View

But First, A Little History Of Smith Lake

 Smith Lake, is located on the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River in Cullman, Winston, and Walker counties. Covering nearly 22,000 acres, Smith Lake is hailed as the Southeast's most beautiful lake. It's also the third cleanest lake in the United States.

Smith Lake is located about an hour north of Birmingham and an hour south of Huntsville. This makes it an ideal location for a weekend getaway. Lewis Smith Lake is located on the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River in Cullman, Winston, and Walker counties. Covering nearly 22,000 acres, Smith Lake is the Southeast’s most beautiful lake. It’s also the third cleanest lake in the United States.

Lewis Smith Lake is the cleanest lake in Alabama, and 3rd in the nation.  Alabama Power heavily regulates what can be built along the shoreline.  Much of Smith Lake is located in the protected Bankhead National Forest and Sipsey Wilderness area
Lewis Smith Lake is the cleanest lake in Alabama, and 3rd in the nation. Alabama Power heavily regulates what can be built along the shoreline. Much of Smith Lake is located in the protected Bankhead National Forest and Sipsey Wilderness area

Created in 1957 by Alabama Power to regulate water to the Black Warrior River via Lewis Smith Lake Dam. Basically, they just flooded the valley. Even today divers can see homes and forests deep beneath the waters. This makes it an excellent lake for fishing, especially stripe and bass.

Lewis Smith Lake Dam was built to help regulate water to the Black Warrior River and provide hydroelectric power.
Lewis Smith Lake Dam was built to help regulate water to the Black Warrior River and provide hydroelectric power.

Today the lake is a recreational lake but still creates hydroelectric power. The lake is a very deep lake (over 300 feet in some spots) but lake levels change drastically from spring to late fall when electricity demands increase. Because of this, all docks are floating and must be approved by Alabama Power.

Value Is All About How Close You Are To The Water And Your View

When we purchased the house, the view was obstructed by trees. The first thing we did was cut down the overgrown shrubbery and remove over 30 trees to reveal the view.

Before Pic-A part of the renovation plan included getting control of the yard and exposing the view of the water 

A part of the renovation plan included getting control of the yard and exposing the view of the water
Before pic-We also had to do major work on the walkway and dock
We also had to do major work on the walkway and dock. The decision was made to replace the wood and put down composite wood decking for less upkeep. Because the docks have to float, they are made of either steel or aluminum. Ours is steel and requires painting every 5 years. Steel docks are less prone to damage from storms.

Creating Outdoor Living Spaces

The next part of our outdoor renovations was to remove the rotten screened in porch and replace it with a much larger porch. We also decided to reposition the stairs and create an outdoor deck area. Painting the brick updated the outside of the house immediately.

We decided to remove the small screen porch and build a much larger one
We decided to remove the small screen porch and build a much larger one
Our plans also included relocating the stairs and adding a smaller outdoor deck for grilling
Our plans also included relocating the stairs and adding a smaller outdoor deck for grilling

Budget Busting Decision We Will Never Regret

After the first year of using the extra-large screened in porch, my husband decided he was tired of cleaning the porch and wanted to glass it in to create an “all-season room”. A truly budget busting decision but it has changed how we use the space. Once only outdoor space to use during the spring/summer, now we can use the space all year round.

After a year of constantly cleaning the screen porch, we broke the budget and created an all-season sunroom.  Best thing ever!
After a year of constantly cleaning the screen porch, we broke the budget and created an all-season sunroom. Best thing ever!

With the extra large windows, we now have an incredible view of the lake. Which brought us to the next budget busting decision, landscape. We reinforced the existing brick wall with gorgeous local stone and added easily maintainable grass areas and shrubs. Dan’s father complained about the hours he spent up at the lake trying to get control of the “natural” yard. We hired a landscape crew who comes in twice a month.

The next major project was landscape, creating an easily maintainable yard for kids to play.
The next major project was landscape, creating an easily maintainable yard for kids and dogs to play.

It Is All About Outdoor Living

Now that we have control over the yard, it was time to create entertaining spaces. Outdoor entertaining is huge deal at the lake.

The stone patio was already in place, so I created a fire pit /sitting area. On a late summer evening or a fall/winter day, nothing is as inviting as a fire in the fire pit. I ordered a Fire Pit Kit from Home Depot. After delivery, it took about an hour and we were ready for our first fire. The furniture in the fire pit area is wrought iron and is easy to maintain. Each year I spruce it up with some black Rustoleum spray paint. We have the best sunset views!

The Stone patio was already in place.  A kit from Home Depot and our fire pit was ready in about an hour.  Rock pavers created a path from deck stairs to the walkway.
The Stone patio was already in place. A kit from Home Depot and our fire pit was ready in about an hour. Rock pavers created a path from deck stairs to the walkway.
Glowing fire after a long day of water fun. Perfect place to relax with a cocktail or make Smores. 

Glowing fire after a long day of water fun. Perfect place to relax with a cocktail or make Smores.

Enjoying The Deck

When we added the small deck I wasn’t sure how much use we would get. Wow, I was wrong. This is the area I have my morning coffee, read a book in the shade, and watch the sunset. We have a small table for outdoor eating and a grill.

This is where I have my morning coffee, read my books, and enjoy evening cocktails
This is where I have my morning coffee, read my books, and enjoy evening cocktails
Small table and chairs are perfect overflow for indoor seating and provides shade in the hot summer
Small table and chairs are perfect overflow for indoor seating and provides shade in the hot summer
No need for outdoor kitchen, the grill is in a perfect area (10 steps from kitchen).  Additional seating allows group to visit with the cook.
No need for outdoor kitchen, the grill is in a perfect area (10 steps from kitchen). Additional seating allows group to visit with the cook.
Spectacular sunset views all year round. 

Spectacular sunset views all year round.

How About A Little Splurge For A Romantic Evening?

I talked my husband into adding a hot tub to our outdoor entertaining spaces. With the vision of romantic evenings by moonlight, enjoying a glass of wine, and relaxing in the hot tub, I purchased a Hot Springs Spa from their Tiger Rivers Line. I don’t even think they make it anymore. The spa has been a joy with very little problems.

But, my romantic vision is more realistic with group of kids hanging out chatting it up. When we do get our turn, I love to enjoy it on a cool, crisp late fall/winter night with the stars out.

More kid fun than romantic nights- the hot tub has been a huge hit
More kid fun than romantic nights- the hot tub has been a huge hit

Drone Shot Of The Entire Outdoor Entertaining Plan In Place

Drone view of the entire completed project.
Drone view of the entire completed project.

Oh But Wait…

When my husband gets the renovation bug on, he gets these FABULOUS ideas (don’t forget the screened porch now sunroom). He is feeling overwhelmed by how much we have changed the house (put a loving on it) only regret is he wished his mom could have seen the changes. Dan’s dad was able to see the transformation, but Pappa Tom still loved sitting outside on the front porch area. So…

So… Dan decided to build this covered front porch area to create shade for his dad to sit and allow us to have a hanging swing for outdoor enjoyment. He thought it would give the “grandma house” some architectural character. I didn’t think we would use it that much, boy, was I wrong again. This area has become another favorite.

New front porch gives architectural details to the front of the house and creates an additional outdoor entertaining space

New front porch gives architectural details to the front of the house and creates an additional outdoor living space

In the process of building the new front porch, my husband decided to change the paint color of the house from a beige to a greige. (Kingsport Gray body, Sailcloth is the trim) We also changed out the shutters on the house to more of a cottage style. The flooring on the front porch is stamped concrete and the ceiling faux painted. Partial stone columns texture and a natural element.

New vinyl cottage style shutters replaced old heavy wooden ones
New vinyl cottage style shutters replaced old heavy wooden ones
Stamped concrete floors create a natural look for front porch sitting area
Stamped concrete floors create a natural look for front porch sitting area
Partial stone columns from local quarry. The trim color is Benjamin Moore's - Sailcloth
Partial stone columns from local quarry. The trim color is Benjamin Moore’s – Sailcloth
Vaulted ceiling was painted to a "worn" faux finish to continue the cottage theme look.
Vaulted ceiling was painted to a mimic a”worn” wooden look to continue the cottage theme

More Landscape

Next, taming the landscape in the front with an added grass area and some shrubs. The dogs love this area, and in the fall, boys throw the football while others gather on the front porch in the rocking chairs and swings. The best is a rainy day, you can sit under the large porch, swinging, listening to the storm. LOVE IT!

Large grass area in front yard for kids and dogs to play
Large grass area in front yard for kids and dogs to play

Something Fishy- Let’s Go Inside

The theme of our lake house - Somethin' Fishy
The theme of our lake house – Somethin’ Fishy

In my next post, I will take you inside the house and show you how have I decorated around some very weird elements (think the house was built by Bubba and Billy Bob-no… seriously)

This is a series, so make sure you see the Before & After pics – My Lake House Renovation- Renovating On A Budget

About Nifty 50 Fabulous

Embracing and loving the life of an empty nester, I am a fashion and lifestyle blogger currently living in Birmingham, Al. I enjoy spending my time with friends and family including my sweet miniature schnauzers Gracie and Emma.

2 thoughts on “My Lake House Renovation- All About The View

    1. I got to tell you, I am spoiled rotten- and loving it. The problem comes that I have no desire to travel anywhere else. Beach—> Lake—-> Beach with a short stop at my home in Bham. At the beach now, it is HOT!!! Hotter at the lake this weekend (95 degrees) Not my favorite time of year. Oct/Nov is FABULOUS at the beach and the lake

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