Smith Mountain Lake HOME Magazine 2022

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design ✦ improve ✦ garden ✦ live

best life



tour three lakefront homes

DESIGN DREAMS kitchen renovations performance fabric

IN THE YARD hardscapes bird havens

PERFECT DAYS hosting a crowd grilling recipes



Interior designer: Rainey Richardson

With over 30 years of experience, COOPER CONTRACTORS is the premium source of construction on Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. We work with home owners, architects and subcontractors towards the common goal of ensuring that your construction projects exceed your expectations. It is of utmost importance to us that our work reflects one of our most important assets, the Cooper reputation. Contact us today to discuss your construction needs, and find out how our deepseated values of professional talent and hard work can enhance your way of life. COOPERCONTRACTORSINC.COM

A home shouldn’t be the only thing you Custom build.

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Since its beginning in 1977, Webster Marine has been a family owned and operated, full-service marine center on beautiful Smith Mountain Lake, VA. Boasting the largest inventory of deck boats, pontoons, and Sea-Doos in Southwest Virginia, Webster Marine offers new and pre-owned boat and Sea-Doo sales, as well as service, parts, accessories and slip rentals. Conveniently located next to Halesford Bridge, stop by and visit us today. | 540-297-5228 1185 Mills Road | Moneta, Virginia 24121 | Off Route 122, North of Hales Ford Bridge

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Smith Mountain Lake HOME 2022

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24 HARDSCAPING YOUR LANDSCAPE Enhance form and function in outdoor spaces with special structures BY CHRISTY RIPPEL


The right goods and gear for a perfect day on the lake BY JERRY HALE


Designing a home to host crowds of all ages BY MEGAN WILLIAMS

Cover photo by Gordon Gregory FACEBOOK: HOME Magazine INSTAGRAM: homemagva




Texas couple’s home away from home is light, bright and airy BY RYAN TIPPS



Boat-loving retired couple builds perfect custom home BY MEGAN JANSSEN



Family’s vacation home gets the ultimate makeover BY NOELLE MILAM


Sm it h Mount a i n L ake H O M E 2022



Decorate with what you love BY RORY RHODES


Durable and versatile, for inside and out BY ASHLEY BLAIR SMITH


An up-close look at a local renovation BY JESSIE THOMPSON


High impact, low-cost design upgrades





Essentials for easy meals, pop-up parties BY KATE ERICSSON


Maximize space for all your belongings BY KENDALL ATKINS LIVICK


Screening options expand outdoor living






Bring feathered friends to your yard BY KATHERINE FULGHUM KNOPF


Incorporating these versatile plantings BY BECKY CALVERT



Get on board with snacks beyond meat and cheese BY ANNE ELISE HASTINGS


Games amp up the fun, rain or shine BY CATHERINE BROWN


Kebabs are a win for any meal BY SARAH NICHOLAS


SML Charity Home Tour preview BY FERNE HALE


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EDITOR’S note If we’ve learned anything during the course of the pandemic, it’s that there’s something to be said for making your home at Smith Mountain Lake the place you most want to be. Just ask anyone who provides home improvement services and supplies: These businesses have been busy! We’ve learned even more about the value of a beautiful, safe respite from it all. And we’re learning the important lesson that some things are worth the wait. In that spirit, we hope our annual issue of Smith Mountain Lake HOME is worth the wait! Here we offer ideas and inspiration to help you enhance your home, whether it’s your primary residence or vacation getaway, and connect you with the resources to help realize your goals. In this issue, our feature on hardscapes explores how you can upgrade your outdoor space with installations that are part function, part beauty. Take a look at a local kitchen renovation to see what a difference updating the heart of the home can make. For a smaller-scale refresh, you’ll learn about screening in an existing outdoor space, or updating a sofa with performance fabric, which, by the way, is not just for outside anymore! Your days at the lake should be fun, too, and we offer tips for dialing up the enjoyment factor. Elevate your happy hour with our article on charcuterie boards; snacks are even more fun when artfully arranged and uniquely combined. Grill some kebabs with new, fresh-flavored recipes; food is definitely more fun on a stick! Our article on games may inspire you to try a new one on a rainy day or game night. And our feature on planning for a

perfect day on the water can streamline the process of getting out the door and onto the boat—because we all know this can be an undertaking! We are also thrilled to offer inside looks at three inspirational Smith Mountain Lake homes. You’ll meet the generous homeowners who invite us in, sharing their design choices and how and why they made them. For the ultimate in-person home tour, check out the Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home tour, to be held in October, where you can visit eight waterfront homes for a good cause. You’ll find all of this and much more in these pages. Our goal is always to offer you topics and resources to help make your home the place you most want to be. Thanks for reading! Meridith Ingram

Lake Retreat Properties, Inc. Lake Retreat Rental Properties, LLC Selling Smith Mountain Lake for over 42 years 6760 WHITE HOUSE ROAD, HUDDLESTON, VA 24104

Search all area listings and request showings at

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540-297-6002 • 800-421-6980

Look for our rental brochure in local businesses or contact us to request one.

Search over 60 lakefront vacation rental homes at email:

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PUBLISHER Julie Pierce EDITOR Meridith Ingram ART DIRECTOR Edwana Coleman

Interior Design · Flooring Cabinetry · Lighting · Fur niture Decor · Blinds & Shades

Start Planning Your Home Project Today! Monday - Friday: 8am - 5pm All other times by appointment only (540) 719-1431 | Serving SML, Southwest & Central VA

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Signature Properties is committed to enhancing the value of all properties under our management in accordance with the associations' values and industry standards.

What we do as your Community Management Company: Maintenance Association Financial Management Property Management Collection Services Administrative Management Board Training 540-266-1422 | 422 Campbell Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24061 434-509-0749 | 13696 US HWY 29, Chatham, VA 24531 20

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mitzi Bible Catherine Brown Becky Calvert Kate Ericsson Ferne Hale Jerry Hale Anne Elise Hastings Megan Janssen Katherine Fulghum Knopf Kendall Atkins Livick Noelle Milam Sarah Nicholas Jane Rennyson Rory Rhodes Christy Rippel Ashley Blair Smith Jessie Thompson Ryan Tipps Megan Williams PHOTOGRAPHERS Gordon Gregory Michael Patch Craig Shaffer GRAPHIC DESIGNER Donna Collins OPERATIONS MANAGER Marianne Schatvet ADVERTISING SALES Kirsten Morey Becker Julia Belvin Lisa Bowers Anne Marie Poore CONTACT

Smith Mountain Lake HOME is published annually by West Willow Publishing Group, LLC. For advertising information please call (434) 386-5667 or email To discuss coverage of an event relating to home or garden, please contact Smith Mountain Lake HOME at

WEST WILLOW PUBLISHING GROUP, LLC (434) 386-5667 Copyright 2022 by West Willow Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from West Willow Publishing Group, LLC. All pictorial material reproduced in this magazine, whether in a produced ad or by itself, has been accepted on the condition that it is with the knowledge and prior consent of the photographer or the artist concerned. As such, West Willow Publishing Group, LLC is not responsible for any infringement of copyright or otherwise arising out of publication thereof. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, West Willow Publishing Group, LLC makes no warrant to the accuracy or reliability of this information. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

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Have your heard the latest news on real estate?

2020 & 2021 have been the best sales markets since 2005!

Why are sellers getting top dollar for their property?



Of course, this is great for the seller because we are having bidding wars or getting list price or more on most homes!


We have so many buyers looking for lake homes, lake access and off water homes but we have more buyers than homes to sell them.

Interest rates are the lowest ever!

Covid has turned a new trend in the work force and many of our clients are looking for a lake property to enjoy working remote!

Please give us a call if you are thinking about selling. We have had many of our sellers downsize and we have helped them find another home. We are natives of the lake area and now work as a mother/daughter team. Phyllis has been in real estate for 36 years and Casey has been in real estate for 6 years! Experience, dedication, knowledge, honesty and we are 24/7 Realtors. We have $40 million in combined sales in 2020. We will be glad to meet with you and go over our marketing plan with you and let you know the market value of your property for free!

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mith Mountain Lake is known for its stunning vistas, calm waters, beautiful sunsets—and what can in places be a steep lakefront terrain. A slope to the water can make it seem impossible to enjoy the land between your home and the water’s edge, but with the addition of a landscaping plan utilizing hardscapes, the land can be transformed into something beautiful, and usable. Lake homes here have been built on gently sloping lots, steep and rocky lots, and everything in between. Gently sloping lots may present less challenges to creating recreational spaces between the house and lake, while homes perched on the steepest lots make use of retaining walls necessary to carve out plots of land for walkways and patios. Experts say that no matter what your lot looks like in its raw state, there are methods that can be employed to make it function well. 25




Scott MacLeod, owner of Lynchburg Landscapes, says that a combination of techniques can turn what many homeowners think of as unusable land into usable land. “A mixture of hardscaping and grading can dramatically change the usability of a significantly sloped property,” he says. That hardscaping may include carving a flat spot into a hillside and securing it via a retaining wall, allowing a patio to be laid for grilling, outdoor eating or sun worshipping. Retaining walls and grading can be utilized for walkways as well, many of which can be wide enough to accommodate a golf cart for effortlessly shuttling essentials down to the dock. Hardscaping includes any decorative or practical structure in a landscape, from patios to retaining walls, to fences and benches. Hardscape provides definition and purpose, while softscaping (plants and trees) blends the hardscaping into the surroundings and lends natural beauty. Inspiration and options

If you search for landscape projects on the internet, you’ll find a plethora of photos with different options, materials and prices, but the wealth of choices can be overwhelming. First, grab a notebook or pull up a blank document on your computer and brainstorm. When you look out at your property, what would you like to see? What would you like to do? If you envision roasting marshmallows with your grandkids at the firepit after a day of tubing, make note of it. If you want to entertain a small family 26

or a big crowd, make note of that, too. Brad Austin of Seven Oaks Landscape, who frequently installs hardscaping on Smith Mountain Lake properties, says that some forethought by the client increases the chance of being thrilled with the final result. “If someone has us build a patio that can only fit six people, but the majority of entertaining they do is for a crowd, they won’t be thrilled with the final result no matter how nicely it’s done,” Austin says. “Giving a lot of thought to how you use your property and entertain, or will in the future, is important.” When looking at sample photos of projects, figure out if you are attracted to a modern, natural or traditional look. A modern look might have large concrete squares with grass or pea gravel in between, forming a patio. A traditional look may use concrete pavers, and incorporate lots of curves in retaining walls. A natural look may use more boulders and natural stone in a muted palette that blends into nature, instead of contrasting with it. While you think about the style of the hardscaping and landscaping you want, you should also consider the style of your home. A very modern outdoor treatment on a very traditional house can look jarring, and vice versa. As to what clients are looking for, MacLeod says, “Pavers are a standard request; however, we tend to have a growing number of requests for more natural stone solutions.” Pavers are often made of brick or concrete. They come in hundreds of different colors, styles, textures and shapes. For pavers to look good and perform well in a permanent installation S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2







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setting, the ground/dirt floor must be excavated, leveled, and hard compacted; this is also true for natural stone. Pavers can also be used as the exterior material of a firepit, which Mark Maslow, president of Southern Landscape Group, says is a top request of homeowners at the lake. However, he cautions to keep fire pits out of “no man’s land” in the middle of the yard. “We like to keep fire pit patios either closer to the lake or dock, or closer to the house,” he says. “We try to avoid the middle of the yard which does not get used often.” Consider this nugget of advice when you are brainstorming about your ideal yard set up. Natural stone and boulders create a more organic look, and their increasing popularity dovetails nicely with the current challenges of pandemic-related supply chain issues in securing materials. “We still have been able to procure various types of natural stone from regional quarries, which has allowed work to continue without delay,” notes Maslow. Some natural stone options are river rock, flagstone and fieldstone. For the environmentalist, utilizing natural stone that is quarried locally is also an eco-conscious choice, as the stone doesn’t have to be shipped from overseas, saving the cost of fossil fuel. If you can identify what you want to do outdoors, how many people you want to accommodate, and what your style is, you’ll be well prepared for consultations with landscaping companies. S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

Permits and challenges


Hardscaping at the lake is not a DIY project, and the reason is that the steep hillsides create drainage issues that must be carefully planned out and addressed. Additionally, permits and codes must be strictly adhered to, or you risk having to tear out what doesn’t meet code. “In the three counties surrounding Smith Mountain Lake, most require permits for any wall over 4 feet tall, and detailed engineered plans for walls 6 feet tall and greater,” says Maslow. He notes that his firm often uses meandering pathways to the shoreline and natural boulders to minimize the use of walls, when possible, as they can quickly drain the budget. While retaining walls can sometimes look stark alone, they can be softened with softscaping (plants, trees and flowers) to blend in more naturally with the surroundings. A combination of



Lynchburg Landscapes, Inc. is a full-service provider of landscape design and construction in the Lynchburg and Smith Mountain Lake regions. 434-333-0788


hardscaping and complementary softscaping, says McLeod, helps stabilize erosion on hillsides and can make previously hard-tomow land low maintenance. As for water, you want to enjoy it in the lake, not have it ruin a newly installed patio. And it will, if drainage is not considered. “We look at where the water is running already on the property, and how a potential design is going to change that water flow,” says Austin, who notes that erosion can be dealt with via pipes installed in the ground, and grading. “You can create some areas in the lawn where you direct the water, so it’s away from a patio or walkway and you don’t have mulch and debris washing on it every time it rains.” In addition to retaining walls, patios and walkways, many homeowners request stone steps to the lake, providing access for people and pets to get into the water without launching from a dock. These stone steps go through the riprap, which are large, irregular-shaped rocks fit into place, without mortar, to manage erosion at the shoreline. “This requires very specific planning and execution to work within AEP’s (American Electric Power, who owns the shoreline) guidelines for riprap and shoreline stabilization,” says Maslow.


Because of the challenges that lakefront terrain presents, you should interview landscaping companies and ask to talk to previous clients who’ve worked with them on similar projects as the one you’re considering. An experienced company will guide you through the design process, ensuring your final result is a yard you will fully enjoy. ✦



REVIVE • REVITALIZE • REFRESH Call or Email John & Beth Williams 540.352.8244 • 540.352.7466 • Find us on

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LIVE charcuterie boards



harcuterie boards have seen a boom in popularity within the past couple of years. People are taking what was once found almost exclusively at catered events and preparing beautiful boards right in their own homes. Not only do they provide an attractive way to serve snacks, but they are also versatile: charcuterie boards have come to include much more than the traditional meat and cheese. It may seem intimidating to put together a whole board on a first attempt, but there are some guidelines that will make it easy.


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There are a lot of choices when finding the right board to display your food. You can use a classic wooden board, typically found in round, rectangle or paddle shapes. Another popular material is slate. The best thing about this type is that you can label each item by writing directly on the board with chalk. For a refined look, marble boards are a great option. They look chic but are also the easiest to clean. Boards are readily available locally in kitchen and gift stores or in box stores and online. When selecting ingredients for your board, it’s important to include a variety of tastes and textures. Start with a hard, drycured meat, like sopressata, saucisson sec or Spanish chorizo. Next, choose something thinner with a fattier texture like prosciutto, coppa and Genoa salami. Finish off with something spreadable and silky, like liverwurst, spicy Italian pork ‘nduja, or a pâté. Having meats with varying flavor profiles adds dimension as well. You can add finocchiona salami for its fennel flavor, or Calabrese for spice. Having a mix of flavors and textures keeps things interesting, and may offer guests a taste of something new. Your decision of what cheeses to buy should be made similarly. Grab a hard cheese like Parmesan, aged Gouda or Asiago. Move on to a firm cheese like Manchego, cheddar, or Gruyere. Round it out with soft cheese such as Brie, goat cheese or burrata. While all of those taste vastly different, you can mix it up even more by throwing in some funkier flavors like a smoked Gouda, Stilton blue cheese or Gorgonzola. While the stronger flavors can be a bit divisive, sometimes the risk is worth the reward. Provide vessels to eat the meats and cheeses, like crackers or sliced baguette. Fruit pairs wonderfully as well, adding a sweet component to the savory charcuterie. Pick any combination of grapes, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, figs or pears. Use

what is in season, too. Try cranberries in winter, apples in fall, or peaches in summer. Include pickled foods, like olives, pickled onions and gherkins. Finish everything off with a selection of spreads. Try different mustards, fruit spreads and honey to bring new life to the cheese on your board. Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients, it’s time to arrange everything. Place the cheese evenly across the board, and put the knives next to each piece of cheese so that you remember to leave room for serving. Scatter the ramekins filled with spreads and olives similarly. When placing the meats, arrange them in a way that’s easy to grab. You can lay them flat in neat stacks if you have more room on your board, or roll them and place the rolls in a pile. You can even make sliced salami into a rose shape by folding pieces around the lip of a cup or cookie cutter. However you decide to display it, position the meats in the spaces between the cheese and ramekins. Fill in any gaps with crackers and crostini, fruits and nuts. If your board is tightly packed, placing the same ingredient in multiple spots around the board is a good idea. This allows for easier access for multiple guests and creates balance. We don’t have to limit ourselves to snack boards serving only meat and cheese, though. Take the presentation style and apply it to any occasion or craving. For a morning event or something creative for overnight guests, you could make a breakfast board. Substitute the ordinary cured meats with breakfast sausage, smoked salmon and bacon. Include pieces of bagels or biscuits instead of crackers, and add a few flavors of cream cheese instead of your typical cheese selections. You can fill a ramekin with scrambled eggs, or place soft-boiled eggs across the board. If you’re more of a sweets-for-breakfast kind of person, do a pancake and waffle board. Use the ramekins for syrup, butter 33

and powdered sugar, and sprinkle chocolate chips and fruits around the board for toppings. For a birthday celebration, do a dessert board. Anchor the board with petit fours and cupcakes, and fill the spaces with different candies. Another take on the dessert board is creating an ice cream sundae board. Substitute a traditional platter with a shallow decorative tub or lined tray filled with ice. (You can even use a giant foil baking pan if you’re being casual.) Burrow several pints of ice cream in the tub, and line the perimeter with small cups of sprinkles, nuts, and chocolate and caramel sauce. Charcuterie boards are the ultimate no-stress, versatile offering. If the grocery store doesn’t have the ingredient you’re looking for, simply substitute a similar flavor. Just use what is easily available to you. Remember that half the fun is in the presentation; a charcuterie board is simply a novel way to serve snacks. Don’t get hung up on perfection; just be excited for the time you can spend with those you love. ✦


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DESIGN curated collectibles


Creative ways to display what you love BY RORY RHODE S


ost of us have things we’ve inherited or collected over time, and it can be a challenge finding ways to honor and display the things we cherish. Certain items just can’t be donated or given away, but not everyone has the space or desire to dust an extensive collection. Yet no one’s getting any Marie Kondo-style joy from storage tubs full of memories and collectibles, so how do you design a space which incorporates your keepsakes without inundating your decor? The key is focusing on that oftused term, “curated”—carefully selected and thoughtfully presented items—to incorporate them into appealing home design.


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Photos! We all have so many photos, whether old ones in boxes or albums, or newer digital versions “in the cloud.” It’s both important and fun to have access to these memories, so how do you do that? If you want physical prints of your digital snaps, you can easily order them through websites or apps such as Shutterfly, Snapfish and Social Print Studio. There are also apps and store kiosks at some big box stores and drugstores, as well as special photo printers you can use at home. Once you’ve got your prints in hand, here’s the easiest idea ever: Toss them in a pretty bowl or basket on your coffee table to sift through whenever the mood strikes. Many photo websites will also turn those digital memories into photo albums; simply upload your favorite shots and design a customized hardback photobook that complements your decor. Create several—the annual beach trip, a montage of Christmas mornings or birthdays—and stack them on a shelf or table. A special photo can be blown up onto canvas (especially stylish for antique photos, close-ups and landscapes) or you can digitally create a framed collage, perfect for a photo gallery along a hall or staircase. Framed photographs are a no-brainer, but letters, announcements and playbills add style and interest. If you’re an avid concert or theater-goer, a large frame full of carefully arranged ticket stubs reads like modern art. For bulkier and three-dimensional items such as keys, medals, and small textiles like antique needlework and christening gowns, use a shadow box. Modernize the traditional “dark wood and velvet” look with a sleek metal or vibrant-colored frame offsetting a crisp white or linen background (Etsy is a good resource). For best effect, keep the contents fairly simple and organized, and allow negative space around the edges to ensure that the frame doesn’t shadow the item within. Hang a group of three shadow boxes along a den wall or above a child’s bed. For larger textiles such as blankets and quilts, a blanket ladder is both stylish and functional. Pedestals and risers elevate both literally and stylistically. Use one for a vase, ceramic, sculpture, candlestick, or any special collectible to create a focal point. On a shelf, a riser adds visibility and interest when displaying multiple objects. The riser itself can be a collectible—a stack of antique books or vinyl records, for example—or can be made of acrylic


to disappear into the background. This is a good choice when the object has an intricate design or eye-catching form. Acrylic and cube shapes add a modern aesthetic, while architectural plinths and reclaimed wood complement traditional and farmhouse or rustic decor. Larger collectibles are wonderful stand-alone objects. An antique typewriter, phone or transistor radio makes a statement on a shelf or occasional table. An heirloom silver trophy or punchbowl, perhaps flanked by candlesticks, will anchor a sideboard or entry table. Smaller and mid-size pieces look best in a vignette that tells a story, often by theme. (Design tip: When grouping items, visualize an asymmetric triangular shape to your arrangement, which helps create focus.) Baby shoes, an engraved baby cup, a silver spoon and a rattle nestled in a tray on the nursery shelf are a sweet little tableau. China cabinets often feature rows of china plates and crystal stemware, but what about a group of related porcelain items collected on a modern tray? While it’s tempting (and somehow feels obligatory) to display an entire collection of, say,

Spode or Wedgwood, the result can be cluttered. Selecting a few noteworthy and favorite pieces that don’t overcrowd the space will keep your decor from unintentionally veering into a thrift store vibe. Plates and platters can be grouped into a wall display in the dining room or breakfast nook. Wall displays also work well for sports and hobbies. A hanging collection of fishing rods and reels, shadow boxes of unusual or hand-tied lures, and a framed photo of the prize catch is a fun way to personalize a den or family cabin. Larger items such as vintage oars, cross-country skis, arrows, sleds, lacrosse sticks and badminton racquets add personality to relaxed spaces where family gathers. Keepsakes run the gamut from collectible to purely sentimental, but all have value and mark a home as uniquely ours. From formal to fun, they convey meaning and give us a sense of place, belonging, joy. Thoughtful curation and creative displays will ensure your spaces are enhanced without being overwhelmed. ✦

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Inner beauty is at the core of who you are and we’re here to help you discover the best version of yourself, inside and out. With the guidance of our board-certified plastic surgeons and medical aestheticians, we equip you to be fully informed, prepared, and empowered to make the aesthetic choices that are right for you.

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A G E I N P L A C E AT S M I T H M O U N TA I N L A K E ! unk & Pratt at Smith Mountain Lake has everything you need to retire with confidence! Not only do we offer award-winning senior care, but we also provide a wide range of services and accommodations for all stages of aging!

The Cottages offer luxurious Independent Living near Westlake Towne Center. Choose

from single-story duplexes or quads, both with customizable floor plans and fixtures — and best of all, you own your home! Located adjacent to Runk & Pratt’s Smith Mountain Lake Senior Living Community, medical care and specialist appointments are at your fingertips! Cottage residents also enjoy a free membership to the Westlake Carilion Wellness Center!

Our Studio Suites located in Runk & Pratt’s Smith Mountain Lake Senior Living Community offer both Independent and Assisted Living care options. Each apartment-style room includes a kitchenette, ample living and storage space, and a private bathroom. Take advantage of the community’s spacious dining rooms, chef-curated meals, salon days, linen and housekeeping services, on-site therapy, and a calendar filled with activities and social events! At Runk & Pratt Smith Mountain Lake, aging in place has never been easier or more approachable! Should the need arise for more specialized care options or memory support, our lake community offers personalized care for every stage of aging so you can continue to do what you love with confidence that your wellness is always our priority!



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S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2


custom home offers welcome retreat

B Y R YA N T I P P S Photography by Gordon Gregory

The COVID-19 pandemic redefined how we work, shop, eat and socialize—and, in many instances, even where we live. The cost of materials significantly impacted the housing market, and the industry’s boom was further burdened by supply chain disruptions and the threat of a limited work force. So Mitch and Lisa Elmer consider themselves lucky. The Texas couple had lived in Virginia before and wanted to build a second home. They broke ground on a 1.3-acre piece of property on the Bedford County side of Smith Mountain Lake just two weeks before the pandemic began to shut down the world around them.


By that point, they had already purchased the lumber for their 3,900-square-foot home. The kitchen tile and appliances were in hand, and they ordered all of their window and door packages up front. They secured pre-pandemic prices for a pandemic-era project. And everything they needed was tucked into storage in Roanoke for builder Dennis Cooper and his crew to use when needed. “One of the wonderful things about this building process was that their interior designer from Texas had thought everything through,” Cooper says of designer Rainey Richardson, who is married to Lisa’s brother. “Most everything for the home was purchased before the home was started. And because most all of the items were stored at a warehouse in Roanoke, we did not have a problem 44

with items being unavailable or hard to get because of the pandemic.” The foresight shown in approaching this home project largely carried through to its finish, helping to create a beautifully laid-out home with tall ceilings on every level, a gracefully flowing floor plan, and bright colors and decorative furniture that make you feel like you’re on vacation every day of the year. “I just wanted it to be light and bright, and airy,” Lisa says. Making the move

The reason for building the lake home couldn’t be simpler: “As we’ve gotten older, we don’t really like the Texas summers anymore,” says Mitch, who is retired from food distribution company Sysco Corp. S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

While visiting friends who live at Smith Mountain Lake, the Elmers began to go out by boat to look at houses for sale. They then hired Realtor Jeanette Childress, who showed them the house across the street from where they now live in Huddleston. Childress also mentioned that there were two adjacent empty lots that had come on the market only a few days prior. The couple had visited a few houses, but everything they looked at required remodeling. “Finally, after looking at a half-dozen of them, we said, ‘Why don’t we just build what we want?’” Mitch explains. They purchased those two lots, had the land with its 355 feet of shoreline surveyed, and began making plans for the perfect home. Lisa says they started with a basic overall floor plan, but in working with architect Eric Buck to get several changes implemented, it didn’t look much like it did initially. “There was so much that I wanted to add to it or take away from it that it really was almost starting from scratch,” she says.

The Elmers envisioned a house that would be as lowmaintenance as possible. Things like Hardieplank siding and a foam and fiberglass insulation blend called flash and batt (which creates a tight envelope around the home to protect it from the elements) helped to further these goals. Luckily, the Elmers also had Richardson to guide them through the process and ask many of the right questions to allow them to understand what they wanted. Richardson had done the interior design on the Elmers’ home in Texas, so she knew what kinds of brands they liked and what their tastes were. She also had Lisa create a Pinterest board to help home in on the nuances of the Elmers’ style and to tailor a more cohesive vision for the house. Richardson was able to work with the architect and contractors to move the project forward—think construction manager in addition to being an interior designer. “I could not have put this together without her,” Lisa says. 45

“I understood that they wanted a lakeside vacation home that was beautiful, but also incredibly comfortable and easy to maintain,” Richardson explains. “This aligns with my design philosophy—make things functional and then make them beautiful.” Roughly two years later, which included a summer staying at Mariner’s Landing, the house was completed in July 2021. The beautiful (and fun) details

An oversized front porch styled with a timber-home flair greets visitors to the Elmer home. Once inside, a more modern aesthetic takes over. Light wood floors—a wonderfully natural look that has a hint of a gray wash on them to tone down some of the yellow in the grains—lead into a living room that peaks 18.5 feet up and is accented by exposed beams and a ceiling fan that draws upon a propeller design. The roof system, Cooper notes, is entirely “stick built,” a trade that’s not common anymore for that part of a house. “Everything we chose was intentional to maximizing that initial impact,” Richardson says. At the far end of the living room is a large bank of windows, a feature that repeats itself often throughout the home; it is a lake house after all, so it needs to be open, welcoming and bright. “If you look out from these windows, with some of the leaves still on the trees, it almost feels like you’re in a tree house,” Mitch says. “You’re almost three stories in the air when you’re looking down at the water.” The cascading daytime light highlights some of the more intricate features of the wood furniture, while also helping to make the multicolored stone fireplace pop against the cleanliness of the simple white walls. 46

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Lisa sought to tease out blues and greens throughout the decor, and Richardson delivered, knowing her sister-in-law’s particular fondness for certain shades of green. The blues are immediately recognizable in the kitchen, where the floral-patterned tile—something that Lisa posted a lot about on her Pinterest board—is a mix of white and blue. The cabinets are white with stainless steel hardware. Pullout drawers are a fully custom feature in the cabinets, and floor

lighting is nestled underneath, adding a clever and functional way to see at night. (All of the guest bathrooms in the home have sensor lights—another way the Elmers have found to make the house work smarter.) Next to the main kitchen area is a coffee bar, which adopts a backsplash design apart from the kitchen to designate it as a special nook, and that area spills into the dining room with its six-person table. Beyond that are sliding doors leading to a 47

screened porch, a cozy spot to cuddle up with a cup of joe on a cool morning or a relaxing place to gaze out over the water on a summer evening. Just off the living room is the primary bedroom, one of four bedrooms in the home, which also has five and a half baths. Eyecatching are the colorful wood strips that adorn the wall behind the headboard. Rustic lights hang on each side of the four-post bed that can be wheeled up and down as the needs for reading or ambient light change. High above is one of the home’s two “fandeliers”: a chandelier that uniquely combines a fan and lighting into one unit. “The vaulted ceiling created the perfect space to use weathered wood as a feature behind the bed and contrasted perfectly with the glamorous sconces that flank the bed,” Richardson says. Out the windows, “The view adds to the beauty and comfort of the finished space,” she says. The primary bathroom has his and hers sinks surrounded by chocolate-colored cabinets, while the other side of the room features a spacious glassed-in shower and separate bathtub. Elsewhere on the main floor, which is set up for one-level living, there is a laundry room with ample space to fold and hang laundry, along with a particularly deep two-car garage.


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The lower level

Descending the steps to the lower level, it’s prudent to look down and around: Blue tile again makes an appearance on the risers of each step. Entering the basement, it feels peculiarly unlike almost any other basement one would visit. The Elmers always wanted a house with a lot of volume in it. High ceilings to add volume are normal for a main level or a great room, but Mitch worked with Cooper to add taller ceilings to even the basement level—10-foot ceilings to be exact, as opposed to more typical 8-foot ones. It was the kind of adaptation to the plan that Cooper excels at. “He’s an excellent builder,” Mitch says. “The quality of his work is really high, he’s honest, and if you want to make changes, he can accommodate you. I told Dennis that if I had to build the house 100 times, I’d have him do it 100 times.” The lower level has its own kitchen space, laundry room, living room, foldout game table and even a “secret” room with charging ports under the stairs for any Harry Potter-loving little ones. (They’ve found their grandson asleep in there a few times.) 50

The downstairs bedrooms capture many of the same colors and design elements of the main level, including a wall with batten panels, natural and clean lines, and marvelous views of the water. This is where the couple’s three sons and two grandkids stay when they visit. One room in particular channels the kids’ imaginations and personality like none other. The Elmers created a bedroom that has two full-size beds and one room-length suspended bunk bed, held with a brace anchored in the ceiling. “The bunk system took a village to complete,” says Lisa, who designed it with help from niece Ragan Richardson (who also works with her mother’s design firm), Cooper and his team, and S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

cabinetmaker Calvin Montgomery. “It was definitely a collaboration,” she says of the unique finished product. But the fun couldn’t stop with the creation of the bedroom. “If you have a fun bunk room, you have to have a fun bathroom to go with it,” Lisa says. The accompanying bathroom was the brainchild of Richardson, who pitched

an idea of black-tiled floors and wildly patterned tile in the shower. Lisa admits she balked at first, but, “They put the first tile in, and I was like, ‘Gosh, she was right!’” The patterned tiles are a mix of white, black and blue lines going in different directions depending on which tile you zero in on. Some patterns squiggle, some

zig, some zag, while others are straight or polka-dotted. It’s a bathroom fit for a kid—or at least the zany kid inside every one of us. “Lisa and Mitch have a grandson and granddaughter, so we wanted to be certain that that bathroom was fun, but neither feminine nor masculine,” Richardson says. “The mixed-print tiles in blue, one of Lisa's


favorite colors, and black made the space fun and elevated at the same time. “She trusted us, and we love the result, too,” the designer says. The lower level of the house also offers easy access to the lake and to the dock, which was built by Plyler Homes and Docks. It is 2,300 square feet (including the floating dock), with water going as deep as 20 feet off the far end. Several chairs help make it a perfect place to take in a sunset, and some pillars have tables built around them to encourage using the dock as a meal-time destination and social setting for family members. After a day of swimming, the lower level also has a wet bathroom just off the mudroom where everyone can get cleaned up without sullying the main part of the house. With the couple’s goal of living at the house full time through summer and fall, it’s easy to predict that this area— along with the rest of the house—will get lots of use and enjoyment. ✦

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DESIGN performance fabrics




ith lake season entering full swing, you might be thinking about sprucing up your living space for high-traffic months. Maybe you are thinking about buying some new furniture, or you simply want to shake things up a bit with some new accent pillows. Either way, one idea to make sure your home is ready for the rigors of hosting and entertaining guests at the lake is to consider furnishings that are made with performance fabric.


S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

In the furnishings industry, “performance fabric” is a term used to describe fabrics that are made to withstand the wear and tear of everyday life. While these fabrics were originally designed for outdoor furniture, they have come a long way in their look and feel, and are now used indoors as well. What is “performance fabric”?

What makes a fabric performance grade? It’s actually a combination of factors. According to interior designer Jessica Byrd, president of By Design Interiors, “A performance fabric is characterized as a fabric that is easy to clean, resists abrasion over time, and holds up to everyday wear and tear.” In the beginning of their time, performance fabrics were used outdoors because they were easy to clean and were stain- and fade-resistant. However as time went on, these high-quality fabrics quickly became used on indoor furniture as well. “The industry saw the need for performance fabrics indoors because of these same characteristics that are needed for everyday use with pets and children,” Byrd says. Unlike regular upholstery fabrics, performance-grade fabrics are not merely for style and aesthetics, but are made with high-quality threads and are quite durable. According to Kathy Potts, principal decorator and owner of Decorating Den Interiors, the most common threads include olefin (also known as polypropylene), acrylic, nylon and polyester. Some of these threads are pre-treated with chemicals while others are not. Indoor/outdoor styling

Don’t let incorporating these fabrics into your indoor living space intimidate you. With a myriad of color palettes and patterns, homeowners are now choosing to use these fabrics for a look that is both practical and stylish. According to Byrd, some of the most popular selections include chenilles, wovens, and patterns such as herringbones, stripes and geometrics. “We use a lot of woven textures that are still soft but that also have some varying tones of color,” Byrd says. “Just because it's a performance fabric doesn't mean it has to look plain or commercial.” By utilizing performance fabrics both indoors and outdoors, homeowners are


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10% Off able to carry their indoor living area colors and patterns to their outdoor spaces, lending a fluid, cohesive look. “Most homeowners choose to use subtle colors and textures and then use throw pillows and rugs to pop in some color,” Byrd says. “This keeps everything neutral and can be an extension of their indoor style.” Some of the most popular pieces of furniture homeowners like to use performance fabrics on are sofas, dining chairs and ottomans in main indoor living areas. “They are great for people who have children or pets,” Potts says. “Also, some performance fabrics are fade-resistant and work great for indoor porches or sunrooms.” Full Service Local & Long Distance Moves | Licenced Bonded & Insured Estates/Clutter/Trash Removal Services/Local /Veteran Owned SERVING (but not limited to): SOUTHWEST VA AND CENTRAL VA Lynchburg


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Fabric care

While these fabrics are tough and resilient, they will still get dirty just like any other fabric. The key is to know how to care for them properly. S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2


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According to Melissa Scott, kitchen and bath designer for By Design Interiors, the average life expectancy of a sofa is 7 to 15 years, but using a performance fabric should help extend that by several years. “Just like a quality padding extends the life of your carpet, so will a performance fabric on your furniture,” Scott says. “Of course, normal wear and tear will vary between different consumers, such as whether or not they have children, pets or are particularly rough on their furniture.” To keep your fabrics in the best shape, vacuuming and spot cleaning regularly is a must. “Blot any spills and dab away with a damp cloth,” Byrd says. She recommends mild soap and water for tougher stains, cautioning against the use of bristle brushes that can compromise the integrity of the fabric. “Overall, performance fabrics are great for the lake community as the homes here at Smith Mountain Lake tend to see large amounts of traffic—whether it be rentals, second homes or full-time residences,” Byrd says. “They hold up to large family gatherings as well as children of all ages and pets of all sizes.” ✦

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IMPROVE kitchen ease



With spectacular sunrises and lingering sunsets over the water, lake living can feel like you are on a never-ending vacation. In order to maximize time outside on the dock or in the water, an organized kitchen is helpful, especially when it comes to entertaining. No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen trying to figure out what to serve while everyone else is outside enjoying themselves. 60

S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

A well-stocked kitchen is the foundation of meal planning and easy entertaining. Trips to the grocery for perishable items such as milk, yogurt, eggs, fresh meat and fish, and fruit and vegetables can easily be limited to weekly visits if your pantry and freezer are maximized for efficiency. Intentional stocking for tried-and-true recipes, last-minute entertaining or hosting big gatherings makes life on the lake easier. There’s nothing worse than missing a key ingredient to a recipe and having to drive to the store right before dinner. Get the goods

Pantry items should serve a purpose. There’s no need to have dried lentils if they are just going to take up space. Stock what you will use. High-quality oils and vinegars are good to have on hand for mixing up a vinaigrette. Honey, maple syrup and granulated sugar will sweeten sauces and recipes. Diced tomatoes, tomato sauces and paste, and canned white and black beans are handy staples for many recipes. Long-grain white rice and other grains such as quinoa or farro are great for sides. Dried pasta and tomato-based sauces, alfredo sauce or pesto make for a simple supper. All the ingredients and spices for your favorite go-to casserole should also be on hand in case you have a neighbor in need or want to freeze something for a later date. Packing lunches for kids going out on a boat all day? Make sure you have water bottles, peanut butter and jelly, and plenty of snack choices such as granola bars, chips, pretzels and crackers. For an impromptu cocktail hour, stoned wheat thins, water crackers and cheese straws can be paired with cheese and dips for a quick appetizer. Cured meats, almonds, cornichons and dried fruits are all items that can be stocked to round out a last-minute charcuterie board. Condiments for cookouts should be checked for expiration dates and replaced if needed. No one wants to use a crusty mustard or squirt the last bit of ketchup. Stock ketchup, mustards, relish, hot and barbecue sauces, pickles and canned salsas to jazz up your burgers. Many meats and seafood for the grill can be stocked in the freezer and defrosted the day of: chicken, hot dogs, sausages, ground beef, thick fish fillets and shrimp. With onions, mushrooms and peppers on hand and a set of skewers, kebabs can easily be on your grilling menu. When it comes to dessert, many items can be frozen and turned into fun treats. Rolled cookie dough and highquality ice cream can be transformed into gourmet ice cream sandwiches. Hershey bars for s’mores and frozen marshmallows (divide them into small groups of 4-5 and roll up in tin foil) are perfect for a bonfire. Pound cake topped with thawed frozen berries is another freezable dessert. Your freezer can also store fun mixers for adult beverages. It might not be Cinco de Mayo, but frozen Daily’s margarita mixers in pouches can liven up any party. Homemade simple syrups in glass jars can be stored in the refrigerator. Just add your favorite spirit for a craft cocktail. There are many good-quality mixers on the market: Stirrings, Bittermilk and Owl’s Brew have creative flavors for unique cocktails.


The gear

To simplify your life in the kitchen, there is a wide variety of time-saving devices such as the air fryer, blender and slow cooker. If you are looking to consolidate your pans, you might consider some of the newer ceramiccoated cookware such as the Always Pan, which claims to replace eight traditional pieces of cookware. Dining al fresco is delightful, but no one wants to load up a paper plate and have it collapse with the weight of food. A stylish, casual table can be set with melamine dishware that comes in colorful patterns and designs. Easy-to-launder cloth napkins or colorful paper napkins, stainless steel flatware, candles protected by hurricane lamps and a vase of seasonal flowers make a simple but chic table. Stemless wine glasses and tumblers by Yeti, Corkcicle, Swig and Tervis will keep everyone’s beverage of choice cold or hot and won’t break. If you are trying to reduce single-use plastic, there are new storage bags on the market made of silicone. Stasher makes bags suitable for dry storage and the freezer. These are perfect for storing snacks and leftovers, and can be easily washed and reused. Investing in glass storage containers

is another eco-friendly way to store food and leftovers and can also be used to marinate food. With some planning, organizing and a little shopping, your kitchen can be stocked and ready for action. By being intentional about what’s in your fridge, freezer, pantry and cabinets, you’ll find yourself with more time to enjoy the family and friends who make lake living that much sweeter. ✦

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LIVE game night

fun game after night offers sun fun for all



magine a beautiful evening at the lake. You and your loved ones are seated around the table, enjoying leisurely conversation after eating a delicious meal. You’re tired after a full day of sun and fun, but you’re not quite ready to veg out in front of the TV or retreat to individual spaces where everyone scrolls through their phones. It’s the perfect evening for a game. You can always bring out an old favorite, like Monopoly or Clue, Life or Battleship. But if you want to spice up game night—or even make a rainy day more welcome—consider one of these unique and innovative games that appeal to a broad range of ages. 64

S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

TELESTRATIONS: This drawing game is a mix of Pictionary and the old-fashioned party game Telephone, where a sentence gets passed along from person to person, and everyone laughs at the twisted outcome. With this game, the first person picks a card and tries to draw the object represented. That person passes their drawing along to the next person, who must figure out what the drawing represents. The drawing keeps getting passed along until it reaches the last person. When everyone compares the guesses with the original object, laughter ensues. TACO CAT GOAT CHEESE PIZZA: A family favorite, this fast-paced matching game is played with a unique deck of cards. Each card has an image of one of the items

featured in the game’s title, or a special action. Players take turns putting down cards while saying the next word in the sequence, “taco, cat, goat, cheese, pizza.” If their card matches what they say, everyone slaps the pile. The last person to slap the pile takes all the cards, thereby hindering their chance of running out of cards at the end. Think of this one as the game-equivalent of simultaneously patting your head and rubbing your belly. SUSHI GO: Ever wanted to be a sushi chef? This clever pickand-pass game is for you. Players combine the foods on the cards to create the ideal sushi meal and earn the highest number of points. The strategic challenge comes with deciding when to take or decline a card. WINGSPAN: In this beautifully illustrated, award-winning board game, one to five players ages 10 and up create bird habitats to attract the best birds to their aviaries. Each bird is worth points and has a special power that can help players as they build their sanctuary. The further you get into the game, the faster your birds help you accumulate points; the player with the most points at the end of the four rounds wins. Wingspan’s complex and engaging premise has earned many fans among gaming enthusiasts and hobbyists alike. Since it was released in 2019, over 18,000 members have joined the game’s Facebook group. EXPLODING KITTENS: In this funny take on Uno, players draw cards, hoping to avoid the exploding kitten card, which means they are immediately out of the game. But, if a player has a defuser card—like a laser pointer or catnip sandwich—the explosion is defused, and they keep playing. Other action cards provide opportunities to coerce fellow players to pull the exploding kitten card.


five), hoping to find another player with a matching action. When they find another player whose card matches, those players perform the action together and then discard the card. The first player to discard all their cards wins.

Set: Whether played alone or in a group, this fast-paced game for ages 8 and up challenges the cerebrum. Players use the right and left sides of their brains as they study cards with different visual images and use logic to identify a set, a group of three cards whose features are either all the same or all different. When the cards start flying, will you remember what to look for? Happy Salmon: In this active game for 6 to 12 players, each person pulls a card from their stack. Players call out the action on the top card (like a fist pump or high

Blank Slate: Does everyone in your family or friend group seem to finish each other’s sentences? If so, you may enjoy Blank Slate, a party game with cards that contain a word followed or preceded by a blank. Players fill in the blank on their slate, and if their completed phrase matches that of other players, they get points. Players get the most points if they match with only one other player, so it pays to be clever. Playing a new game builds cognitive and strategic skills and fosters meaningful connection. With so many innovative and exciting games to choose from, every family can find a few to make game nights and rainy days even more fun. ✦

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GARDEN all about birding


BIRDS ESTABLISHING BIRD HAVENS IN THE GARDEN B Y K AT H E R I N E F U LG H U M K N O P F Bird-watching offers a year-long adventure and learning opportunity that changes with the seasons. Benefits range from enhancing personal mindfulness that can lower blood pressure and reduce stress, to improving your outdoor habitat. It’s also a hobby for all ages, providing a multigenerational family activity. Encouraging birds to visit your garden involves a few simple practices that will help sustain these valuable feathered friends.


What birds eat

Birds feast on natural offerings as well as birdseed in feeders. Native plants not only produce beautiful blooms, but because different species flower in different months, they provide multiple seasons of food. Birds are attracted to bright colors— red, purple or hot pink—so choose plants that flower in these hues. Bird-friendly native perennials are bee balm, summer phlox and hollyhocks. Certain annuals like cosmos, geraniums, begonias and petunias attract hummingbirds. For vines, consider honeysuckle and flowering currant. Herbs birds like include sage and dill. Hibiscus can be planted in large pots for smaller deck gardens to entice birds to visit. Natural foods like insects, nuts, berries, seeds and larvae, which are available spring, summer and fall, often cause a decrease in the number of birds at bird feeders. Do not despair. Keep feeders clean and well-stocked throughout the year. Birds will return periodically to balance their diet or when fall temperatures shut down the plants and bugs they fed on during the warm months. When shopping for birdseed, read labels to decide which birds to invite to the feeder. Millets and tiny grains attract small birds such as sparrows and finches. Robins and blue tits prefer mealworms. Larger birds enjoy black sunflower seeds all year long. For the winter, bird cakes are a nice treat and are easy to make. (Such food sources are not ideal for summer feeding, since the melted fat that melds the seeds and nuts goes rancid quickly in hot weather.) Bird feeder basics

Keep bird feeders clean and do not let old seed accumulate on the ground below them, which encourages predators and can cause disease and mildew. Discard seed hulls and wash your feeders with one part bleach to nine parts water every few weeks. Let them air dry and refill with birdseed. Garden departments and plant shops sell many bird feeder designs. Often the best feeder is the type that fits the garden. Platform or tube feeders must hang on a long chain from a tree limb or pole to keep birds safe. Window feeders that attach with suction cups provide small birds (chickadees, finches and titmice) a spot of protection and allow easy bird-watching from inside. Hopper or house feeders keep seed dry and hold enough for jays, buntings and cardinals to eat for several days during inclement weather. Bird feeders tend to be an accessory that starts a collection, so consider buying several types and see who shows up for supper. Birds want protection

Keep cats indoors when birds are apt to feed during early morning and late afternoon. Place a collar on your cat with bells that jingle to alert the birds. Trim cats’ nails regularly so it’s difficult to climb trees quickly. These methods protect the birds and don’t harm cats. Place bird feeders on plastic or metal poles so cats and squirrels can’t climb them. Baffles also deter predators from getting to feeders or birdhouses. Some bird feeders are designed to close the feeding door when a heavy weight is placed on the feeding rail. This discourages cats and squirrels from eating the food as well as keeps the birds safe. All bird feeders should be at least 5 feet from shrubbery and optimally 10 to 12 feet from dense woods where predators can hide in waiting. 68

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make a birdseed cake In less than an hour you can make a treat for birds. You need a paper milk carton, a cooking pot, and these ingredients: 1/2 cup rendered fat or lard 1 cup old-fashioned oats (not instant) 1 cup peanut butter 1 cup water 1/2 cup raisins/dried cranberries or any variety of chopped nuts 1 cup wild birdseed Place ingredients in pot and simmer on stove on medium heat until well-blended. Remove from heat and pour into a clean paper milk carton. Place in the freezer until cold and firm. Peel off paper milk carton sides, leaving the bottom of the carton on for support. Place on the shelf of a platform bird feeder or tie the birdseed cake with twine as if you are wrapping a present. Add a loop of twine to the central knot and hang it from a tree or plant hanger.

Birds need a sip

Birds need a water source, preferring shallow water where they can stand and drink. There are a variety of easy ways to maintain water for them. Birdbaths add an attraction to a yard design and can be filled every few days with a hose. A small saucer or dish of water on a deck rail or post provides plenty of water for a few birds. There can be several of these scattered throughout the garden. Place them up off the ground 6 to 8 feet to avoid predators. Birds of a feather flock together

Build birds a home so they settle in your yard. Birdhouses offer protection from predators as well as a place of refuge during extreme heat and storms. They also allow birds to nest and raise their young. The best birdhouse designs are built with steep roofs and no perches so predators cannot hang on them to stalk the birds. Keep in mind that different size birds require varying dimensions for the opening entryway. Birdhouses can be attached to pedestals or nailed to tree trunks where there are no close branches. Be sure the birdhouse is at least 8 feet off the ground and in a clearing. Nesting boxes must be cleaned annually to

prevent disease. Remove the back or roof and clear out debris. Clean with bleach and water and let dry. Reassemble the birdhouse and place it back where it previously hung. Birds like continuity. Birds are interesting to observe; each species is unique and has discrete habits. Some fly in flocks; some migrate solo. Some stay together for one nesting cycle; some mate for life. There are endless facts to learn about different avian species, and they make a fascinating conversation subject. Bird-watching offers a quiet form of meditation. Consider taking up the practice of attracting, feeding and enjoying birds this year. Bird-watching can start in your back yard and grow to an interest that becomes part of daily walks, hikes, and trips near and far. ✦

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BY MEGAN JANSSEN Photography by Michael Patch

It took four—yes, FOUR—retirements to get here, but Neil and Kathy Harrington finally are settled in their dream house on Smith Mountain Lake. Indeed, all this happened after the Harringtons each had two distinguished careers. First, they both had 20 years of U.S. Army service: Kathy retired as a Colonel in the Adjutant General Corps and Neil as a Chief Warrant Officer in the Signal Corps. While on active duty with the U.S. Army, Neil was stationed in Germany and Kathy was also deployed to Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Following that, both spent another 20 years in the high-tech industry. Stateside, they have lived many places, including Hawaii, California, Texas, Maryland, North Carolina and Northern Virginia. “I always said, 'When I retire, I'm going to have a little condo in Honolulu and live on a boat in Ala Wai Harbor,'” Neil says. That didn't happen! Along the way, he met Kathy, they married, and they moved often. But they managed to do a lot of boating.


Neil says that when in California, the couple loved boating in San Francisco Bay. When they moved to Northern Virginia, they bought a home in Edgewater, Maryland, near Annapolis, and boated on the Chesapeake Bay. Later, in 2013, when their tech jobs took them to Raleigh, friends invited them to visit at their Smith Mountain Lake home. “Many lakes we had seen were just large round ponds, but this one— it's big enough and varied enough to be interesting. We immediately saw the boating potential here,” says Neil. From wish list to floor plan

“At first we thought we'd just buy a place, but after looking at maybe 50 houses, we hadn't found one that suited us,” says Kathy. “Also, we got lots of ideas from going on the Charity Home Tour, but the forsale houses we were seeing hadn't used any of those ideas.” The tour also revealed their solution: Eric Buck, an innovative architect who works extensively at the lake. “We heard about Eric, interviewed him, and we clicked,” Kathy says. 72

When they first met Buck, the couple had no real concept in mind for their new home. “All we had was a list of likes and dislikes,” says Neil. “We gave that to Eric and he went to work.” Somehow, Buck managed to convert their wish list into a floor plan that they loved immediately, according to Neil. “The first drawings he showed us addressed most all our wish-list items.” Big windows that feel really open to the outside: Check! A wide-open floor plan with a large chef's kitchen that flows right into the great room and dining areas: Check. No formal dining room: Another check. The list specified four suite-style bedrooms, with the primary on the main floor, for one-floor living into their “golden years.” One guest suite also had to be on the main floor, but at the opposite end of the house: “...So I won't hear my mother-in-law's snoring,” says Neil. Also on the list of likes—and Buck's proposed plan—were a screened porch with a wood-burning fireplace and a gas fireplace in the great room. As Buck fine-tuned the house plans, the Harringtons would go over them, make suggestions S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2


and send them back. Buck used 3-D rendering software that enabled them to simulate walking through the house. “That was terrific,” Neil says. “It was like seeing the completed home before the first nail had been driven.” Near the end of the planning, a consultation with landscape architect Dan Chitwood pointed out the potential advantage of flipping the design end-to-end in order to take better advantage of the lake view sight lines. Since the plan was essentially locked in, Neil approached Buck with that suggestion somewhat hesitantly. But Buck was in complete agreement. “Just another example of why he was so great to work with,” Neil says. Selecting a builder

The Harringtons also asked their architect for builder recommendations. After interviewing several candidates, they chose Bob Bauer to build their house. “He seemed to take great pride in his work, like he was building it for himself,” Neil says. ”And he had so many good ideas that helped us. A good builder and a great guy!” Bauer was helpful during the selection process, too. “We had no idea how to select building materials, so we had to rely on recommendations,” Kathy recalls. “We selected the stacked stone 74

for the exterior and the fireplaces at Marshall Stone, and Bob suggested board and batten siding.” After a year of the building process, the couple moved in on Memorial Day weekend in 2015. Their 4,200-square-foot home is spread over a main and upper level—no walk-out lower level for game and guest rooms typical in so many lake homes. The Harringtons great room serves as both the family room and living room. Two additional guest bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs, separated by a loft lounging area that is nautically decorated with items Kathy picked up at The Cottage Gate plus a photo-like painting on metal that they found in Hawaii. “We said, 'The main floor is for us, and the upper floor is for the grandkids,'” says Kathy. The huge great room windows (the ceiling there is 43 feet high!) look out toward the beautiful lake view, and although they are devoid of drapes, the flick of a remote magically unfurls shades from what looks to be no more than a strip of white molding. These were installed by Blinds and Beyond. On the lake-facing primary suite windows, there are similar shades that, given the standard room height, Neil installed himself. The couple had planned to have three overhead fans in the great room, but they settled for two. One of those, from S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2



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The Big Ass Fan Company, lives up to the manufacturer's name and has winglets like those found on commercial airliners. “It does the job of two normal fans,” Neil notes. What appears to be custom shelving and cabinetry flanking the fireplace on the great room wall is actually stock cabinetry from Reico of Salem, who also provided the matching kitchen cabinets. The kitchen boasts a large gas stove, a microwave drawer and a unique two-level granite island. Special features of the homeowners' primary suite include a built-in bench at the lake window, lighting in the cove ceiling, a bathroom with sleek glass shower walls that extend to the ceiling without a door, and a large walk-in closet with a central island.


The suite is painted one of the four shades of blue found throughout the house—this one being Sherwin Williams “Respite.” Kathy says that Janice Thurman of Envisions helped with paint, tile and backsplash selections. On this level is Neil's office where Kathy's electric keyboard is also located (she's teaching herself to play piano; yes, there's an app for that), and there's a serious exercise room with a treadmill, TV, and weights arrayed on a rubberized floor. Upstairs the two guest suites feature two more shades of blue: the queen-bed guest suite is painted Sherwin Williams “Rain,” and the bunk room, featuring a queen-size bed under two custom-built upper bunks, has Sherwin Williams “Leisure Blue.”

S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2


For landscaping needs, landscape architect Chitwood created plans while Seven Oaks did the hardscape and plantings. “We wanted to keep the lot as natural as possible,” says Neil. Looking out the front of the home, boulders act as a retaining wall, and, in the distance, the trees of this wooded lot were left untouched, providing privacy from the road. On the lake side of the home, a stone path winds to the dock, featuring boulders fortifying the hill here, too. According to the Harringtons, the boulders were Bauer's idea. Several large trees were left between the house and lake to provide privacy and shade from the afternoon sun. What are the couple's favorite parts of the house? One is the screened porch with a stone, wood-burning fireplace, TV, bar, and nature all around. The floor-to-ceiling


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screens are extra sturdy and have no supporting wood or metal frames for a completely uninterrupted view. Their other favorite place is the dock, built by Lynn Swain. It is situated on part of their 262 feet of shoreline, nestled into quiet Hatcher Creek which flows into the larger Craddock Creek, all of which form sections of Smith Mountain Lake. There are boat lifts for their two personal water craft and their tritoon. There's room for lounging and relaxing, and a wooden bar that is uniquely angled to maximize seating. Neil and Kathy give back to the community. He is president of the SML Marine Volunteer Fire and Rescue squad and has put his SCUBA skills to work as part of their Emergency Response Dive Team. He also responds with Saunders Volunteer Fire Company, and he is a member of the Smith Mountain Lake Association's Water Safety Council. Kathy, also community minded, volunteers at Lake Christian Ministries. Although the Harringtons were accustomed to boating on oceans and the Chesapeake Bay, they now enjoy keeping their boat in their own backyard. “Lake boating is so much more relaxing. And here you can boat year round,” says Kathy, referring to their 26-foot outboard-powered tritoon with full cockpit enclosure. “We're making the most of it.” ✦

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The road to minimalism is paved brick by brick. Want to know one of the secrets to its strong foundation? It all comes down to maximizing storage. For those of us who have fought the war against clutter, there comes a point at which you realize, some things you simply can’t get rid of. While more isn’t always better, there’s a happy medium. To make life run smoothly, we need a certain amount of stuff. To maximize joy, utility and convenience while minimizing hassle, strategic storage is a must. Before you think that this is the fast track to hoarding, understand that by embracing creative solutions, things are put away, but easily visible and accessible.


S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

Storage as utility

Utility and ambiance occasionally come together in rooms that serve a specific purpose. A garage adorned with pegboards and shelves filled with tools might not be aesthetically beautiful, but a space like this can still offer a certain charm by leaning into the room’s intention with a rustic or industrial vibe. In certain areas of the home, however, workhorse storage can be hidden. When you were a kid, you might have “cleaned your room” by shoving everything under the bed. It’s still not too shabby of an idea. To keep things contained, however, use low plastic bins that slide in and out. Under-bed storage drawers come in plastic or laminate or even upholstered with fabric. Some even have wheels. If the space is cramped or low to the ground, try foldable ziplocked bags designed for this purpose. Out-ofseason clothes, holiday decor and giftwrap, and photos and keepsakes are ideal to store under the bed—out of sight, but close to mind. Another storage hack is in making the most of vertical realestate in pantries, closets, or anywhere with cabinetry. Backs of doors and hanging rods, for example, are terrific for sectioned shoe racks or modular organizers. You can use them for shoes, or assign them the task of holding other small, lightweight accessories like scarves, mittens, sunglasses or hygiene items. Cabinet doors are another easy-to-overlook storage opportunity. Back-of-cabinet storage racks made of plastic or wood are great for cooking utensils, boxes of plastic bags or foil, and cleaning products (assuming they are out of reach of small children and animals). Wooden boards nailed across the cabinet interior with attached hooks can be perfect for hanging lightweight measuring cups.

In the bathroom, PVC pipes attached to the cabinet door can work well to hold heat-based styling irons and tools. A repurposed cake stand or lazy Susan, similarly, can hold small container items like makeup, skincare products and perfumes while taking up minimal counter or cabinet space. The advantage with vertical storage is that you see all categories in front of you with the naked eye, rather than stacking, burying and digging. Closets, attics and garages can become a hoarder’s paradise to the novice packrat. Yet these parts of the house, when used effectively, can become storage treasure troves. Attaching shelving up and down the walls can be a solid strategy for ground-toceiling storage without taking up floor space. Storage as ambiance

Sneaky storage that doubles as decor can enhance the look of a room while concealing objects inside. Many containers double so well as furniture and accessories that you wouldn’t even guess their hidden talent for storage. Baskets can weave the visual theme of the room together while serving as a drop zone near the entryway for mail and other important papers. Wicker can pose seamlessly as a kitchen island centerpiece or stow away under a bench for comfort items like blankets, throws and pillows. Baskets are a classic and flexible choice that fit a variety of decorative styles, from boho to farmhouse to granny chic. An ottoman in the living room that opens and closes can serve a similar purpose of hiding away comfort items when they’re not in use. On that same note, the cuteness of a kid’s room is only enhanced by colorful fabric foldable cubes or wooden boxes with


textured rope. These lend practicality for quick clean ups of toys, clothes and books. For bibliophiles and magazine connoisseurs, bookshelves are just the start. Consider draping magazines and books over the rungs of an upcycled wooden ladder. If you’re in a vintage DIY kind of mood, snag an old wooden crate and attach wheels to the bottom for a portable magazine rack. If you’d rather not fuss with DIY, enlist a decorative magazine file made of brass or wood, or beautified with a custom finish. Rest it on top of a desk or bookshelf, or squeeze it between your bed and nightstand for easy access to bedtime reading. A slim profile makes the magazine file a versatile choice. Storage can also be simple and straightforward. Sometimes a box is a box. Stackable storage bins and clear canisters pressed with pretty labels have grown increasingly popular, thanks to

the HGTV era, Pinterest, and shows like “The Home Edit.” These containers are perfect for cereal, dry fruit, nuts, rice, flour, sugar, and the like, as well as craft and stationery items. The decorative flair can really warm up an otherwise plain pantry or storage nook. Brightly hued decorative boxes on bookshelves or dressers allow you to infuse the room with all kinds of accent colors and emotional undertones. Such boxes, purchased inexpensively at craft stores, conceal small miscellaneous items and doodads that have no other home, but are used often enough to remain within arm’s reach. Storing doesn’t have to be boring! Give it your own creative oomph and enjoy the clutter-free life in which more storage means less mess. ✦

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DESIGN kitchen reno


BY J E SSIE THOMPSON Photography by Michael Patch


uring the pandemic, many were content to stay secluded in their homes dreaming of a remodel. But for homeowner Deb Beran, the dream alone wasn’t cutting it. “I have lived at Smith Mountain Lake for more than 30 years and been a REALTOR for 25 plus years, so I've seen a LOT of kitchens, including many dreamy ones in luxury homes,” says Deb. “That experience and insight definitely helped me realize our space could be vastly improved with upgrades that made sense, and products and finishes that would bring value to the house.”


S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

Deb is no stranger to remodeling; she and her husband purchased their home in 1988 and have been through several renovations—including a massive project in 2007 that included new windows, doors, exterior siding and a new roof. Knowing she wanted to keep the same footprint of the kitchen, but bring a fresh perspective, she reached out to Robin Schwadron, lead designer and owner of R Titus Designs, whose work she had seen at a mutual friend’s home. “I love her design style,” says Deb, “so I just let her work her magic, and she did. I love it.” Although Schwadron’s firm is in Chicago, both women say collaboration was not difficult, thanks to Zoom and emails. The first step in a successful remodel, says Schwadron, is figuring out her clients’ relationship with their kitchen: do they love cooking and baking or is it more of an entertaining space; what items must be within easy reach, and which items do they prefer to be out of sight? When working with a designer, says Schwadron, “You want someone who really appreciates the importance of


functionality and how that plays a key role in everyone’s day-to-day.” She notes that kitchens, because they are the workhorses of the home, should be more than beautiful finishes, textures and surfaces. For the Beran project, Schwadron suggested removing a dated, angled island, and repositioning the range to allow for upgrading to a gas range and convection oven. New cabinets were also part of the plan. “Because we were going to have to reconfigure the kitchen to accommodate the new appliances, it really didn't make financial sense to try and retrofit 88

the existing cabinets, even though they were in great shape,” Deb says. “So those cabinets found new life with a young couple renovating an older home. They were custom built by Montgomery Cabinetry in Wirtz, which is the same company we used for the new cabinets.” Once the larger items were placed, “We got to really focus on the details like the dog food drawer, coffee pods storage and an island large enough for the entertainers that the Berans are,” Schwadron says. Some of the more clever updates: a “secret” corner cabinet, a cookie pan organizer, a coffee pod storage drawer, and a light that comes on S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

automatically when the pantry door opens. Also handy is a dog feeding station that’s hidden when not in use. Aesthetically, Schwadron aims to balance colors, patterns and textures. The marble on the island is pretty busy, she says, so the other countertops are calm; some cabinets were left natural wood while others were painted. The whole process only took a few months; the project was underway before the existing supply chain issues. The pandemic has certainly made remodeling more difficult. “Inventory is bad, shipping times are bad, prices are up because of the first two and contractors are booked until 2030,” says Schwadron. “My number-one rule in a kitchen or bathroom remodel where the homeowners are still living is do not start the project until everything is in that you need to order. Even down to the cabinet pulls. Most clients understand this but it takes patience.” One piece of advice Schwadron offers for those contemplating a kitchen makeover: Hire an interior designer or a design/build firm. “Kitchens are expensive; there is no way around that. But it is the best investment in your property you can make. So take the time with it. Plan, plan, plan, then implement. It can’t be an overnight surprise makeover like on TV and it be a great kitchen.” ✦

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Ready For fun tips for a perfect day on the lake BY J ERRY HALE

How fortunate we are to live at or visit a place like Smith Mountain Lake where the possibilities for on-the-water fun are so abundant. Veteran creators of really memorable outings know that some planning and preparation can ensure the best possible experiences for family and friends. Here are a few hints for organizing your excursions with ease.


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Your bunch needs lunch

Ample food and drink are always a fitting complement to waterfront activity. Lake residents who have steep waterfront lots, though, can find that getting lunch, snacks, beverages and tableware to the dock—and leftovers back up the hill after a day of fun—can be a challenge. Whether you negotiate steps or drive an ATV or golf cart down a path, a sturdy picnic basket or canvas bag with handles will help minimize trips while keeping food fixings upright. If lunch will be on the dock, a spread of rolls, cold cuts, cheese, lettuce and tomato will let everyone fix a sandwich to their liking. Small containers of salt, pepper, sugar, ketchup, mayo and other basic condiments can remain at the dock; use moisture-proof containers to keep salt and pepper free-flowing and refrigerate other staples as appropriate. If you'll be on the boat or perhaps beached at an island, a premade or carryout sub/hoagie on a long baguette can be easily sliced into portions when hunger pangs strike. Sliced veggies or fruit wedges in a sealed plastic container make a good complement to (or healthy alternative for) chips. Melon chunks and bakery or homebaked cookies will suffice for dessert. Pack enough to double as a midafternoon snack. Give some thought to how perishables and beverages will be kept chilled. Some dock owners have dorm- or full-size refrigerators in their dock houses, which surely eases the challenge. A sturdy cooler that can be taken on board is essential for boat trips on most runabouts and pontoons; look for lids that lock down that can also act as a serving surface or tabletop. On-board fridges on most day cruisers and pontoons usually offer only enough cooling space for short outings with limited crew, so consider packing a stowable supplemental cooler to provide needed extra refrigeration. Prefrozen water bottles or ice packs are effective “fuel” for your cooler, but sturdy plastic bags of ice are more flexible and double as ice for lemonade or other poured beverages; double bag to avoid a leak that will make things soggy. A supply of koozies will help keep canned or bottled beverages from losing their appeal before they're fully consumed; stock them in a plastic bag or container on the boat, and another in the dock house. Be sure to include nonalcoholic thirst quenchers—especially the favorites of your designated skipper.


Think ahead about trash collection and removal and bring along sturdy plastic bags to line whatever receptacle fits handily aboard the boat or on the dock (five gallon buckets work well). If you prefer “going green,” labeled containers for cans and plastic bottles will preclude the unpleasant task of sorting through the trash at day’s end to separate out the recyclables. Get into the swim of things

NT .


A few safety precautions

Electrical Contractor





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Whether the swimming will be off the dock, off the boat or at an island beach, a selection of floaties and water toys always adds to the fun. Check local stores or online for the latest styles of noodles; it's hard to have too many, and they can be tucked away under boat seats and hatches or corralled in dock-house storage racks you can custom build. If your toy inventory includes blow-up rafts, “character” floats or tow toys, invest in a batteryoperated air pump, for electrical safety and use in the boat or on the beach. That way you can transport the blow-ups in spacesaving deflated mode and quickly inflate them for waiting users. And don’t forget to bring along a few extra towels. Stowed out of sight to stay dry until needed later in the day, they’ll be a hit with swimmers who get theirs soaked. A number of innovative new lawn and beach games are on the market, so search online for one or two that will be right for your mix of adults and kids—a new game always adds appreciably to the fun. Keep ease of storage and transport in mind as you make your selections. Also, several variations of sun-pad floats are available. Ask the staff at Bridgewater's Smith Mountain Wake Shop what's popular, or go online, paying attention to the user reviews. Think ahead about how you'll store a large, rolled sun pad between uses, and secure it aboard the boat if transporting it to your favorite anchor-and-swim spot.


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Your routine boating safety and wellness preparations should include bringing along a lake map, a fully-charged cellphone, plenty of beverages for hydration and enough strong sunscreen for repeated post-swim applications. On hot days, sun-shielding hats and extra sunglasses—for the “I forgot mine up at the house!” crew members—may come in handy. In fall or spring, windbreakers and lap throws will help fight off chilly breezes, unexpected cloud cover and late-day temperature drops. Keeping a selection of chilly weather items in a dry locker aboard during the off-seasons means you don’t have to pack them for each outing; removing them during summer heat makes more room for swim toys and the like, and helps avoid mildew. Passing afternoon thunderstorms are fairly common on Smith Mountain Lake, especially during July and August, so boaters who will be out late in the day need to prepare. How little shelter your boat offers dictates how much rain gear you may need, but remember squalls can produce bursts of near-horizontal rainfall. Take along a weather radio or download a good weather radar app on your phone. If lightning is nearby, get to shore immediately and let the storm pass. It's doubtful there's a dockowner on SML who would object to your seeking refuge at their port-in-a-storm. Every boat’s kept-aboard gear should include a waterproof container of first aid supplies—commercially available in wellmarked plastic kits, or you can create your own by packing key items in a Tupperware-style waterproof container. A duplicate S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

in the dock house is a good idea, too, in case someone gets injured when the boat is away from the dock. At a minimum, each kit should include bandages of several sizes, gauze pads, scissors, an elastic sprain wrap, wire snips (for fishhook removal), antiseptic ointment and a pain reliever of choice. And make sure someone besides the captain knows where to locate first aid supplies in an emergency. Enjoy the lake safely and responsibly

Fun on the water comes in varieties to suit most every family. Remember that everyone wants and deserves to enjoy their day dockside or afloat, so keep others in mind as you engage in your favorite activities. Operate your boat or personal watercraft with utmost respect for others who are on, in or near the water. When towing tubes, boarders or skiers, stay well away from obstructions like docks, markers and other boats. If you're towing surfers or operating a large cruiser, remember that your wake can be dangerous and destructive. Avoid making wakes in narrow creeks and


coves. Remember that multiple passes along the same section of shoreline will surely irritate homeowners. And keep your music low enough that it won’t assault others nearby. Boat owners should also remember that crew safety is paramount. Whether your day will be spent on the dock or out on the water, children 12 and under should be wearing properlyfitting life jackets at all times. Even kids who swim competitively need this precaution; lovely as the lake is, it is not a life-guarded swimming pool with the bottom clearly visible. Accidents can happen. As the dock or boat owner, you get to set the personal flotation device (PFD)-wearing policy for your young guests. Make wearing life jackets part of the fun and, in so doing, help protect children from falling victim to a preventable, life-altering water disaster. Prepare for every boat ride by putting life vests for all the adults out on deck where they can be easily accessed if needed. Boating accidents rarely grant time for digging under seats to find a PFD for everyone, and properly donning a life jacket in an emergency—especially if you’ve been thrown into the water—is far harder than you think. (Try it sometime during a casual swim session and see for yourself.) Boat owners can set a terrific example by wearing their PFDs and encouraging guests to do the same. Water fun is memorable fun, and Smith Mountain Lake is all about making memories that can be cherished for years to come. A bit of planning and preparation, plus attention to some safety and courtesy basics, can amp up everyone’s enjoyment and make the outing less stressful for its hosts. Get out there and enjoy! ✦



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LIVE flavorful kebabs


great grilling KEBABS OFFER VERSATILITY AND FUN BY SAR AH NICHOL A S When you want to entertain outdoors, but don’t want to stand over a hot grill for hours smoking something or waiting on large proteins to reach their optimal temperature, kebabs are a fabulous solution! They scream “party mode” for grilling season. Using quickcook cuts of meat, veggies, and even sweets, you can prep them ahead of time and quickly serve them, giving you time to mingle with family and friends. Plus, kebabs are packed with bite-sized flavor, allowing guests to experience unique combinations of ingredients and flavors. Besides … what is more fun than food on a stick?!



This is the ultimate go-to grilled appetizer in my house. Prep ahead and have hot and ready with a nice cocktail as guests arrive. It is a teaser of the greatness to come. 2 tablespoons of orange juice, fresh 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons honey 1 green onion, chopped 12 peaches, pitted and each cut into 12 wedges 12 slices bacon, halved 24 large toothpicks, soaked in water for 15 minutes In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add orange juice, butter, honey and green onion. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Wrap a peach wedge with a half slice of bacon and place on a toothpick. Repeat until all bacon and peaches are used. Place in a baking dish and coat with sauce. Cover and marinate for 10 minutes. Grease your grill grates and heat to 450. Grill kebabs until bacon is crispy, turning once, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.


Sticky and divine! These kebabs are a fun spin on classic barbecue and are sure to become a grilling staple. Make extra sauce and use on other proteins as well! Enjoy with a rice dish and grilled veggies, using the extra sauce for flavor. 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, grated 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated 3/4 cup ketchup 1/2 cup molasses 1/2 cup soy sauce 1/2 tablespoon grape jelly 1 tablespoon sesame oil 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced into 1 1/2-inch cubes 1 pineapple, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks Heat a 12-inch skillet on medium-low. Add olive oil and onions and sauté until tender. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Combine ketchup, molasses, soy sauce, jelly, sesame oil and cayenne in a bowl; whisk together. Add to the skillet and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Once the sauce is cooled, pour 3/4 of it over the chicken and allow to marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Once marinated, place the chicken and pineapple (alternating) on the skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak for at least 20 minutes in water. Grease grill grates with olive oil before preheating to 400 degrees. Place skewers on the grill; cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover and use tongs to turn the chicken skewers. Brush with sauce and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Turn, brush again, and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Serve with leftover sauce (not from the marinade) and enjoy! 96

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You can usually find good cherry tomatoes any time of year. When charred, they almost caramelize, and the balsamic adds a smokiness that is insanely flavorful. 1/3 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar 4 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced 1/2 lemon, juiced 24 cherry tomatoes Salt and pepper Whisk together first five ingredients (oil through lemon) in a large bowl. Add tomatoes to the mixture (stems are fine to leave on). Cover and allow to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes. If using wooden skewers, soak for at least 20 minutes in water. Grease grill grates with olive oil before preheating to 400 degrees. Remove tomatoes from the marinade and skewer 4 tomatoes on each skewer. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill, flipping once until slightly charred on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.


The dessert of kebabs! The brown sugar caramelizes like bananas foster to add the best nutty-sweet flavor. Kiddos especially will love this one. 1 1/2-pound loaf of crusty bread (I love sourdough) 2 cups half and half 4 large eggs 3 tablespoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Butter 7 bananas cut into 1/2-inch slices About 45 wooden skewers Cube the bread into 1-inch cubes and set aside. Whisk together half and half, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Lightly coat a nonstick frying pan with butter over medium heat. Dip the cubes in the halfand-half mixture and allow to soak for a few seconds. Arrange a single layer of cubes in the pan with space in between each cube and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat until all the bread is used. To serve, alternate

bread and banana on a skewer. We suggest caramel sauce for drizzling too!


I love this cocktail with kebabs! Barbecue offerings tend to be a little sweet, so the slight bitterness and citrus notes in this cocktail work beautifully. Looking at the recipe, you might think it’s too intense, but it is surprisingly refreshing. Makes two servings. 6 orange slices, divided 1 ounce simple syrup 4 ounces whiskey Club soda to fill 2 cocktail cherries Add 4 orange slices and simple syrup to shaker and muddle. Add whiskey and ice. Shake! Pour into rocks glass and add club soda to fill. Garnish each glass with an orange slice and cocktail cherry. Enjoy! ✦


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IMPROVE screening options

SCREEN IT IN Maximize your outdoor space with screens BY JANE RENNYSON


ou return to your relaxing retreat at the lake, only to be met with pollen, bugs, and that hot, unrelenting sun. You refuse to spend another day or night inside, but you’re not sure what to do. The answer to those pesky problems is a screened porch or other outdoor area. Screens provide shade, keep out pests, and shield you from rain, all while allowing sunlight and soft breezes to filter through. Imagine watching the sunset, enjoying the sounds of the evening, or having a meal outside, all while protected from the elements. Your outdoor furniture will also be protected, and pets can stay cool on hot days without the worry of them running off. Another benefit is the value added to your home. According to, the average cost to screen a 200-square foot porch is between $2,000 and $2,800. Experts say you should expect as much as an 84 percent return on your investment. 98

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Details and designs

There are several options for porch screening, all of which come in a standard mesh size of 18x14 (referring to the number of strands per square inch), which keeps out most bugs. You’ll have to upgrade to a 20x20 mesh if you want to ensure zero bugs. The most popular choice for screening material today is fiberglass, due to its affordability. Fiberglass is the least expensive choice; it’s easy to work with because of its flexibility and it won’t crease like other materials. It comes in a variety of colors and is very effective at reducing glare, thus providing great visibility. However, it can stretch and tear easily, and may not be suited for high-traffic areas. A more durable option is aluminum. It offers good visibility, but glare can be a problem unless you choose a dark color like black or charcoal. Aluminum will hold up well against UV rays and resist corrosion. It’s more expensive than fiberglass but also more rigid, which makes it last longer. However, the rigidity makes it harder to install and more prone to dents and creases. Vinyl-coated polyester screens are a great choice if your porch is going to get a lot of use, especially from small children and pets. Increased strength and durability allows it to outlast both fiberglass and aluminum. It’s known for sun control which makes it a favored choice for hot climates. It also comes in a variety of colors, but is the most expensive choice of the three screens.


Once you have picked out the type of screen that will best meet your needs, the fun begins. There are many designs to choose from when framing out your porch, from a simple configuration that won’t obstruct your view, to detailed designs that can dress up the lower half of the porch screens. From classic straight balusters and spindles to Chippendale, Southern cross or cathedral patterns, there is a look that will match any style of home and porch. Hire a professional

A professional contractor will be able to assist you with your screened porch project, but there are a few things to keep in mind before hiring someone. Always make sure they are licensed and insured, and ask for photographs of recent work. A new porch should blend well with the house and not look like an obvious addition. Hire a contractor who knows how to join the new porch roof with your existing roof. This can be a complicated part of the project and difficult if the contractor is not experienced. Ask for and follow up with any references they provide. Permits are a must when adding on to your home. Verify that all permits are in order before work begins. Make sure your contractor works from a detailed plan, and get an estimate for everything, including electrical work. A qualified electrician should either be on staff or hired for the project. Lastly, sign a contract for the work that will be done and the final cost. Do it yourself

If you aren’t ready to undergo a major construction project, there are other options. The garage is a place that can easily

be converted into a man cave, a ladies’ retreat, a place to host parties, a theater, or a hangout room for the whole family with the addition of screens. There are four main types that will allow you to do this. The most economical way is to install a roll-up screen. A roll-up screen attaches to the header of your garage door and hangs down to cover the opening. It’s weighted at the bottom and has a magnetic closure in the middle. It is easily rolled up when not in use. The next two options are similar in that they are both retractable—one is motorized and one is manual. The screen is installed at the top of the garage door frame with a track on both sides to guide the screen up and down. The manual screen has a chain which allows you to lower and lift the screen, while a motorized screen has a remote that controls the screen. A motorized retractable screen is beneficial for larger garage doors due to the size and weight of the screen needed to cover the opening. Both of these screen types, both roll-up and retractable, are not limited to the garage. They are also available for many different doors and porch sizes. The last option is a sliding screen for your garage doors. The sliding screens are attached to tracks on the header of the garage doors and on the floor of the garage. They slide from side to side in order to open and close. This is extremely beneficial if you have a lot of traffic in and out of the garage. Whether you are adding a screened-in porch or enclosing your garage, the end goal is the same. You’ll create additional space, add value to your home and enjoy more outdoor time with friends and family. ✦


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GARDEN ornamental grasses



ooking for a low-maintenance addition to your landscape that you can rely on all year for show-stopping good looks? Look no further than ornamental grasses. These hardy perennials are a fantastic addition to your Smith Mountain Lake home for a long list of reasons. They can help prevent erosion—not just on the slope to the lake but around the shoreline—while also offering a wildlife habitat. They don’t require regular maintenance, and are available in a wide array of colors, textures and sizes, keeping an attractive appearance most of the year. They offer delicate and sometimes striking blossoms, fall color, and movement in a breeze. They can be planted individually as a specimen plant, in place of shrubs, or in multiples as a border. In short, there’s almost nothing ornamental grasses can’t do in the garden.


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There are two types of ornamental grasses: cool-season and warm-season grasses. Cool-season grasses remain semievergreen throughout the winter, flowering in the spring and early summer on foliage grown in the fall. Warm-season grasses grow in late spring and flower in late summer and fall. They can vary in their growth habits; there are short, clumping grasses and tall varieties that spread by their roots, or rhizomes. Both types range between 1 to 6 feet in height and 1 to 3 feet wide, and both can be pruned and split in early spring. Clumping types will begin to die back in the center, indicating it’s time to dig them up and split them into smaller sections, usually every 3 to 4 years. Cool grasses are best planted in fall while warm grasses prefer spring, both needing to be watered until they are established. But once established, your ornamental grasses will require only occasional minimal effort. There are a number of native ornamental grasses, both cooland warm-season varieties, to consider for your landscape. Native are always considered best, as they are better adapted to the conditions of our region and will require less effort to thrive. They also provide food and shelter for native birds and insects, and are less likely to become invasive and destroy natural habitat. Little Bluestem is an unfussy native that requires only a sunny spot. A warm-weather grass, the blue-tinged leaves grow to be 2 to 4 feet tall, making it a great substitute for shrubs. It forms bronze blooms in late summer while the leaves turn bronzeorange. Pink muhly grass is another native warm-weather grass that has a spectacular autumn display of color with its pink flowers. Drought and wind tolerant, it prefers to be planted in large clumps in full sun. The “White Cloud” variety produces white flowers that resemble little white clouds. Woolgrass prefers wetter soil, making it a good one to plant near water, as it provides excellent erosion control when planted en masse. Their blades grow to about 2 to 3 feet tall and pop out a summer bloom in the form of a compound umbel (a flower cluster in which stalks of almost equal length spring from a common center, like that of Queen Anne’s lace) that become wooly at maturity and remain attractive well into winter. S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2




Another good ornamental grass for erosion control is Eastern gamagrass. This warm-season grass grows to be 4 to 8 feet tall in average-to-moist soil, preferring full sun or partial shade. It sends up floral spikes mid-spring to early summer with orange stamens (male flowers) and purple stigmas (female flowers). The foliage turns orange-pink in the fall and makes quite the statement in your landscape. Fountain grass, named for the shape its cascading leaves assume, makes a spectacular specimen plant. It offers foxtail-looking flowers in late summer that come in a range of colors, from tan (that fade to pink) to purple and red. It does well in almost any type of soil, in full sun as well as partial shade. Planted as a single plant, it is a dramatic centerpiece, or planted in a grouping makes a striking border. For cool-season grasses, there are also a wide variety of native offerings, including the Pennsylvania sedge. This low-growing, drought-tolerant grass reaches only a few inches tall, making it an excellent ground cover in shady areas. It also works well as a border plant for shade gardens. Another sedge to consider is the fringed sedge, which does well in

something for

full sun to partial shade and wet soil, making it a great grass to plant along water. In late spring, taller blades pop up with hanging seedheads that resemble fringe, hence the name. Blue fescue, with its soft, silvery-blue leaves is a lovely addition to the garden. Preferring sunny, well-drained soil, it makes an excellent ground cover or border, as it remains fairly short—under 2 feet tall. For a taller but also attractive cool grass, purple moor grass has textured blue-green blades that contrast with purple blooms that fade to bronze in fall as the foliage turns golden. It slowly reaches a height of 3 feet and prefers morning sun with afternoon shade. Plant purple moor grass either as a focal point in your garden or en masse as a hedgerow. Ornamental grasses have a lot to offer: low maintenance and year-round good looks with seasonal color. They can also help with erosion while keeping the native birds in the area content, making them ideal for your Smith Mountain Lake garden. ✦


WE ARE READY TO HELP WITH YOUR PLANTING NEEDS YEAR ROUND. 2452 Bethel Church Rd, Forest • Open Year Round* • 434.525.3107 •

serving Lynchburg and surrounding counties for over 30 years *HOURS CHANGE WITH THE SEASONS



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BY NOELLE MIL AM P h oto g r a p hy by C r a i g S h af f e r


lmost 20 years ago, Sheryl and Ed McNally first drove through the neighborhood where they eventually purchased their vacation home. They noted the prime location: lakefront, mountain views, deep water, on a quiet cul-de-sac. They heard about a home that would soon go on the market and jumped on the opportunity to see it. Even with a cumbersome 1980’s design and unwelcoming facade, they knew it would be the perfect place for their family to spend long summer days at the lake. Despite the dated touches, this Mountain View Shores house quickly became a favorite destination for Sheryl, Ed and their three children. For 15 years, the family took every opportunity they could to drive to Huddleston from their Roanoke home to spend weekends and summers, enjoying the house exactly as it was, shag carpet and all.



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“It was very 1980s,” says Sheryl with a laugh. “The walls were mauve and teal with wallpaper borders and lots of gold-tone fixtures. Carpet everywhere. It felt heavy and dark.” The upside to those intervening years gave Sheryl and Ed a lot of time to think about how they would make the inside of their lake home as beautiful as the views they could see outside their windows. Sheryl’s friend Cameron Harris of Cameron Harris Interiors helped the couple refine their vision to create a design that felt contemporary and flowed organically through the modern ranch-style home. In the fall of 2019, the couple engaged Matt Prescott of Prescott Construction to undertake a complete renovation of the home. The timing of the project, finishing at the start of a global pandemic, was challenging and so was the scope: removal of walls, installing new windows, remodeling baths, replacing the roof, and stabilizing decks. “Matt and his team pretty much had to do everything,” says Sheryl. “It was a big job, and they were so great to work with, so professional. And despite all the issues related to COVID they still had the project finished on time.” From start to finish, the renovation took about eight months, and during that time the home was transformed into a breezy, open plan that makes the most of the home’s spectacular lake and mountain views. The new glass front door with sidelights illuminates the McNallys’ entry. Over an antique chest hangs a large mirror flanked by two oils


by artist Emyo which were purchased at Magnolia in Roanoke. Beautiful new hardwood flooring flows into the rest of the house while the walls are covered in a family-friendly, navy faux seagrass wallpaper that Sheryl was especially attracted to not only for the look but its washability—key for a family with three kids and a sweet (but drooly) Old English mastiff named Lily. “Between the kids, their friends, and the dog, we really gravitate to textiles and finishes that are washable and can stand up to wet feet,” says Sheryl. “We did not want this to be a place where we had to worry about people touching or damaging things. We wanted it to be a place where everyone could feel welcome to just enjoy themselves.” Matt Prescott and his team removed several walls to create the wide-open feeling of the McNallys’ great room/kitchen. On either side of the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, large new windows open to the views outside. Walls, area rugs, even the furniture have been kept neutral so that all eyes will be drawn outward. Over the rustic wood mantel hangs a colorful pastoral painting by Lori Leist of Bedford. On opposite sides of the fireplace hang two additional oils, one of Lily and the other, one of Ed’s favorite Lynchburg landmarks, The Texas Inn, painted by Lynchburg artist Karen Lupton. 108

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The kitchen has been completely reconfigured from a dark, narrow L-shape to an open-concept kitchen featuring a large central island with blue cabinetry and white quartz countertops. The white subway-tiled backsplash and white perimeter cabinets give the entire area an updated but classic look. Moving the sink under the window and building banquette seating makes a huge difference in how the kitchen feels and flows. One of Sheryl’s favorite improvements is the large pantry, carved out of what was once a small laundry room and half bath off the hallway to the garage. “It is quite a hike to and from a grocery store out here, so I really wanted a large pantry,” says Sheryl. “Nothing fancy. Just plenty of storage for food and dog gear, with doors that could be closed to hide it all.” The pantry with its builtin shelving offers generous storage with plenty of room for laundry too. The clever sliding “barn doors,” painted the same blue as the island cabinetry, are an ingenious way to close off the area when guests arrive. 110

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The dining room has a casual, open feel, thanks to Prescott and his team who removed a wall to open the space to the great room and kitchen. A round farm-style pedestal table and matching cane-back chairs sit on a navy and white woven carpet. A series of framed botanical watercolors, painted by Sheryl’s mother, hangs on the walls. In the corner, where there was once a recessed bar area, Sheryl and Ed have created a home office. “We didn’t have a room to devote to a home office, but we can have … an office closet!” laughs Sheryl, demonstrating the pair of doors that close off the nook from the dining room. “Ed often finds that he needs to work when we are out here, and this way we have a place to put all the office equipment and stray papers that we’d rather not see when the ‘office’ isn’t in use.”



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The primary bedroom is on the first floor, a feature that Sheryl and Ed feel will come in handy as they approach retirement. Neutral colors on bedding, floors and walls are accented with navy and gray accessories. Large sliding doors have floor-to-ceiling drapes with a muted gray geometric print, but they are thrown wide open to enjoy the view. “The nicest thing about this room is that the bed faces east,” says Sheryl. “I get to wake up to beautiful sunrises.” A bright white dressing area opens off the bedroom, an area that has been completely transformed. “Imagine a long dark hallway that felt like a cattle chute with dark closets opening off either side and a bathroom at the end. That’s what we had,” Sheryl says. The McNallys gave up one closet and instead opted for opening the hallway, building in drawers, installing a marble



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countertop, and employing mirrored walls to make the space feel airy and inviting. Sheryl gravitates to clean white finishes, and the primary bath reflects this taste, with marble tiles on the floor and in the shower, and white cabinets with marble countertops on hisand-her vanities. The generous bath has ample room, thanks to removing an old Jacuzzi tub. Without the tub, there is plenty of room for a large shower, complete with an open, low-threshold entry in case either of them experiences mobility issues in the future. The home’s lower level has four bedrooms and another large gathering area beneath the great room above. This casual space has room for the kids and their friends to watch a game on TV, play foosball, or just watch the activity on the dock from an indoor vantage point. The adjoining kitchenette/bar area features new custom cabinetry with “Absolute Black” granite countertops, a second fridge, and a dishwasher dedicated to dishes coming back from the dock. “The second kitchen area has actually made a huge difference,” Sheryl says. “With this space, there’s food and drink available close to the dock, and someone can cook upstairs without needing to step on toes.” The cocktail-themed artwork was found at the George Dickel Distillery outside of Nashville, and on the floating shelves, Sheryl displays her collection of Kentucky Derby glasses from her home state.

fabulous finds


at smith mountain lake

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Also of note on this level, Harris and Prescott reconfigured an awkward space to allow access to a bunk room previously reached through one of the bathrooms. Now the bunk room has its own entrance, and the revised bath incorporates a trough sink with two taps in an area that could not accommodate separate sinks. The shower space was enlarged and now provides a convenient changing area for those coming in from the lake. Outside, a path winds down to the family’s dock area. While “dock” may conjure ideas of a simple board structure whose

(434) 316-9356

purpose is to tie up a boat, the McNallys’ multilevel dock serves multiple functions. There is a boat house, and a floating/sun dock available for kayaks and other water toys, as well as two separate gathering areas. On the lower level, comfortable seating keeps visitors out of the sun’s glare, while the upper level features bar seating at a counter-height table, ample room for corn hole boards, and even a place for daredevils to dive into the lake. “We really do sit out here all the time,” Sheryl says. “It’s like having extra rooms. Often, we have adults enjoying the shade on the

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lower level while the younger generation plays up top. It’s such a great view from wherever you sit.” Visiting on a weekday, the lake is serene. Hardly a ripple mars its glassy surface, as it reflects the surrounding mountains, but it is a different story on the weekends as the lake comes to life with splashing children and dogs, the hum of boats, and the buzz of fishing lines. The location is ideal and its close proximity is convenient for Ed’s family from Lynchburg to enjoy. It has been, according to Sheryl, a perfect place for their children to gather. “Every square foot here has a purpose,” she says. “Nothing is wasted, but at the same time, it looks and functions so much better. I love the way this renovation turned out. We waited a long time to get it right, but it was worth it.” ✦

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DESIGN upgrades that count

easy enhancements


Sometimes the old and familiar is comforting and nostalgic. But sometimes the old is just … old. If your home has begun to feel outdated, and you’ve put off large-scale renovations due to time or budget concerns, there are still some easy, affordable ways to give it a facelift. 118

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Everyone knows that painting walls is one of the most practical ways to transform a room. And don’t we all love projects with almost immediate results? But too often we start and stop with the walls when there’s so much more you can do with paint. What about the trim? While the go-to white can make darker walls pop and create a crisp border for lighter colors, try painting the baseboards, crown molding or window and door frames in the same color as the walls to make smaller rooms seem larger and have a more cohesive look. Even black trim can form a fashionable border for any color of wall. Be adventurous and choose a different color paint for your interior doors, stairs or banisters, bathroom vanity, cabinets, shelves or fireplace. Sometimes just repainting a few pieces of furniture can achieve the new look you’re going for — an entryway bench, barstools, bookcase or dining room chairs. Whatever you’re painting, if you decide to do it yourself, here’s some quick tips. For better blending, do your cut-in on one wall, then roll the paint on the same wall before the cut-in sections dry. Cover your paint bucket or tray with a damp towel when going back and forth between the brush and the roller or taking a quick break so they won’t dry out. Hardware

One inexpensive way to bring your home design into this century is to replace the hardware: doorknobs, hinges, drawer pulls, switchplates and wallplates. Some of us still have the old gold doorknobs and plain white plastic switchplates but don’t think much about updating them. There are more options than ever before, and you can make a big difference in a short time with nothing more than a screwdriver. Brushed nickel and bronze are popular options for doorknobs. Search online and you’ll find wallplates in a multitude of creative designs and materials. Copper, stainless steel and stone have come into play, with decorative covers ranging from hundreds of solid hues to vintage floral carvings and natural marble. If you love subtle touches that can go a long way, shopping for new drawer pulls and cabinet handles can be exciting. You can start off small, with a single piece of furniture, or go big by updating the hardware in an entire kitchen.



It’s becoming harder to find plain, standard light fixtures in stores. And that’s a good thing. Designers have dug their heels in on stylish fixtures that will, literally and figuratively, light up a room. Consider switching out your old chandeliers, pendants, sconces, ceiling fans, floor lamps and desk lamps for a whole new look. Purchase a few new lamps to provide that pop of color or design note that a drab room has been begging for. Also consider new lighting to accent wall art or even to create a mini spotlight effect for houseplants. If you don’t want to replace your old fixtures, just replace the globes or covers for your pendants and chandeliers (clear glass covers can create a contemporary feel). Even new lampshades will do wonders. If you’re a DIYer who loves to paint, you may not have to toss out that old brass chandelier that’s been hanging around for decades. Try using black metallic paint to create a farmhouse or industrial-style look for that real centerpiece of your dining room. (A practical tip from designers for best effect: Choose a chandelier with the diameter in inches that equals the length plus the width of the room in feet. And keep the bottom of the chandelier about 30 inches from your tabletop.) Don’t forget about the light source itself. Experiment with different wattage or fixtures that call for different bulbs. Brighter bulbs that allow for more light to expand further into the room can cause it to feel larger and more open. Installing dimmer switches is another simple enhancement. Countertops

If you’ve had the same counters in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry room for decades, they probably look like they have taken a real beating. Because countertops are often the first feature to be noticed and because they’re essential to everyday functions, switching them out can be one of the best home improvement decisions you can make. Choosing the right material may be the hardest part of the job; you want style and affordability, but you also want durability, especially if you’re hosting multiple guests over a long period of time. Quartz has long been the top seller, mainly for its resistance to stains and scratches. Granite comes in a close second. Marble is also near the top, always offering unique patterns that add a sense of elegance. While beautiful, because it is more porous, marble doesn’t have much defense against scratches and stains and is best used where you can be mindful of what foods you’re preparing on it and how best to clean it. While the most cost-effective and quickest route may be laminate, it can melt and scratch easily and send you back to square one looking for a better replacement. Tip: Hire a professional for this job. Making sure you have the right measurements and installing them correctly so they’ll withstand all the pressure for years to come is important. Plumbing fixtures

The best thing about today’s faucets, showerheads, and other plumbing fixtures is that you don’t have to be or call a plumber to install them. With a wrench and instructions in hand (or YouTube videos), you can replace your own. Kitchen faucets are one of the most oft-used features in all of our homes, and manufacturers have come a long way in improving the designs. Many feature a pull-down sprayer, no 120

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doubt a handy tool when washing dishes and cleaning out the sink. Most also feature a single handle. There are even “smart” models that feature a motion sensor, touchless design with a color-changing LED water temperature indicator, and touch-activated water flow. The finishes for faucets are also plentiful. People are moving away from the shiny chrome look and choosing a special finish that won’t show fingerprints or water spots, like stainless steel, brushed nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze products. Look for faucets featuring PVD (physical vapor deposition), which have been bonded by a strong finish built to resist tarnish, scratches and corrosion for a more durable, longerlasting product. Choose faucets that complement the shape and material of the sink, the countertops, lighting fixtures, and cabinet hardware. In a bathroom, keep in mind how the faucet will look with the mirror above it. Also consider switching out other bathroom fixtures, even if you need a plumber’s assistance. A new sink, toilet or bathtub could help you say goodbye to the dingiest areas, bring some sparkle back to your personal spa, and make a vacation home more of a relaxing retreat. Easy, quick, affordable. That’s the name of the game when it comes to home improvement that doesn’t involve a large chunk of your savings and weeks or even months of waiting on the completion of a major renovation. You will be amazed at how some simple touches can make your home more inviting for guests and more enjoyable for you and yours. ✦



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LIVE charity home tour


visit waterfront homes for a good cause BY FERNE HALE

The 2022 Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour will be held Columbus Day weekend, October 7–9. The eight stunning homes on the tour can be visited by car or boat. Tour proceeds will benefit local charities, including Helping Hands of Franklin County, Agape Center, Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County, Camp Kum-By-Yah, Tackfully Teamed Riding Academy, SML Good Neighbors, Bedford Ride, and Franklin County Family YMCA. Here, enjoy a brief preview of the homes on tour. The ANDERSON home in Waverly was on the SML Charity Home Tour over 20 years ago, but many changes have been made since then by the new owners, including replacing French-style arches, inside and out, with more Craftsmanstyle straight lines. Removing walls created a more open floor plan and a kitchen with twice the amount of cabinet space. “Before” photos will enlighten visitors to what one can do to a house with good bones. The WILHELM home in Montego Bay has amazing views of Smith Mountain from all of its rooms. Large double entry doors open to a marble foyer that reveals the open floor plan of the family room, dining room and kitchen. This two-level home has four bedrooms and six bathrooms, including the bonus room over the garage with a full bath, separate heating unit and elevator. The HINCHMAN home on the Gills Creek section of the lake is a two-story cottage-style home with five bedrooms, four-and-half baths and an in-ground pool with a splash pad between the house and the lake. The primary suite is on the main level, and lower-level bedrooms include a shark-themed bunk room and a sports-themed bedroom. Outside are patios and a hot tub. The GAUGER home in Huddleston is a total renovation. Situated on five acres, the owners took the house down to the studs to create a one-level contemporary. The color scheme is white with black trim accents. The home is open and bright with large windows. There are two primary suites, a bunk room, and a unique triple faucet sink. The whole house and dock are designed for kids' enjoyment. The ELMER home, also in Huddleston, has breathtaking, close-up views of Smith Mountain. This eclectic Craftsmanstyle home features cathedral ceilings, exposed beams, high doorways and wide European oak flooring. The living room has a stacked-stone fireplace. The lower level features a wet bar and family room with a game table, two guest bedrooms, and three baths, one of which is accessed from the lake. 122

The SETTLE home is a white board-and-batten eclectic contemporary trimmed in black. This home has many sparkly, unique light fixtures and unexpected color choices—a black tile accent wall, a black painted wall area, and dark-stained wood floors—and some distinctive pieces of furniture. This one-level home is very open and pleasing to the eye. The MACKENZIE home in The Water’s Edge is a complete redo of the existing house. Walls were moved and parts of the home were bumped out to create the luxurious home that it is today. A blue and white theme runs through the house, with occasional accents of coral and green. “Before” photos show the massive scope of this renovation. The GRAHAM Italian villa sits on 11 acres with 3,080 feet of shoreline. The 10,430-square-foot home has sweeping lake views plus windows from several rooms overlooking a courtyard to create a bright, airy feel. The Tuscan-inspired architecture and decor seem to transport visitors to the Mediterranean. A 1,000-square-foot guest house by the pool offers an ideal place to relax, and a 3,800-square-foot staff lodge sits midway along the lengthy driveway entrance to the property.

Visit for more information. ✦



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Where Everyone Feels At Home

designing a space for gatherings of all ages BY MEGAN WILLIAMS Smith Mountain Lake is a destination: 20,600 acres of sun, sports and shopping. Whether you’re a permanent resident, own a vacation home, or you’re earning a second income from a rental property, one thing is guaranteed: There will always be visitors. But how do you make sure your home is designed for bustling weekends with friends and family, while seamlessly accommodating quieter moments without company? Even the most seasoned of hosts can admit that such transitions can be a challenge to navigate. However, there are time-tested tricks that homeowners keep up their sleeves to make hosting just a little bit easier—from choosing versatile furnishings to creating the ideal flow to foster comfort and conversation. 124

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Go with the flow

A mantra for any host should always be “go with the flow.” You never know when a spill might happen, more guests than planned show up, or you have to accommodate a food allergy you weren’t aware of. In addition to mentally going with the flow, however, consider how your home itself flows. Think about all of the places you naturally congregate when you’re a guest in someone’s home. The kitchen island, outdoor spaces, living rooms and fireplaces are all natural gathering spots, which makes sense—they are where warmth, food and community can always be found. Whether you’re designing a new home from scratch or simply redesigning your current interior, pay special attention to these key focus points in your home. Consider the access points to each location. For example, are your kitchen and living room connected by a hallway? Warm and inviting lighting that guides your guests between rooms is beneficial. Is there visibility into the outdoor space so guests know they can congregate there? A simple door replacement to include a glass sliding door or a glass storm door would be helpful. Not only would it give guests a clear shot of your outdoor area, but it will bring in more natural light. Or, if a door opens to a screened porch, consider leaving it open when guests arrive so they know that it, too, is a place they can relax or congregate.


Conway Design Chip Conway - Architect


New Homes – Alterations & Additions Light Commercial

Give everyone a seat at the table

When considering places where groups tend to form, it’s important to make sure there’s plenty of room for everyone to sit, stand or lean comfortably. Bar stools around a kitchen island are a quick and affordable upgrade. Not only will they give your guests a place to relax, but they extend your dining area as well. Consider your dining space too, whether it’s in an open-concept kitchen or a separate dining area. The shape and layout of the room will inform whether a round or rectangular table is best. When it’s just you and your immediate family, maybe you don’t need a grand table that seats 12—but it always helps to have the flexibility to convert your table quickly to accommodate more guests. Shop for tables that have removable leaves or leaves that conveniently fold in and under the compacted table. Or, opt for a round table, which actually seats more guests per square foot than rectangular tables. One 60-inch round table will seat 6-8 guests and one 72-inch round table will seat 10-12 guests. Comparatively, a standard 8-foot rectangular table will only seat 8 guests. If you find that you need to seat more than 12 guests, however, and if the space allows, a large rectangular table with multiple leaves may be your best bet. An outdoor sectional sofa is perfect for one or two who want to lounge, or for a handful of guests gathered around a coffee table full of delicious snacks. Typically, sectionals comfortably seat five to seven adults depending on the number of sections. So if you routinely host groups larger than five or have a mix of children and adults, consider adding additional chaise lounges, comfortable chairs, a cozy bench, or an outdoor dining set if your space allows. Plus, have a few stylish but weather-resistant foldable chairs tucked away should you need more seating. The same mindset applies with your indoor living room as well. You want to create comfortable seating spaces for everyone in your group—whether they’re huddled together during game night or broken off into smaller groups. A sectional sofa or a couch and loveseat can create ample seating for a large family. When you add in accent chairs, you create a foundation that encourages conversation and togetherness. The key with seating is to give everyone a seat without filling the room with mountains of chairs. Seek out a stylish but functional ottoman or a few floor poufs that would be fun but 126

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comfortable for children or younger adults. Tuck cushioned or leather stools underneath a console for the moment someone needs a foot rest or an extra place to sit. Choose ottomans and benches that double as storage for the extra throw blankets and pillows that make your space feel even more cozy when guests arrive. Get creative with sleeping arrangements

Do you ever marvel at a rental property listing that touts sleeping 12 comfortably—but there are only three bedrooms? While it may seem like a mathematical conundrum, it’s actually a simple equation to solve. Rather than think of one bedroom as space for one or two people, think about how it can be optimized. Do you have friends or family members with children? Reserve a room for a set or two of bunk beds and dub it the “kids room.” Kids will have a blast congregating in one room (like a weeklong slumber party!), and you will have effectively made sleeping arrangements for 4 people with just one room.



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Think about optimizing your nonsleeping rooms as well. A basement game room can include a sleeper sofa that doubles as a day-time lounge and a nighttime bed for one person or a couple. A day bed in your sunroom can become a luxurious oasis. Trundle beds can work like magic to create extra sleeping space for a family with a young child. A Murphy bed in an office can quickly accommodate one or two additional people. Also get creative with how you stock your extra bedding. You may not want to have all of your guest bedrooms madeup year round, and you certainly won’t have your sleeper sofas or Murphy beds dressed at all times. A wooden armoire can house your bulkier duvets and comforters within their double doors, as well as your sheets and shams within the drawers. Tuck away extra pillows and throws in storage benches or ottomans. Designate a hallway closet for extra linens and guest towels. If you’re able, avoid stowing extra bedding in your attic as the temperatures will be a bit too warm and humid, and you’ll risk ruining your bedding. Create ageless entertaining

Make sure your home is ready for guests of all ages with just a few quick adjustments. If you envision having guests with babies or small toddlers, childproofing your home will create a more relaxing time for everyone. The quickest way to childproof your home for guests with children is to cover all electrical outlets that aren’t being used with plastic covers, and take inventory of fragile, heavy or breakable decor that is kept low to the ground. For example, if your glass vase is resting on the floor or a coffee table where curious hands could easily discover it, have a secondary location in mind where you can place it when your guests arrive. This way, you can still proudly display your decor while keeping little ones (and your items) safe. Similarly, if you have smaller trinkets expertly placed on top of consoles or on lower bookcase shelves, stash them in a drawer or move them out of arm’s reach before your guests arrive to avoid any potential hazards. More permanent adjustments include taking stock of any furniture that has sharp edges; consider making swaps for cushioned options. Transition your rectangular coffee table to a circular 128

one, or opt for end tables that have more rounded edges. As you welcome older children into your home, you can worry less about slips and spills and instead can focus on entertainment. Sure, your guests will visit with their phones and gaming consoles but it’s always helpful to have a few ageappropriate board games stashed away for kids to play together, or as a wholegroup activity. And, if you want to earn major points for being the coolest host ever, make sure the room they’re staying in has spare charging stations for their electronics and maybe even a stash of snacks. For adults, your WiFi password should be clearly noted in their room so they

can browse data-free. Your guests may also appreciate a TV in their room that’s hooked up to whatever streaming services you subscribe to just in case they want to spend an extra hour or two in the morning before joining the rest of the group. For senior guests, consider designating a guest bedroom on the main floor and adding extra hallway lighting leading to and from the bedroom for worry-free mobility. Also be mindful of accent rugs that may create trip hazards or be too slippery for those with unsure footing. And, for all guests regardless of age, keep spare toiletries tucked away in the bathroom cabinets just in case someone has forgotten something. S m i t h M o u n t a i n L a ke H O M E 2 0 2 2

Always have a stash of snacks

If guests are visiting for the week or weekend, you’ve probably had time to prepare menus and snacks in advance. But, it’s always helpful to have tried-and-true staples on hand at all times. To avoid a mad dash to the grocery store, keep a few specialty treats and drinks in your pantry. Chips and salsa, specialty crackers, almonds or assorted nuts, olives, assorted spreads, and cured meats are all shelf-stable components that can come together as a snack tray in a snap. And don’t forget about beverages! Have a few cases of mineral water, flavored seltzer, or juice on hand, as well as the ingredients to make a simple cocktail or two. If you host larger groups often,

Custom Lake Homes

Patio Homes & Condominums

invest in an extra refrigerator to store in the garage or mudroom that can be designated for beverages. With a little bit of planning and a furniture swap or two, your home will be ready to entertain friends, family, a large group, or even just you and your loved one during a quiet evening at home. But don’t forget the most important element: Having fun. Entertaining is all about community and creating an environment where memories can be made and laughs can be shared. As long as you feel comfortable and at ease, your guests will feel relaxed as well. ✦

Beautiful Lake Lots

Lake Cottages

Glenda McDaniel 540-797-2247 16869 Moneta Road Moneta VA 24121 |



DOORTEK GARAGE DOOR SERVICE is a family owned and operated business that is dedicated to providing the highest quality products and best service for both residential and commercial customers in SML, Lynchburg and surrounding areas. DoorTek’s mission is to raise the standards in the garage door industry, and create an amazing experience when installing, repairing, or maintaining your garage door.


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Listing, Selling, and Assisting Buyers at Smith Mountain Lake and Leesville Lake Serving all my clients with first class service: “In the Country, or at the Lake!”

Integrity & Care Are My Pledge

REG ANDERSON ABR, GRI (540) 580-6960

Thomas Ulbrich | Branch Leader NMLS #291329 p: (540) 420-8033 e:

REG ANDERSON ABR, GRI p: 540.580.6960 e:



Renovation Before & After THIS COULD BE YOUR NEW HOME!

Make your vision a reality with Movement Mortgage Homeowners and home buyers: If you’re interested in a renovation refinance OR a home purchase renovation loan, call me to discuss your options today!


16440 Booker T. Washington Hwy., Ste 304 A, Moneta, VA 24121 | CT-LO-291329, FL-LO100191, MD, NC-I-206977, SC-MLO - 291329, VA-MLO-5559VA | Movement Mortgage, LLC supports Equal Housing Opportunity. NMLS ID# 39179 (For licensing information, go to: | 877-3141499. Movement Mortgage, LLC is licensed by CT # ML-39179, FL # MLD1360, MD # 19094, NC # L-142670, SC # MLS – 39179, VA # MC-5112.Interest rates and products are subject to change without notice and may or may not be available at the time of loan commitment or lock-in. Borrowers must qualify at closing for all benefits. “Movement Mortgage” is a registered trademark of the Movement Mortgage, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company. 8024 Calvin Hall Rd, Indian Land, SC 29707


in Virginia





Known for their personalized approach and unmatched expertise in Smith Mountain Lake real estate, Vicki and Debbie provide award-winning service that’s both welcoming and rewarding. With more than 45 years combined experience, you’ll be hard-pressed to find agents with more insight and such a consistent track record of proven results.

We’ll show you why so many people have fallen in love with Smith Mountain Lake. Call or email us today.

Luxury Collection Specialist




©2022 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.