Smith Mountain Lake HOME Magazine 2023

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SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE ANNUAL ISSUE 2023 HOME design ✦ improve ✦ garden ✦ live ENJOYING THE OUTDOORS fire pits & fireplaces 10 native plants ENTERTAINING IDEAS light up the night fish fry fun ELEVATING YOUR VIEW design cohesiveness just add water Lake Life
is Better at the

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16 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 98 101 34 118 Smith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 DESIGN 34 GO WITH THE FLOW Design cohesiveness
65 LAKE LOOKOUTS Make the most of your view
IMPROVE 54 KEEP IT DRY Fighting mold, mildew
84 STOW IT AWAY Storage savvy
118 UNDER-DECK DESIGNS Increase your usable space
GARDEN 58 JUST ADD WATER Ponds, fountains & waterfalls
80 GO GREEN More natural fertilizers and weed killers
101 NATIVE PLANTS 10 regional must-haves BY
62 GET LAKE FIT Exercise on, in & around the water
98 DELICIOUS & NUTRITIOUS Salads for any occasion
122 TAKE A HOME TOUR SML Charity Event BY

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When you ask people about their favorite place, you’ll find a pretty even split between those who want to be by — or on — the water and those who desire a mountain getaway. No wonder Smith Mountain Lake appeals to most everyone, as you get the best of both!

I live about 30 minutes from the eastern side of the lake, and it’s always a pleasure to visit. Whether you want to relax by the water, hike, boat or eat out, you’ll find plenty of options at SML.

For some, the allure of the lake is so great, that they decide to invest in a permanent or vacation home. This issue takes a tour of three gorgeous SML homes and allows you to hear from the homeowners who built or renovated a perfect spot on the water. One family described their first visit to the lake years ago, when they fell in love: “It was September, it was the perfect fall weekend, and it felt magical.”

Whether you live at the lake or visit, this issue offers inspiration for making the most of your time here — especially outdoors! Check out our pieces on outdoor lighting and underdeck designs to create more usable space for entertaining, even at night. Gather around a fire pit or outdoor fireplace at the lake and extend your days even into the late fall. SML is the perfect place to host a fish fry: Start prepping! Pair those delicious morsels with a light and healthy salad — you’re sure to find a pleaser among this issue’s recipes.

If you own a place, you’ll want to check out ways to take care of your lawn that protect our waterways with our “naturally

green” piece on fertilizers and weed killers. We also explore 10 native plants that are perfect for the lake. Indoors, we look at ways to make your design flow more cohesively from room to room and ideas for making the most of those gorgeous lake views. And because so many lake lovers want to retire at SML, we provide some accessibility tips to keep you safely in your home.

I hope you’ll enjoy this issue of SML HOME at your favorite spot on the lake. Drink a tall glass of lemonade — or other refreshing beverage — give the magazine a read and enjoy all that the lake has to offer in 2023!

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EDITOR’S note 6760 White House Rd., Huddleston, VA 24104 - (540) 297-6002 Vacation Rentals Search Over 70 Lakefront Vacation Homes! Real Estate Sales Selling Smith Mountain Lake for Over 43 Years! ...personalized, not franchised Best Real Estate Company Best Vacation Retreat Best Realtor, Wil Childress Best Real Estate Team




Trish Roth


Donna Dunn


Mitzi Bible

Paula Peters Chambers

Kate Ericsson

Charlotte A.F. Farley

Ferne Hale

Jerry Hale

Katherine Knopf

Kendall Atkins Livick

Christina Moore

Sarah Nicholas

Amelia Poore

Ashley Blair Smith

Jessie Thompson

Ryan Tipps

Nicole van Esselstyn


Jared Hall

Michael Patch


Donna Collins


Kirsten Morey Becker

Julia Belvin

Joe Katany

Anne Marie Poore

Kenny Shelton


Smith Mountain Lake HOME is published annually by James River Media, LLC.

For advertising information please call (434) 845-5463 or email

To discuss coverage of an event relating to home or garden, please contact Smith Mountain Lake HOME at


(434) 845-5463

Copyright 2023 by James River Media, 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 James River Media, 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, James River Media, 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, James River Media, 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.

20 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023
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One of the many pleasures of living at Smith Mountain Lake is spending time outdoors, whether it be relaxing on a dock, dining al fresco or hosting picnics and barbecues on the deck or in the backyard. There’s something magical about late nights at the lake quietly watching a sunset, conversing around the table or playing outdoor games into the evening. Landscape lighting can help extend the time in your outdoor living areas while adding ambiance, safety and security.


Where to start

When thinking about exterior lighting, take a moment to stroll around your property and note the features you would like to illuminate. Do you have a beautiful garden bed? A gazebo? A favorite bench underneath a stately tree? Uplights or spotlights can cast a glow on these special places. Consider first lighting areas like winding pathways or potential hazards in your yard. Lighting walking spaces and areas that may be problematic will provide a welcoming warm glow and ensure safety and comfort.

Secondly, it’s crucial to research your light sources when planning for exterior lighting. Note the voltage frequency necessary to power the lights you are considering. There are three types of lighting choices: Low-voltage lights powered with 12 volts, line-voltage lights powered by 120 volts (typically used for floodlights and wired light sources) and solar-powered lights. Low-voltage lights and solar lights are the easiest to install, and are perfect for DIYers. Low-voltage lights run off an outdoor receptacle that transforms your home’s electricity to a safe 12 volts. They will require a cable or extension cord to reach the lights. Lights powered by 120 volts need electrical conduits and should be installed by a professional electrician.

Solar lights are powered by the sun and need proper positioning. There are, of course, less durable lights and light strands that are battery-operated. When choosing between LED bulbs (light-emitting diode) and other bulbs such as incandescent, halogen or fluorescent for low voltage lighting, it is wise to invest in LED bulbs. With no filament to break or burn out, LEDs can last 40,000 hours, approximately 20 years of regular use, compared with just two years for halogen bulbs. LEDs are also extremely energy efficient. LEDs use about 8-20 watts while halogens use 29-72 watts.

26 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023
PHOTO: SOUTHERN LANDSCAPE GROUP 765 Webster Rd Glade Hill, VA 24092

As well as fixtures, make sure you purchase bulbs for outdoor use. We all know that water and electricity don’t mix. Therefore, outdoor lights need to meet certain safety guidelines. Wet and damp ratings are given by Underwriters Laboratories (UL rating) to make sure these safety standards are met, and packaging will indicate whether it is suitable for outdoor use. LEDs exposed to the weather should be UL damp or wet location listed, depending on the level of exposure. Covered lighting on a porch or under an eave needs at least a damp location rating, while completely uncovered LEDs need a wet location rating.

Once these two steps are taken, you are ready to think of executing your landscape lighting. Consider lighting as serving two purposes: task or ambient oriented.

Task lighting

Task lighting serves a practical purpose. If you simply want a safer yard, it may be enough to install basic high-voltage lights along your driveway or any pathways leading to your garage or exterior doors. 2 7

Motion-sensing lights or timers are good choices for part-time lake residents. However, no one wants to relax in the evening under the glare of a bright floodlight. That’s where the nuances of landscape lighting come into play.

One of the most common task lighting effects is to illuminate potential safety hazards in common pathways. Low-voltage path lights are small posts that have a light built in and are capped with a diffuser. They can be used to frame out a space or feature in a yard, or spread out down a walkway. In-ground recessed lights or puck lights are another option. Ballard lights are taller than pathway lights and work better in larger spaces. Fence post cap lights also cast a glow on paths and walkways.

Solar stakes work well in pathways and are easy to install. Benefits of solar lighting include the absence of both wires and electricity usage. When using solar stakes, make sure they are positioned in such a way that the photovoltaic cell receives enough sunlight during the day to allow it to shine throughout the night.

Lighting steps or rails on your deck or walkways and paths will brighten your outdoor space. You may also want to highlight masonry or other borders in your yard. Hardscape lighting options include slim LED or solar lights that can be retrofitted into retaining walls, staircases, kitchens and fireplaces, if they are not already hard wired into the structures.

Advances in technology and demand have resulted in more options for lighting, such as portable LED wireless lamps. Wireless lamps are perfect for grilling, cooking and eating once the sun goes down. LED wireless lamps now come in a variety of sizes and shapes like cubes and globes. Many run on smart technology and are Bluetooth compatible.

Ambient lighting

Unlike task lighting, ambient lighting involves low levels of lighting placed throughout your entertaining spaces and yard to create mood and atmosphere. The key here is low. You do not need the same level of light outside that you have indoors. A lot of lighting can actually be detrimental to the enjoyment of your outdoor space.

Ambient lighting can range from a simple candle in a hurricane lamp to the more elegant addition of an outdoor chandelier. Areas that are perfect for ambient lighting are patios, patio umbrellas, gazebos, pergolas, balconies and pools.

String lights and Edison lights will beautifully enhance any of these spaces. Use string lights between the edge of the house and other high-mounted spots around the patio, such as awning supports or decorative posts. There are many ways to use outdoor string light ideas, such as to line the fence with a string of lights to add a decorative element to an otherwise boring

28 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023

fence, or crisscrossed at angles to make a small yard appear bigger. A good, sturdy string light zig-zagged over a dining or entertaining space lays down a soft, overall light and creates an atmosphere like a French café or Italian piazza.

Other ambient lighting ideas include solar powered lanterns, pendant lights and fairy lights tucked into mason jars. For larger patio spaces, multiple outdoor large-sized lanterns and other wall lights will enable you to set a consistent style. For patio spaces with a sturdy roof or awning, consider outdoor chandeliers or ceiling fans that have lights.

If you have a dock, there are a variety of light choices available — from lights that drop to the bottom of the lake floor and illuminate upwards to mounted styles on the dock itself. Many lights offer multiple LED color options.

Outdoor lighting allows you to accentuate your home and the outdoor elements that you take pride in most. Shine on what you love, and enjoy all that lake life has to offer. ✦ 29
© 2023 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 Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Equal Housing Opportunity. 540.721.8659 A leader in the Smith Mountain Lake real estate market since 1987, we are locally owned and operated — and we’re backed by a company whose name is known and trusted worldwide.

How to host a phenomenal fish fry


My dad is known for his fish fry mastery. My whole life we’ve had fish fry events – my parents, sister, brother, our families, and our extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins can attest to his delicious skills.

In fact, during the height of the pandemic in 2020, Dad said we would have a fish fry when we all got together again. To my dad, a fish fry seemed like the exact right celebration after a long period of separation. For a lifelong, avid fisherman, fishing was something he could do during quarantine, so he was creating quite the stock in my parents’ standalone freezer. Mostly with his favorite to fry … crappie.

30 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 LIVE delicious celebrations

Then, in early 2021, he had a health scare. But, even then, he kept talking about a fish fry. Gratefully, he recovered, and the world opened back up. He got his fish fry.

For us, a fish fry has always been about more than just the food, though that is important. It’s really about bringing people together and making memories. While a fish fry can be held inside, the most festive and best ones are outside, on a warm day or evening, surrounded by people you love. (Plus, who wants a house that smells like fish?!)

Fish fry 101

Whether a professional chef, home cook or a person who fishes, everyone agrees that not all fish are best for frying. The favorites are those that are lean with a neutral flavor and white flesh. These fish can tolerate hot oil, cook up evenly, take on the flavors of your breading or condiments well, and provide that flaky center to complement the crispy exterior.

If you’re fishing Smith Mountain Lake, that means crappie and white perch, but catfish or striped bass can be good options, too. If you’re pulling in fish from other areas, look for cod, tilapia or halibut.

Prepping the star

The star of any fish fry is the fish itself, and every star needs to be well prepped. In the case of a fish fry, that starts with filleting. Anyone who fishes probably has a preferred method of filleting, but some aspects hold true regardless of person or preference.

Filleting starts with a good, sharp knife or electric knife. To fillet a crappie, for example, with an electric knife, you start right below the head and go down the backbone. Then, flip it over and go down the skin on the other side. Once done, check the fish to ensure all bones are removed.

To eat the fish right away, pat them dry thoroughly and keep them cool until you cook them. You can store them in a resealable bag or sealed container in your refrigerator for a couple days. To eat them later, put the fillets in a resealable bag and fill with water to avoid freezer burn. Seal, date the bag and lay flat in your freezer for up to several months.

Dressing the star

With all the prep done, it’s time to get the fish ready for frying, and at this point, it’s now all about the breading, the oil and the fryer. You can make your own breading or buy pre-made, even good gluten-free options. Use a separate fryer for the gluten-free breading to avoid cross-contamination if that’s a concern.

If your fish fry is a small affair, you can use a simple kitchen fryer. If you have a larger crowd of a dozen or more, you’ll want a large fryer, or you’ll be making small batches nonstop and miss your own party! You can use fryers that operate on propane or get a fryer pan that sits on top of your grill. My dad, a welder, made his own fryer pan. Most frying experts say canola oil is the preferred choice, though peanut oil or coconut oil are additional options. Regardless, the oil needs to be hot enough that the fish fries up immediately or the fish will soak up the oil.

The supporting cast

Any good show has a strong cast. And any good fish fry has a strong set of side dishes.

With the fryers going, you can easily make hushpuppies and French fries, which are always crowd pleasers. But no fish fry is truly complete without coleslaw. Other popular fish fry sides include baked beans, corn on the cob, greens or mac and cheese.

Whether you’re throwing a party or feeding a few friends, plan a fish fry this summer. You’re sure to make some scrumptious memories! 31


To turn your fry into a party, add a few festive elements:

n Create atmosphere with music, string lights and a fire pit.

n Set up yard games such as cornhole, horseshoes, Frisbee or badminton.

n Share fishing tall tales.

n Create games: Display pictures of fish and see how many people can identify. For children, play pin a fin on a fish.

n Add fish or fishing-related décor such as banners, balloons, tablecloths and paper products.

n An unused (or thoroughly cleaned) tackle box can hold napkins and silverware.

n A fish bowl with flowers can serve as a centerpiece. we

32 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023
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design cohesiveness at home

Home décor can be overwhelming. With so many options available, it can be hard to determine how to make your home look put together without investing too much time or money. Thankfully, there is a way to achieve design cohesiveness throughout your home without breaking the bank.

Design cohesiveness entails using color, texture and shape to create a unified aesthetic within your space. By following some simple guidelines, you can create a cohesive home that reflects your personal style.

34 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 DESIGN go with the flow

Curating design elements

When you’re tying together design elements in your home, there are a few things to keep in mind:

n First, think about the overall style or theme of your home. This will help you choose furniture, artwork and accessories that fit with the overall look.

n Next, consider the colors and finishes of your different pieces. Try to choose items that complement each other and create a cohesive look.

n Finally, think about the scale and proportion of your different elements. Choose pieces that are proportional to each other and fit well within the space.

By following these tips, you can create a cohesive design in your home that flows from one room to the next.

Choose a style or era

When it comes to design cohesiveness, one of the most important things you can do is determine a certain era or design style that pulls all your pieces together. This will help you create a look throughout your space and make sure that each element works together.

There are a few different ways you can go about determining the era or style for your home. First, take a look at the overall architecture of your space. If you have an older home, chances are it was built in a specific style, like Victorian or Edwardian. You can use this as a starting point for your design, and then add in elements from other eras or styles that complement it.

Another way to approach this is to start with one key piece, like a piece of furniture or artwork, and then build the rest of your room around it.

Whichever method you choose, make sure that you take the time to really consider what will work best for your space. Once you have a clear idea of the era or style you want to achieve, putting together the rest of your room will be much easier. 35

Don’t overdo it

When it comes to design cohesiveness in your home, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. When every element in your home is perfectly coordinated, it can start to feel like you’re living in a showroom instead of a comfortable and inviting space. A little bit of variety can make your home feel more welcoming, so don’t be afraid to mix and match.

Break out here and there

There are definitely places in home design where you can break out of your style! The great thing about decorating your home is that you can make it unique to your taste and personality. If you want to try something new or different, go for it in these three areas:

n Your entryway provides a great place to make a bold statement. This is the first space that guests will see, so make it count!

n Have fun with your kitchen style. If you usually go for a more traditional look, why not try something more contemporary? Or vice versa!

n Experiment with different styles in your bedroom. After all, this is YOUR space to relax and escape from the rest of the world. Go ahead and mix things up a bit!

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Open concept homes

In an open concept home, the layout and flow of the space is important in creating a unified design. The furniture, décor, and finishes should all work together. For example, you will likely want the flooring to be the same across the connected spaces.

Colors and textures are among the most important aspects of design cohesiveness. Choose a limited color and/or texture palette and use it throughout the space. This will help to create a sense of harmony and visual interest.

The final element to consider in an open concept home is lighting. Use lighting to create different zones within the space and highlight certain areas or pieces of furniture. This will help to add visual interest and bring the whole space together. 37

Identify design threads

Use a repeated element throughout the home. This could be a certain color, style, material or pattern. By using a design thread, everything in the home will flow together.

Design cohesiveness plays an important role in creating a comfortable atmosphere. By using the same color palette, furniture shapes and textures throughout your space, you can create a unified look that brings all the different elements together. Whether it’s in the form of matching upholstery or accessories, coordinating colors and patterns to make your space feel cohesive is essential to achieving a harmonious interior design style. Remember, when it comes to finding balance in your home’s design, less is more. ✦

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Retire with confidence — and in style! — at Runk & Pratt’s Smith Mountain Lake Retirement Community! From modern patio homes and apartment-style suites to private and semi-private rooms, we o er award-winning senior care with a wide range of services and accommodations for all stages of aging, abilities, and lifestyles.

Our Private and Semi-Private Rooms are spacious and airy and include individual heating and cooling units, cable television and telephone services, and a highly trained nursing sta onsite 24/7. When not relaxing in their rooms, residents are encouraged to 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!

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The moment you step into Runk & Pratt’s Smith Mountain Lake senior community, you’ll notice one thing — the light! Our large window s and open oor plans are designed to brighten the emotional and physical wellbeing of our residents and guests alike! Because we strongly encourage a sense of community, our common areas are large and inviting while our private dining rooms provide the perfect atmosphere for residents to connect with each other.

room includes a kitchenette, ample living and storage space, and a private bathroom to allow for a comfortable and personalized living space that’ll make you feel right at home!

The Cottages is a sprawling, 25-acre neighborhood comprised of custom modern patio homes near Westlake Towne Center, a perfect location for active retirees who love gardening, going for walks, shopping, or just enjoying the serenity of being near the lake! Choose from single-story duplexes or quads, both with customizable floor plans and

fixtures — and best of all, you own your deeded property! Located adjacent to our Senior Living Community, medical care and specialist appointments are always at your fingertips. Cottage residents also enjoy a free membership to the nearby Westlake Carilion Wellness Center!

At Runk & Pratt Smith Mountain Lake, we want to give you the confidence to be yourself, feel at home, and to continue to do what you love, knowing that your wellness is always our priority!


‘It Felt Magical’


When you hear about Smith Mountain Lake, what comes to mind: mountain views or boating scenes? Some folks might answer a hearty “both!” since one of the truly wonderful aspects of visiting or living at the lake is how the landscape juxtaposes mountain vistas and leafy, wooded acreage with stunning waterfront views. And this is exactly the scene you’d find on your way to see Kappie and Jim Fitzgerald. 43
Photography by Michael Patch

A family place

To get to the Fitzgeralds, you’ll first need to drive along a country lane filled with farmland, with the Blue Ridge Mountains blanketing the background. Next, you’ll wind down a shaded path, the sun dappling throughout the leafy canopy of oak and maple trees. You nearly forget you’re looking for a lake with views this lush and green! Finally, a clearing gives way to a brand-new home seemingly perched at the water’s edge, as if the lake itself serves as the home’s backyard.

It’s a peaceful drive, and as Kappie says, “I love that there’s no traffic here!” She and her husband Jim reside in Midlothian, Va., which is where Jim (a University of Lynchburg alum) built his insurance and financial services business and where they raised their family.

Early on, the couple dreamed of owning their own summer or vacation home, but life was busy with raising four daughters and running a business. As the girls grew up and went away to college, Kappie and Jim resumed that long-ago conversation about purchasing a second home.

“The first thing we did was talk to our girls — we really wanted the second home to be a true family place where our daughters and their families would actually come, and we could spend time together,” Kappie explains, adding that she and Jim didn’t want the home to be considered “just Mom and Dad’s place.” With that in mind, they asked their daughters what their preference would be: a vacation home situated on a river, at a lake, or near a beach. They chose the lake unanimously.

44 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023
46 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023

Around that same time, Kappie and Jim rented a lake house at Smith Mountain Lake, a convenient location for a quick weekend getaway and close enough for one of their daughters (then a student at Virginia Tech) to visit. “It was September, it was the perfect fall weekend,” Kappie recalls, “and it felt magical.”

Meant to be

All it took was that one fabulous weekend at the lake for the Fitzgeralds to fall in love with the place, and they soon set their sights on locating

the just-right home for them at Smith Mountain Lake. They spent several months touring property after property, but they couldn’t find anything close to what they were looking for. The idea of building their own lake house came to mind, so the couple began scouting out land and possible building sites. After nearly a year of searching, they found the spot they’d been looking for. “We drove back to the Airbnb we’d stayed in during our first visit to the lake, and wouldn’t you know that a nearby lot happened to be for sale? It was meant to be,” says Kappie. 47
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The lot offered a whopping 145 square feet of frontage along with a picture-perfect view of Smith Mountain itself — something Kappie and Jim wanted to highlight in their home design. The couple engaged the services of Comprehensive Home Design and worked with Eric Buck to bring their vision to life. The Fitzgeralds shared several “inspiration pictures” with Buck to give him a general idea of what they wanted the home to look like.

“We also had in-depth discussions going room to room through the house,” Buck says. They began with the main floor before moving onto the lower level and exterior.

“The exterior ties the looks of a mountain retreat with the amenities of a lake home,” Buck explains. He provided 3-D renderings of the exterior as well as 3-D “walk-through” videos of the interior, too. “The layout is very comfortable and family friendly…all with a beautiful view of Smith Mountain Lake,” Buck adds. Construction drawings came once the Fitzgeralds approved the designs.

After interviewing several reputable builders from the area and ultimately selecting Bob Bauer for their project, the Fitzgeralds began the process of building their 5-bedroom, 4 ½ bath family vacation home. 49
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Take a tour

Step into the space, and you feel as if you’ve entered the quintessential coastal home. The main floor boasts an entire wall of windows that take advantage of the home’s waterfront location, affording a 180-degree view of the lake and Smith Mountain itself. The open-concept great room, bathed in natural light, echoes the palette seen outside the windows and is dressed in soft shades of blue, beige, and white, a classic nautical palette. Natural materials and textures are on prominent display in this room and throughout the home: hardwood floors, wooden ceiling beams, seagrass, and wicker all nod to the home’s beautiful setting.

“Our number one goal was for the house to feel comfortable, not formal,” says Kappie. She enlisted the help of Alex Wood Designs to help her achieve her desired aesthetic. With touches of shiplap here and there and an occasional barn door, there’s an air of casual elegance throughout the space. Here, modern farmhouse style meets elegant coastal design. The custom stonework fireplace features a rustic wooden mantel flanked by built-in shelving. The room flows easily into the dining area, with a stunning wrought iron candelabra suspended above a table set for 10.

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Just off the kitchen lies one of Kappie and Jim’s favorite rooms: the screenedin porch. The family especially enjoys this space thanks to an outdoor stonefaced fireplace and two infrared heaters installed in the ceiling “that makes the room completely comfortable 10 months out of the year,” says Kappie. “It’s the perfect spot for a morning cup of coffee!”

The porch also allows for access to the huge deck filled with cocktail tables and loungers. Below the deck, you’ll find a pretty flagstone patio that leads to a fire pit, corn hole, and a boat house. On rainy days, though, the family steps inside to the home’s lower level where they enjoy playing ping pong, watching TV and playing games together. There’s even a second kitchen-turned-wet bar down here for added convenience, as well as more bedrooms. “The bedroom with the bunk bed can really be used by anyone,” Kappie explains, “but the grandchildren really love it!”

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The home is designed with family in mind, as the Fitzgerald’s family continues to grow. Kappie adores being a grandma to five grandchildren, and you’ll find playpens, toys and cribs throughout the house. In fact, she says that having grandchildren is just one of the reasons she couldn’t live at the lake full-time. “I can’t imagine being away from my grandkids!” she says with a smile.

Between Kappie, Jim and their daughters, someone from the Fitzgerald family is often at the lake house — just as Kappie and Jim intended. A Google Calendar makes scheduling simple.

“It’s a total family lake house, Kappie says. “And although we never gave it an official name, my husband and I liked ‘The Four Reasons’ as an homage to our four grown daughters. This home wasn’t built as a retirement home, but as a retreat for family and friends.” ✦ 53

banish Mold & Mildew with dry, airy fixes

Practically all homeowners shudder at the sight of the ugly gray or light brown (mildew) or black/green/red speckles (mold) that crop up in basements and closets, on outdoor furniture cushions, boat vinyl seats and padded trim. In fact, any surface that’s regularly exposed to moisture and/or is poorly ventilated is an inviting host for these fungi. Homeowners lucky enough to own waterfront property are especially susceptible.

54 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 IMPROVE keep it clean

Fungi spores arrive though open windows and doors, vents and HVAC systems. They hitchhike in on clothing, shoes, bags and even pets. Mildew starts as fine dots and migrates outward, while mold grows inward, eating into surfaces and causing significant damage.

The ugly stuff can form wherever there is moisture. Leaks in roofs and around windows and pipes soak surrounding areas and create mold nurseries. It thrives on paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, insulation, drapes and carpet. A home that’s been flooded is likely to become “mold-central” in no time.

So can anything be done to prevent mold and mildew from forming? And how does one best deal with this unsightly nuisance?

Keep it dry and airy

Low humidity and good ventilation are sworn enemies of mildew and mold. Home humidity should be kept below 50 percent whenever possible; air conditioners and dehumidifiers help significantly. Also, clean out storage areas to allow for better air circulation; piles of whatever in the back of closets invite mildew formation. Setting your HVAC fan to operate continuously, especially during warm, humid months, is a logical defense tactic.

Here are a several more recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

n An inexpensive meter from a home improvement store will make monitoring your home’s humidity easy. Levels change over the course of a day so you will need to check it more than once a day during a trial period each season.

n Be sure the air in your home flows freely. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom, especially during showers. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.

n Air purifiers can help prevent the spread of mold spores. Recent HVAC units often include mold-inhibiting lights that typically require maintenance or replacement to remain effective. Have them checked during your annual HVAC tune-up visit.

n Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have wet areas in which to grow.

n Clean and dry out your home fully and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after any water spillage or flooding. Hiring a contractor with industrial strength vacuums, fans and dehumidifiers is a must after a major flood from weather or broken pipes.

n Add mold inhibitors, sold at paint and home improvement stores, to paints you use when building, remodeling or redecorating mold-breeding areas. 55

n Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.

n Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried right away. Replace carpets in bathrooms and basements with non-absorbing alternative materials like luxury vinyl tile.

n Invest in covers for outdoor furniture to keep the rain off. Remove and turn inside out on sunny days so leaks and condensation can dry out.

More tips are available in the EPA’s booklet, A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home found at

Dealing with pre-existing mold in your home

Mold can be removed from hard household surfaces with heavy duty soap or a mild bleach solution of no more than one cup of laundry bleach in a gallon of water. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends following these precautions when using bleach for mold clean-up:

n Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners, which will produce a poisonous gas.

n Always heed the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.

n Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.

n Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves and goggles during cleanup of affected areas.

n If you need to clean more than 10 square feet, check the EPA guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, which gives advice on all building types.

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Boats especially welcome mildew

While sunshine plus fresh air — critical factors in a boat’s enjoyment equation — are mildew fighters, a marine environment is heavy on moisture. Whether it’s wave spray, puddles from dripping swimmers or a dousing from a rain shower, boat seat cushions get wet on most every outing. That water seeps between seat backs and cushions, creating the perfect incubation areas for spores. Then the boat sits idle between uses, probably under some form of marginallyventilated canvas or cover, and mildew throws a growth party!

Best advice: Wipe everything down with a towel or chamoislike absorbent cloth at the end of each outing and open hinged seats and storage compartments. For extended periods of nonuse, place gel tubs (DampRid or similar) to absorb moisture and consider using an inexpensive fan and timer for a few hours of under-cover air circulation each day.

Some of the gunk that grows regardless can be treated with sprays such as Star brite®, Marine 31 and others. You might also try a “magic eraser” type sponge or search out home concoctions based on vinegar, boric acid, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, usually cheaper than the commercial mixes. As for using bleach to kill surface mildew, be cautious: it’s a powerful chemical that can discolor some vinyl, destroy stitching and make white spots on rugs, fabrics and clothing. Many recommend NOT using bleach, though some commercial products do contain it in fairly forgiving concentrations.

In summary: Keep your home and boat clean and dry, and your battle with mold and mildew will be much easier. ✦ 57 | 540.576.2755 | 167 Morgans Fork Road, Penhook, Va 24137
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Whether or not you have a lake view, you can enjoy the delightful repose of being close to the water. By adding thoughtful water features to your garden or lawn, you can create a serene atmosphere for your home just as if you were close to the water’s edge.

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DESIGN ponds, fountains & waterfalls

There are many options when it comes to choosing the right water feature: water fountains, ponds, and waterfalls add character and charm to your home and can increase the value of your property. The water feature you choose will depend on the size of your outdoor space, upkeep and maintenance, and whether or not you want the focus to be on charming looks or tranquil sounds.


Ponds evoke feelings of deep introspection and calm. There are a few different styles of ponds that you can choose from to suit the overall style of your home. Some ponds produce more noise, while others are still and quiet and allow for more plants and wildlife. Thinking about which features are most important to you will help you narrow your search.

Generally created and designed to bring peaceful energy to homes, koi ponds can be a lovely addition to your outdoor garden space. A tradition that was started in Japan in the 17th century, koi ponds have been around for hundreds of years. The brightly colored fish add a lively pop to the water and can be a joy to watch swim through the waters. Some people prefer their ponds to be free of rocks, gravel and aquatic plants so that their view of the koi fish remains unobstructed.

If you do not wish to have plants in your pond, consider surrounding your pond with lush landscaping, making it a tranquil focal point in your yard that can be used for quiet repose or a gathering space for entertaining. Koi ponds are beneficial in that they help decrease your stress levels, and they are even believed to bring good luck to your home.

Another mesmerizing option to add to your outdoor space is a reflecting pool. Reflecting pools mirror the sky above and can be a wonderful choice for smaller garden spaces as the pool helps to open up the space. Set a few outdoor chairs around, and you have a charming space to retreat to.


A water fountain is a timeless feature that adds beauty and elegance to any outdoor space. There are several different types of fountains, each one with its own unique features. Shop around and find the one that best matches your aesthetic.

Fountains have the ability to command attention as the grand center of your outdoor space, or they can add a quiet whimsical charm when tucked into a quaint garden. A tiered water fountain serves as an elegant focal point, or choose a smaller stone fountain that blends effortlessly into a garden wall.

Whether big or small, consider choosing a fountain that makes enough sound for the relaxing, trickling water effect. Keep in mind that water fountains may attract more wildlife, such as birds and frogs, to your garden. 5 9


Another feature you can add to your home is a waterfall. Waterfalls have long been celebrated for their grandeur and natural wonder. A backyard waterfall can have that same beauty, but on a more intimate level.

Your backyard waterfall doesn’t necessarily have to be a colossal structure that carries lots of water. It can carry a small amount of water and still be a delight for your eyes and ears. You can make it as simple as a homemade waterfall constructed from a PVC pipe with a few holes drilled in it and some wooden supports. Let water spill through the pipe and trickle down to the ground. Or you can go grand and hire some landscaping assistance to create a larger waterfall.

A pondless waterfall is a popular choice for those looking to attract more wildlife to their backyard. Pondless waterfalls accomplish this because they provide a consistent water source, but without the standing water that can attract mosquitoes.

As we’ve seen, you don’t have to live a stone’s throw away from the water’s edge to have all of the peaceful benefits of living right on the lake front. Whether your home is close to the water’s edge, or nestled further in on land, these water features can be a unique addition to any lake home. ✦

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Make Exercise a Shore Thing

Outdoor exercise can be a natural mood-booster; in fact, doing any exercise in an outside setting can improve your mood and reduce stress levels.

If you’re feeling rundown, getting outside may be just what you need to turn things around — what better place to get outside than the lake? One unique exercise opportunity the lake offers is, of course, access to water!

62 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 LIVE get lake fit


Swimming is one of the most effective and least injurious workouts there is, and the lake gives you the opportunity to do it while communing with nature. You need not focus on being perfect — we’re here to get a workout, not win the gold medal! Just swim the way you are most comfortable. Even though swimming is pretty intense on its own, you can use hand paddles, resistance gloves, or wrist and ankle weights to push it up a notch or two. Also consider using a kickboard, which can help you stay above water to focus on your core and lower body. However, whether or not you have any swimming experience, make sure you’re safe in the water. Be cognizant of your body and surroundings, and stay hydrated. Remember to wear a brightly colored swimsuit or swim cap so you’re highly visible to vehicles on the lake, and always wear goggles to keep your vision clear. Particularly if you’re swimming alone, consider wearing a buoyancy belt to help keep your head above the water.

Water-resistance workouts

Besides swimming on its own, consider some different waterbased exercises. Water offers heavier resistance than air, so getting in the lake can give your workout a little more intensity, helping you burn more calories in less time. Moreover, water is buoyant, which provides more support for muscles and joints and helps you work harder without the negative impact on your

body. This is especially beneficial for those of us with arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, or injuries that make typical workouts more painful or risky. But remember: exercising in the water might feel easier on your body, but you’re still working hard. Especially if you’re going to be alone during your workout, consider using a floatation device such as a buoyancy belt, lifejacket or foam noodle to help keep your head above the water if you start getting tired.

To start, try simply walking in the water. This helps you get a feel for the resistance created by the water, as well as working your arms, core and lower body. Begin in shallow water, about waist-level. Try to not walk on your tiptoes; instead, push your feet into the ground in a heel-to-toe motion. Keep your arms in the water, moving them naturally as you walk. Once you’re comfortable in the water at about chest level, try some highknee lifts as you walk, or pause and try some jumping jacks. You can easily increase the intensity with hand or ankle weights. When you’re in the water at shoulder level, try some forward arm lifts. With your palms facing upward, keep your arms straight and lift your forearms up in front of you until your hands are on the surface. Then, turn your palms downward and lower back down to your side. You can alternate this exercise with side arm lifts, which uses the same basic motion but with your arms rising up at your sides like an airplane. For more intensity, consider using wrist weights or foam dumbbells. 63


Another great water-specific option is picking up a paddle. Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards all offer great arm, back, and core exercises, as well as improved balance. Plus, depending on technique and intensity level, paddling can have similar calorie-burning benefits to step aerobics or HIIT workouts. Paddling also allows you to explore the lake in a different way, perhaps finding coves you’ve never seen before.

Along the water

If you prefer to stay dry, getting outside at the lake is still an easy, beneficial way to exercise! With little to no equipment, going on a walk or jog around the lake or visiting one of the many trails or parks in the area provides a great workout. If you want to add a little something extra, bring some hand or wrist weights or try bodyweight training — a no-cost method that can easily be adjusted to any fitness level, meaning you can make it as challenging (or as leisurely) as you’d like. Bodyweight exercises consist of simple movements like pushing, pulling, squatting, bending, twisting and balancing. Adding a bodyweight element to your walk or jog can be as simple as holding a plank position to warm up and stretch before you set off on your walk or stopping to do a set of tricep dips on a trail-side bench.

If you’re more of a Zen landlubber, consider some outdoor yoga. Doing yoga on the lake can help to ease your mind and improve your practice and breathing techniques. After all, meditation is an essential component of yoga, and many of us find it easier to meditate when surrounded by nature. Plus, all you really need is a nice flat spot and a towel or mat to help you balance. But if you’re prepared for extra balance, then try some yoga on a paddleboard — but make sure you’re wearing your swimsuit, just in case! ✦

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There is the old real estate adage that the three most important things when buying or selling are location, location, location. The same is true for homeowners wanting to make the most of their views.

Whether you’re building a new home, constructing an addition or adding an outdoor feature, it’s a great idea to consider how it will look — from both inside looking out and vice versa. Alicia F. Smith, vice president at F&S Building Innovations in Roanoke, says homeowners often have a sense of the views when they commit to a property.

“A lot of people purchase lots because of the location, but it’s often the case they already know what they want the view to be,” she says. For properties at the lake, it’s obviously going to be the water, if possible. When building or renovating, if the budget allows, it’s a great idea to work with a design/build team or an architect. This allows for plans, and more importantly, any changes to get reworked on paper, which can save both time and money. 6 5 DESIGN lake lookouts

Make a plan

Smith says that homeowners usually know what they want. One family she worked with had a tree in the yard that obstructed some of their best views. Her recommendation, purely based on a professional assessment, was to take the tree down. But the homeowners had a sentimental attachment to the tree, which had been planted by a long-ago relative. Once they expressed that, F&S was able to create a focal point that included the tree. Smith was all in: “I think the key to creating the best views is what homeowners want to capitalize on. Homeowners know what they want in their hearts, minds and eyes.”

It’s also important to take into account how the sunlight comes into the space, and how it moves throughout the day. That might affect room placement, especially in renovations. While the trend now is for large, open spaces with lots of windows (especially in the back of the house), that was not always the case. Sometimes, it’s better to reimagine spaces – to orient the spaces to take advantage of the views. At the lake, for example, maybe the kitchen gets moved to the “front” of the house, and living spaces or a dining room get moved to the “back,” or a glass wall gets tucked into a corner.

Choose windows wisely

More and more often, says Mark Robertson with Capps Home Building Center, homeowners’ visions include larger expanses of glass to allow for more light and taking in the view – regardless of where the house is located. There are however, constraints, he said, including required wall structure.

“Another consideration regarding the window size and placement is whether the view opportunity changes if one is sitting versus standing in the room,” says Robertson, a window

specialist. “Another important consideration affecting the view is the type of window — for example a double-hung window will have a horizontal check rail at mid-height that could obstruct the view, verses a casement or picture window, which would have full glass. Also, the placement of window grilles may affect the view.”

With trends moving toward expansive areas of glass, homeowners should think about security, privacy and even efficiency. Luckily, windows (like just about everything else) have become more efficient. First, a single-pane glass was upgraded to “insulated glass,” in which two pieces of glass were framed with air spaces between them. Now, the most common form of windows are created with Low E glass, says Roberston, which add to a home’s efficiency.

“Low E glass has a microscopic metallic coating that is applied to one or more surfaces of the glass,” he says. “This coating will reflect the sun’s rays back to the exterior, will reflect interior heat back into the room, and filter UV rays to help reduce fading of interior surfaces. Low E glass has an almost unnoticeable tint — but still reduces the heat transfer through the glass.”

Once limited to commercial applications, triple-paned windows are finding their way to some residential projects, as is “smart” glass, which can add a layer of security/privacy, says Robertson. “Whether it’s incorporated into the glass or is a film that is applied to the window surface,” he says, “with the flip of a switch, glass can go from clear to obscure in milliseconds. … As this technology continues to evolve, I expect window manufacturers will be more willing to incorporate it into their offerings.”

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For those who aren’t ready to tackle a remodel, there are some tried-and-true ways of maximizing a view. Decorators suggest opting for neutral, light shades of paint. Think about art galleries or museums with uniformly light color walls to not compete with what is on display. Same for window treatments: instead of voluminous, colorful fabrics, choose unobtrusive

Furniture layout, too, can help make the most of a view. Creating conversation areas around the view will draw your eye there; just make sure that traffic flow works. Think about low-profile pieces, too, so the view is not blocked. Using swivel chairs in front of or adjacent to windows allow for multiple options for taking advantage of the views. Be thoughtful about lighting and using mirrors to reflect light, too — remember to keep windows clean. Experts also say not to overlook landscaping: bushes, trees, flowers and even rock features can be used to make a space more attractive. Finally, it’s important to note that not all properties/ homes come with natural, take-your-breath-away views. But everyone, on any budget, can create beautiful spaces that are enjoyable to look at and spend time in.

“You don’t have to be on a mountaintop to have great views,” reminds Smith. “If you have a small deck, or any space really, you can create your own perfect, cozy view — it’s your view, your life. There are great options 67
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Updated Nantucket-style home is a ‘happy place’ for family

Situated in a large cove off Craddock Creek, the Mabry home opens to a spectacular view of water and mountains — the perfect spot for relaxing or entertaining at Smith Mountain Lake. A variety of evergreens embellish Smith Mountain’s slopes year-round, and nothing obscures this view, as a huge ridge of land, owned by American Electric Power, near the home is protected by a conservation easement. Even the home’s situation on the lake’s shoreline, with mature trees to screen it from neighbors, helps create a marvelous sense of uninterrupted beauty and serenity.

The home’s huge lakeside windows take full advantage of its setting. Looking out from several rooms and from its spacious lounging and dining deck, the house seems as if it is perched over the water. Indeed, the walk to the dock is short and gradual, just a flight of lighted steps and a gently sloping stone path that lands at a large shoreline deck with sun lounges and umbrella tables. The dock, built before Shoreline Management’s restrictions on dock square footage, comfortably shelters four watercraft: a pontoon boat, two Yamaha jet skis and a wake sports towboat, all arrayed in front of an airy six-stool waterfront bar, announced as “Chris’ Margaritaville” by a sign overhead. Two large floaters, one to each side of the fixed dock, are perfect for swimming and guest tie-ups.

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LifeisBet te r on the Water!

Why Smith Mountain Lake?

Smith Mountain Lake was featured in Travel + Leisure 2023 as one of the best places to buy a vacation home in the US!

Over 500 miles of shoreline, great restaurants, friendly people, year-round fishing and golf and tons of sun!

Let me help you find your Dream Home or Investment Property on Smith Mountain Lake!

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Lake life reimagined

Who could imagine that this Nantucket-style home with a modern twist of oversized windows started out as an old yellow A-frame house situated much higher up on the lot. Chris Mabry bought the A-frame in 2002 but replaced it in 2004 with a house planned by lake designer Eric Buck. During this time, the Mabry family made the most of their new accommodations. Chris speaks fondly of years spent at the lake house with his daughters and their friends during the girls’ high school and college years.

The house underwent another huge change in 2019 when Mabry hired contractor Bob Bauer to do a very extensive renovation of the main floor, top floor and dock. No walls were moved in any part of the house, but most everything on the main and top levels was renovated and redecorated. The remodel included all new appliances, bathroom fixtures, tubs and showers, new wood laminate flooring that cares not about water from drippy swimsuits, a totally new kitchen, new outside siding and a metal roof. Chris’ fiancée, Debbie Keatts, led the shopping for upgraded furniture and the adornments that give the house a dose of lake-life pizazz.


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Relax and raise a glass

A tour of the home reveals many features that make it unique. The re-done kitchen has cabinets by Peters’ Cabinets in Salem, complemented by quartz countertops that are white with flecks of gray, which is carried through to the wall and floor colors. The commercial-style chef’s Thermador range has six gas burners and a built-in grill/griddle, and it sits below a pot-filler

spigot. For lake entertaining, the kitchen stands at the ready with two ovens and two dishwashers. The built-in refrigerator/ freezer provides ample cooling storage and is backed up by a smaller one in the nearby walk-in pantry. The kitchen’s wine chiller beckons guests to pour a glass and relax at the kitchen bar or out on the deck. A large island creates a natural separation between the kitchen and main living area.

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The primary suite exudes relaxation with its own wine chiller and a large TV. In the bathroom there’s an additional screen visible from the soaker tub. A large glass-walled shower and separate “his” and “hers” closets complete the suite.

Off the kitchen in the opposite direction, a guest suite dubbed “The Sailboat Room,” provides a guest couple with an inviting private space that doesn’t require stairs. Decorative pillows and wall hangings are among the many cute things Debbie found at the Cottage Gate in Westlake to reinforce the sailing theme.

The top floor has an open play area, a full bath and five built-in grandchild beds that look remarkably like wider versions of bunks you’d find below decks on a sailing schooner. Each bed has its own light and charging station (a great way to keep guests’ devices and charging cords off the island counter in the kitchen!) and is covered by a colorful patchwork quilt.

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Lake level

Down on the lake level of this 5,500-square-foot home are the last two of the five bedrooms. One guest suite, “The Fish Room,” has its own bath, and the other bedroom, “The Paddle Room,” has a powder room plus a shower room off the foyer just outside the bedroom. A door in this hallway opens to the lake to give swimmers quick access to a bathroom. An expansive lake level living area with a large sofa, TV and bar provides, as Mabry says, “... another area where folks can watch golf and sip wine.” This level has a large storage/ mechanical area where there is a second washer and dryer and a third large fridge, which provides yet more cold storage to make sure guests are well fed and refreshed.

Outside, on the lake side of the home, an inviting gas torch-lit patio leads to a lovely gas fire pit. Southern Landscape Group installed the hardscape here as well as out front, where a stacked stone feature acts as the visual center for an inviting circular driveway. 77
78 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023

Personal favorites

Chris, understandably, pauses for thought when asked to name his favorite aspect of this home. Then he looks out the big windows to confirm his choice: “Probably the deck. Look at that view! You can’t beat it. We eat out there, relax there, watch TV.” A couple of heavy duty Bromic propane heaters keep it comfortable well through the shoulder seasons. “I’ve had a lot of outdoor space heaters, but none compared to these,” Chris notes.

“When I see that view,” Chris adds, “I know I’m in my ‘happy place’...where all the stresses of the day get left behind.”

Debbie’s family has enjoyed time at the lake house, too, and her sons spent much of their youth growing up here. Chris reflects, “My kids and their friends spent a lot of time here, and for them to come back with the grandkids, it’s great. I try to get at least one bunch here once a week — often on a Tuesday. They say, ‘Tuesdays are Popi day.’” ✦



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Green Naturally

While a lush lakeside landscape is picturesque, beautiful lawns require fertilizers and weed controllers, which contain nitrogen and phosphorus. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus run-off promotes algae bloom in streams and lakes, which leads to fish kills, foul odors and bacteria. This bacterium causes gastro-intestinal problems, skin and eye irritation and breathing difficulty.

Achieving the ideal lawn and not harming the lake may seem challenging, but it is possible. Once you understand the science, it is easy. It is all about balance and education.

80 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 GARDEN organic options

What your lawn needs

Vigorous plant growth comes from the right balance of minerals, water and sunshine. Nutrient needs vary depending on soil conditions and grass type. Fertilizers should be applied at the correct rate to provide the necessary nutrients.

To know what your lawn needs, test the soil. Kits are available at local hardware stores and local Cooperative Exchange offices. Once the results show your lawn’s deficiencies, ask your local garden store to recommend organic products that contain these specific compounds. The numbers on an organic fertilizer label refer to the concentration (percent) of three major nutrients: nitrogen (or N), phosphate (or P2O5), and potassium (potash, or K2O). Nitrogen gives lawns that lush green color; phosphate encourages thick grass and vigorous growth; and potassium promotes deep roots and healthy cellular structure.

When using organic fertilizers, the most important factor is using the correct amount and proper timing. When the lawn absorbs the nutrients for energy and development, less minerals run off. Keep in mind: fertilizing promotes growth that requires water. Therefore, timing is essential. The best time to fertilize the lawn is late afternoon or early evening when the sun is not so hot. Overnight the ground will absorb the nourishment leading to maximum results.

Read the directions on the container. Depending upon its composition, the manufacturer recommends either dry or wet application.

Things to remember

n Early spring is the optimum time to apply fertilizer. During this period, with proper water and sunlight, plants absorb the most nutrients.

n Never apply fertilizers to frozen ground.

n Different fertilizer products contain various nutrient concentrations that are released at different rates. Therefore, some organic fertilizers are better for certain grass types.

n One early spring application followed by one or two lighter fertilizer applications later in the season often yield better results and reduce leaching by improving nitrogen intake.

n Fertilizing in the fall has been shown to cause groundwater degradation. Many homeowners with fescue lawns traditionally fertilize in fall. Consider switching to a lighter fertilizer.

n Limit fertilizer on areas that slope towards the lake or creek.

A misconception is that organic fertilizers are safer for the environment, so more is better. Not so! Improper organic fertilizer application can contribute to ground water pollution and induce nutrient deficiency or toxicity, or cause salt burn. Proper application is important. There are two types of spreaders for dry products – the drop spreader or the rotary spreader (the one with the small fan blade under the bucket). Be sure to set the spreader to control the rate of fertilizer distributed onto the lawn or garden. Once applied, the fertilizer can be watered or tilled into the soil. 81

Improving soil

A healthy lawn grows from good soil that encourages growth and limits disease. Thick grass crowds out weeds. Several lawn trends cultivate strong soil: Leonardite, a natural by-product derived from near-surface mining, is a beneficial organic fertilizer. Other options: apply a thin layer of compost in later winter or spray compost tea (see callout) in early spring. These mixtures improve the microbial soil life, which allows the lawn to take in nutrients and promotes deep root development.

During the growing season, monthly top dressing of organic materials reduces water requirements, which is good for dry spells. Using compost encourages natural soil aeration. Ants, earthworms and pill bugs consume carbons and increase humus and mineral content.

Water soluble products like fish emulsion or seaweed extract offer great results. But liquid applications can cause leaf burning, so carefully follow product instructions.

Pesky weeds

A healthy lawn is less prone to weeds and disease, but after a good rain, weeds often pop up. Natural weed killers offer good results. Visit your local garden center and ask for recommendations based on the type of weeds or try homemade recipes. Mix dish soap, white vinegar, and salt; use this in a sprayer to spot treat weeds. Another recommendation is pouring boiling water directly on the weeds on a hot, sunny day.

Let’s keep our lake clean with these easy steps:

n Test your lawn soil every two to three years.

n Use organic fertilizers and natural weed prevention.

n Follow seasonal cycles and understand plant life. ✦


Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer. Partially fill a burlap or cloth bag with manure or compost and submerge for several days in a bucket of warm water. The resulting “tea” can be applied directly to the soil or plants with a sprayer.

82 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 83 GARAGE DOOR REPAIR & INSTALLATION 434-237-1011 • DOORTEKVA.COM


Lake days mean making the most of the great outdoors. Whether you’re gathering on decks with friends or cycling along the back roads or exploring waterways on paddleboards or kayaks, you need a place to stow your gear.

You might be lucky enough to have a garage spacious enough for vehicles and everything else. (Or maybe you park the cars outside and keep everything else inside.) But even if you do have a sizable, freestanding structure, you might want to consider other options that will keep your seasonal items protected and close at hand.

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IMPROVE Stow it away

Take stock

As you assess your needs and evaluate what’s available, keep a few key points in mind. Outdoor storage options come in different materials: metal, coated/treated wood and heavyduty plastics. Consider how exposed to the elements the storage container will be, as well as how it will protect what’s inside. Most items used outside can tolerate some exposure to moisture, but the less moisture, the better. When in doubt, find a location inside a climate-controlled space – like a bedroom closet – for items you really want to keep safe.

Pay attention to the foundation where the storage unit will sit. You want whatever is beneath the container to be firm, not spongy. Also make sure the unit isn’t at the bottom of a slope, where it would be susceptible to water run-off or flooding. Anchoring to an adjacent wall or fence can help hold the unit in place during windy days or storms.

If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association, review the covenants. Some HOA guidelines specify limits on a freestanding structure’s height. Whether you’re governed by an HOA or not, check municipal regulations.

A DIY shed, which can be a great option for larger gear, may qualify as a separate building that has to comply with locality building codes or placement restrictions (e.g., at least so many feet from the property line). If an inspection is required, be sure to follow through.

Create hideaways

For smaller items, like tabletop décor, typically found on a deck or patio, a small cabinet or two might be sufficient. These can fit candle holders, flower pots, sidewalk chalk and even board or lawn games, and can be easily tucked into a corner or relocated as needed. Larger décor elements – couch and chair cushions, pillows and throw blankets – can be stowed in benches that double for both storage and seating. Options for these run the gamut from sturdy plastic (maybe even with a finish that simulates wood) to coated wicker to kiln-fired wood that resists weather-caused damage. Coffee tables and ottomans also offer storage solutions, but these are harder to access while entertaining. (You don’t want to have to move a tray of drinks to get to the pillow beneath.) 85

When it comes to larger items such as bicycles, paddleboards, kayaks and canoes, the storage units naturally are larger. If you are a one-sport family, a prefabricated standing plastic shed may suffice. Be sure to anchor the shed to the ground, wall or fence and pay attention to weight-bearing limits if you are hanging items on interior walls.

Specialized bicycle storage sheds are also an option. Some have sliding tops for easy access. Others have adjustable interior racks, so the bikes don’t lean against one another. For canoes and kayaks, the most common options are open racks where the watercraft can be stored upside down. If these racks are outside, you’ll want to cover them with a heavy tarp (or two), and remove cushions, straps and anything that will attract critters in search of a home or materials that can be used for a nest.

Consider a freestanding structure

If you have a lot to store, your best option is a structure that can accommodate everything in one place. With a larger shed, you can hang virtually everything from the ceiling or walls, leaving floor space for additional storage bins and ready access. If the walls become full, racks can fill in the gaps, holding paddleboards upright and even allowing for a rolling pool caddy ready to be loaded with floats and pool noodles.

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You don’t need a degree in architecture to build your own shed. Again, pay close attention to the location and foundation and select a DIY kit that will fit the space available. The shed can be basic or decorative – some even come with windows and flower boxes. Even if you’re not comfortable assembling the shed, a handy person or an energetic high school or college student likely can.

Finally, remember to clean everything before it goes into storage. A simple rinsing might be sufficient, but if you really want to help extend the life of whatever you’re saving, a gentle cleaning with warm, soapy water is best. Washing with dish detergent and a sponge removes debris, both seen and unseen, which helps prevent mold and rot. The item also needs to be fully dry before going into storage, as moisture is another factor in mold growth.

In the end, what we all want is good access to the items that give us joy! ✦ 87
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COZY UP to the outdoors enjoy every season with a custom fire feature

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Since the early ages, campfires have been meeting our basic needs, keeping us warm and well fed. Now, our kitchens and home heating units do the job. But there’s still something primal we crave from the flickering flames: a relaxing place to gather with friends and family.

From the natural and rustic to the modern and luxurious, today’s options for fire pits and other outdoor fire features can complement any style home. Just a few steps outside your back door, you can serve up fresh air and fun. 89

Meet me at the pit

Local landscape and hardscape professionals agree that adding a fire feature to your backyard will not only enhance your property but also your family and social life.

“It’s a classic thing; from the beginning of time we’ve been wanting to gather around a fire,” said Ashby Perrow, a design/ build sales professional with Southern Landscape Group.

Many fire pit projects happen because a homeowner decides to build or remodel a patio, he said. “A lot of time, they tell us they want a patio and a fire pit, where the fire pit will be central to the design.”

Even though fire pits and outdoor fireplaces can be installed year-round, he said his company sees a spike in requests around fall and spring, “when the evenings are chilly and people are antsy to get outside.”

Fire features increase the amount of time during the year that people would use the space, “so they get more value out of

their outdoor living area,” said Rebecca Mahanes, the operations supervisor for Land Tech Group. She added that a lot of her clients use their fire pit or fireplace as a welcome spot for family and friends.

“Some people may not want a large gathering inside their home, but if they have a nice outdoor space, they are more comfortable,” she said. “During the height of COVID, this was particularly true, because people were tired of being isolated and looking for comfortable outdoor spaces to gather safely.”

Homeowners can choose various styles, shapes and sizes of fire pits. Although many companies will install kits (predesigned with standard, but often limited, choices in materials), they also encourage the homeowner to customize their space. They will walk you through the entire design process, including determining the best location for your fire pit, and help you create a one-of-a-kind outdoor haven.

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“We’re client-focused and try to be very customized with our work,” Perrow said. “We ask how the client wants to use the space; it really ties back into what their aesthetics goals are.”

While many homeowners choose the traditional cylindrical pit, there are more options than ever before. You can go with a standard brick wall design or raise the bar with natural stone installed by a skilled mason. The newer designs include a wider top surface, with plenty of room to prop your feet or park your food and beverage. A popular accessory, especially for woodburning, is the spark guard, a metal mesh that covers your pit and provides a measure of safety.

Many people prefer simple, rustic fire pits that match their natural surroundings. If your fire pit will be near a wooded area or garden space, you may want an in-ground pit circled by large rocks to create a campfire feel. Or you can go even bigger with the rocks and design a boulder fire pit, where the center of a very large boulder is dug out to hold the fire. You can also find fire pits that resemble a natural feature, like the Bryndle Root Fire Pit, a gas fire pit that is built with cement but
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In recent years, fire pits have paved the way for a more modern feature called fire tables. Fueled by gas burners buried under lava rocks, these narrow, rectangular pits, usually about the height of a coffee table, produce a consistent, soothing glow. You will often see them with a clear partition called a windguard to keep it aglow on a windy night.

Also among the most attractive new fire features to hit the market are fire bowls. Like fire tables, the calming flames sprout out of a pile of rocks to embellish pools, decks, and patios. The bowls can be filled with “fire glass,” shiny glass made specifically for fire bowls and fire tables. The combination of the glistening glass and the dancing flame is mesmerizing. Fire bowls can also double as a water fountain: installed at the edge of a pool or waterfall, these features add a luxurious feel to your space.

Mahanes recalls a local homeowner who added multiple features: two fire bowls, two fire/water bowls and a fire pit. “The variety of fire elements created a very nice ambiance at night with all of the elements running.”

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Wood vs. gas

The fire pit design often comes down to your choice of fuel. Although many still prefer to burn wood, the convenience of a gas pit makes it a popular choice, especially when you can start your fire with the flip of a switch.

“Gas fire pits seem to be the most popular, particularly for new construction homes and people who don’t have regular access to firewood,” Mahanes said. “People who opt for the gas usually do so because it is cleaner and easier to maintain. They don’t have to get any wood or clean out ashes later. People who opt for the wood burning usually do so because they like the smell of wood smoke, the crackling sound of burning wood, and they can have a larger fire they can control. It comes down to personal preference.”

While gas fire pits can cost more due to installing a gas line, Perrow said that many homeowners prefer woodburning so they can create a memorable experience for children and grandchildren.

Going smokeless

One drawback to a traditional woodburning fire pit is the smoke, which can sting your eyes and leave you with an odor that lingers. If the smoke and stray embers are a concern, you may consider a smokeless fire pit. Brands such as Breeo and Solo Stove have specially engineered a self-contained, portable device that increases airflow and eliminates smoke. With its versatility, you can move it around if you want to rearrange your outdoor living space for particular events.

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Also available are smokeless fire pit inserts and special rings that make the insert a perfect fit in your traditional stone surround pit. Easily removable, they are quickly becoming a backyard favorite.

Fireplaces: A grand gesture

Outdoor fireplaces, although not as common locally as fire pits, are a feature that can really make a statement.

“Typically, we fit them into the design so that there is plenty of space for comfortable furniture for lounging in front of the fireplace,” Mahanes said. “Sometimes the seating area in front of the fireplace is covered with a pavilion or pergola. We also add on firewood boxes or other side walls. They can be customized many ways depending on the size of the space, the user and the budget.”

Some homeowners who want to plan for larger crowds install a fireplace as well as a fire pit, to give guests separate but different areas to gather.

Fireplaces have long been called the heart of the home, and companies like Land Tech Group and Southern Landscape Group can help you create an outdoor living space that is just as comfortable and inviting as the fireplace in your living room. ✦ 97

Salad Days


I am a huge fan of salad. I know, how boring, right?! Quite the opposite, it is one of the most versatile terms in your kitchen repertoire. Salad can mean many things and has endless combinations of possibilities. Salad does not have to equal lettuce! There are so many incredible vegetables that need to be enjoyed. Making a salad into a meal or side dish or to amp up the “salad bar” is the perfect way to “veg” (see what I did there?) lakeside! The recipes featured here aren’t just salads — they are creative, colorful, healthy and fun creations that need to be shared. Throw out the conventional ideas of salad and embrace salad’s adventurous side!

98 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 LIVE delicious dishes


Fennel screams springtime and is one of my all-time favorite things. The licorice taste might not be for everyone, but if you are a fan like me, try this recipe. It is light, yet hearty. It’s tangy, sweet and savory too. I love this salad paired with pork as well!


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

2 teaspoon honey

Juice of 1 orange

1 garlic clove, finely grated

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes


2 fennel bulbs with fronds

¾ cup mint leaves, chopped

2 ounces Parmesan cheese

½ cup pecans, chopped

Freshly cracked pepper

In a bowl, combine olive oil, salt, vinegar, honey, orange juice, garlic and red pepper flakes. Allow this to sit 10 minutes for flavors to “marry together.” Remove fronds from fennel stalks and coarsely chop (set aside). Cut the fennel bulbs in half and thinly slice on a mandoline. Add the slices to a large bowl. Toss in mint and Parmesan. Toss with dressing and sprinkle with pecans, fronds and cracked pepper.


This salad appears to have a lot of ingredients, but it comes together so quickly and is the best pasta salad! The addition of smoked salmon makes it a meal in itself, and I love the capers with the peppery arugula.


1 ½ cups orzo, cooked

½ cucumber, chopped

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon capers, drained

½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Handful of fresh arugula

8 ounces smoked salmon, chopped


½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon garlic powder

⅛ teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon chives, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add orzo, cucumber, shallot, red onion, capers, tomatoes, arugula and salmon. Set aside. In another bowl, combine sour cream, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, cayenne and chives. Whisk together vigorously. Season to taste. Toss everything together. Salad is best cold! 99


Elevated fruit salad right here! This one is a beloved staple for my kiddos, too. You can mix this one with whatever is looking good at the market: strawberries, raspberries etc.! The dressing is a fun spin on poppyseed dressing with the unexpected addition of maple syrup.


4 cups arugula

1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled

1 cup peaches, cut in thin slices

1 cup blackberries

1 cup blueberries

½ cup pecans, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons mint leaves, roughly chopped


4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 ½ teaspoons poppy seeds

1 tsp. maple syrup

Pinch of salt

In a large bowl, add arugula, quinoa, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, pecans and mint leaves. Toss gently. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, poppy seeds, maple syrup and salt. Pour about half the dressing over the salad, tossing until well coated. Then taste and add additional dressing. Serve immediately.


Asparagus in the raw is a fabulous addition to a salad. This salad is super clean, easy and will delight those who are keen to experience asparagus in a new way! The bite of the seasonal radish and nutty pistachios make this salad sing!


¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper, to taste


1 pound large asparagus, woody ends trimmed

3 ounces fresh mâche*

4 radishes, washed and thinly sliced

½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese or Burrata

⅓ cup chopped pistachios

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl or jar, whisk together oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and garlic. Season to taste. Set aside.

Shave asparagus: Look for thicker spears. First, trim off the ends or snap off with your hands. To shave, use a vegetable peeler and hold the spear with one hand and use the peeler to gently slice in ribbons. Don’t worry about uniformity! Place in a large bowl. Add mâche and radishes and toss. Add the cheese and pistachios. Drizzle dressing on top and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve the salad immediately.

* If you can’t find mâche, you might substitute watercress or fresh parsley. ✦

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10 Native Plants for Lake Style and Substance

From their abilities to optimize water usage and provide habitats for pollinators to their effects on controlling erosion and improving air quality, native plant species are sought by Smith Mountain Lake homeowners who are eager to reap those benefits.

Especially when balancing factors such as deer pressure and the steep slopes on some lakefront properties, finding the right native plants to augment a yard requires careful analysis and decision-making.

Seven Oaks Landscape & Hardscape, originally founded by Dave Bower as Dave’s Landscaping, has been based in Franklin County for more than 30 years. The company has about 75 employees and focuses on the design, building and maintenance of residential landscaping.

Galen Layman has been with the company for 18 years and is in charge of purchasing plants from vendors for Seven Oaks construction projects. Layman is keen on weighing his options when selecting native plants for a customer. He zeroes in on using trees, shrubs and groundcovers. With flowers, another landscaping cornerstone, there aren’t many true natives that are readily available. He said that many plant breeders will often take native varieties and breed them up for pest resistance,

but then they’re no longer a true native. And with flowers, unless the customer has mitigating circumstances, they can become a buffet for deer.

“We have significant deer issues in most places around Smith Mountain Lake — and in some areas, they’ll eat everything, but in other sections of the lake, they’ll only eat specific plants,” Layman said. “Some plants, like day lilies and hosta, deer will walk miles to eat those. So we have to stay away from those types of plants unless we’re in a fenced garden area.”

“Native” may be a term that’s used loosely by some retailers and landscapers, but there are many options for true native plants around the lake if people choose them. Layman talks about 10 such plants that stand out: 101
GARDEN local leaves


Native trees provide aesthetic appeal for lake-area homes, and any tree that thrives is going to help tremendously with erosion. Even if a tree has a tap root to help anchor it, the feeder roots are in the top 12 inches of soil, so for practical purposes, most trees are shallow-rooted. “That’s where the plant is getting nutrition,” Layman explains, “not from 3 to 4 feet in the ground.”

Maples grow fairly rapidly and have a dense canopy, providing good shade cover within about 15 to 20 years. They are waterloving, making them an exceptional choice for erosion control. These trees excel in both full and partial shade and are wellknown to produce vibrant colors in autumn. Perhaps most advantageous to both the Bedford and Franklin County sides of the lake is that Red and Sugar Maples, which can grow between 40 and 100 feet tall, tolerate compacted and clay soils well.

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River Birch grows quickly and is among the most widely adapted Birches in the Eastern U.S. Its strength is not as a shade tree, but it fits in very well into ornamental landscaping at SML. According to Clemson University Extension, the popularity of Birch comes from year-round interest in its peeling or exfoliating two-toned bark. On younger trunks and branches the pinkish to light brown bark curls and peels away in thin papery sheets to reveal lighter-colored, creamy tan to reddish-brown inner bark. On older trees, the bark develops reddish- to grayish-brown to almost black scaly bark. This tree typically reaches 30 to 60 feet in height.

Due to the rosy-pink, pea-like flowers that bloom in between April and May on the Eastern Redbud, this is one of the most asked-for flowering plants at Seven Oaks. The deciduous tree has a flat-topped to rounded growth habit, and large heart-shaped leaves. It is known for being able to be trained to have a single trunk or to grow multi-stemmed, and often climbs to 20 to 30 feet tall. The Eastern Redbud will succeed in various kinds of soil and likes either full sun or partial shade.

The ornamental Dogwood is another sought-after tree at Seven Oaks. “Most people know what they are, and they’re really pretty when they bloom,” Layman explains. The beautiful parts of Dogwoods aren’t actually the flowers but are bracts, a leaf-like structure beneath the flower. They are at their peak in April or May, and around Smith Mountain Lake will be white or pink, while the flowery parts are the yellowish cluster at the center of the bracts. Dogwoods can get to 20 feet in height and are considered an “understory” species, which means they naturally grow below taller trees in a forest and, therefore, are shade tolerant. 103
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In landscape design, shrubs serve an important function as the “walls, ceilings, and floors of a landscape,” according to Virginia Cooperative Extension. Their size and texture visually augment landscapes, while they can also produce fruit and enhance a lawn’s fragrance.


The semi-evergreen Virginia Sweetspire can grow up to 8 feet tall, have great fall color and do well along waterways. They are considered more of a naturalizing plant, meaning that they can spread through rhizomes (underground lateral shoots) and do well at plugging gaps in a yard. The Sweetspire is good for pollinators and can adapt to a variety of soil conditions.


Selected often by Seven Oaks because of its deer resistance, Fothergilla is another shrub that flowers beautifully and creates a pleasant space for pollinators. Fall color on this shrub is longlasting and can range from yellow and orange to scarlet and reddish-purple. According to the University of Maryland Extension, Fothergilla’s fall colors are best with more sun than shade, but it is also less resilient to drought in full sun so the recommendation is often to use it in spaces with partial shade. Depending on the species, Fothergilla will reach anywhere from 3 to 10 feet tall.


Clethra is a good plant for shady wet sites where it can grow to 8 feet tall. But despite its highlights — including how its dense, glossy green foliage can turn yellow in mid-October, as well as its ability to attract pollinators — it has a major drawback of not being deer-resistant. “If you’re in a heavy deer pressure area, they’ll absolutely obliterate the plant,” Layman says. As with the Virginia Sweetspire, the Clethra can spread by sending up new shoots from rhizomes to form a small thicket.


Layman cautions the Red Osier Dogwood is a “maybe eat” for deer, so it is recommended for areas where deer activity is lower. This shrub is named because of the bright red color of its stems, while the tops of its leaves and its new twigs have fine hairs on them that create an almost silky feeling. The Red Osier Dogwood only grows a few feet tall, and though it prefers organically rich soil, it can tolerate wet and heavy clay soil.


If you’ve ever driven along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you are likely familiar with Rhododendron. This plant is best grown in acidic, moist and welldrained soil. It also loves shady areas (dappled shade is preferred) as full sun may result in leaf scorch. Rhododendron are great for bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds, and known to host dozens of caterpillar species. Their leaves are large, leathery and evergreen, and can grow 5 to 15 feet tall.

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Low-growing groundcovers help to complete the aesthetic look of a landscape. Most types of groundcovers are not intended to be walked on, as that can damage the plants. They can fill uneven or odd-spaces, control erosion, mitigate weeds and reduce general maintenance on a property. Layman notes that a lot of groundcovers are not native to the Smith Mountain Lake area, and even among the ones that are native, many of them don’t actually survive very well.

The real standout performer at the lake, according to Layman, is Vinca Minor, known more commonly as Periwinkle. This broadleafed evergreen groundcover grows to be about 4 inches tall but can spread as much as 8 feet. It’s known to be invasive in some regions, but Layman said he’s never experienced that at SML. Periwinkle has 1-inch blue-violet flowers in early spring and does best in light shade — but it will tolerate full sun and full shade.

While there are many considerations when choosing native plants for a Smith Mountain Lake home, there are sufficient options for homeowners to enjoy a beautifully and functionally crafted design. ✦ 105
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The 17th Time’s the Charm!


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Bryan and Debra Stockdale are experienced at choosing houses. They first met as 12-year-olds living near Cleveland, Ohio, were middle school sweethearts, and later married while still finishing their college educations. Busy careers — his initially with Reynolds American and hers as a nurse and, later, instructor to Medical Assistants at Davidson Community College in North Carolina, required many relocations and some time living apart. All of that led to the purchase of, count ’em, 17 homes.

But the one they like best of all is the last: their retirement paradise along the shores of Smith Mountain Lake in Franklin County’s Windmere Point community. 107

A drone view of the property could easily be the cover image for an SML resort brochure. The recently refurbished dock, which stretches 50 feet along the shoreline, is a functional mix of bar/kitchenette, boat and personal watercraft slips, plenty of sheltered seating area and a lounging deck with swivel/glider/rocker chairs from Wood Grains in Rocky Mount. These have the look of stiff Adirondacks but serve up comfort and movement through a clever system of hinges, springs and rollers. “We started with just four of them,” Debra relates, “but that led to chair-snatching episodes among guests when someone got up to swim or get a beverage. So we got four more for the dock and six for the fire-pit patio — enough for everyone to enjoy.”

That fire pit, built in honor of a dear friend who was lost to COVID, is the most recent addition of hardscape artistry by Seven Oaks’ designers and installers that has transformed the home’s lake-side yard into an inviting, three-tiered garden walkway between 109
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house and dock. A recently-added paver pathway along the side of the home makes it easy for guests to get to the lake directly from the spacious front driveway courtyard when waterfront fun is first on the day’s agenda. Here again, Seven Oaks worked its magic with design and installation.

Said Bryan, who is a self-professed stickler for things being done just so, “I can confidently let them do their thing and know we’ll be delighted with the result.”

The journey to SML

With roots in Ohio, the Stockdales are self-proclaimed “lake lovers” who pretend no attraction to the sea shore. Debra grew up on a lake near Cleveland and always hoped lake views and activity would figure into her family’s future as well. In 1997, they bought property on Lake Norman, but a few stays with friends who had moved to SML soon had them looking for property here. A cottage at The Boardwalk served as their lake getaway from 2005 to 2011. Looking ahead, however, they realized something larger would better serve their retirement living needs.

They are the second owners of their current home, which was built in 2005. “We bought it knowing there were things we would want to change. Between those and necessary repairs, by now...well, we’ve changed most everything,” Bryan said. 111

A string of renovations

The couple’s passion for quality has also led to engaging Dale Angle as their contractor of choice for a 10-year-plus sequence of renovations: one or two projects a year sandwiched between Angle’s full plate of new-home builds.

“He’s had to fit us in as time allowed,” Bryan said, “but for us, how Dale does things is well worth the wait.”

Guided by a determination to make the home as maintenance free as possible, the Stockdales have replaced wooden decking on both the house and boathouse with Trex composite boards. Inside, a full kitchen redo began with red oak hardwood flooring, lovely new beige granite counter tops and cabinet refacings. “It was the painter’s suggestion to raise the cabinets that were being done in iron-ore glaze to give the uppers a staggered look,” Debra noted.

New appliances were added in 2021 — Sub Zero and Wolf for guaranteed longevity. “I just love my propane stove, convection/steam ovens and warming drawer,” she added. When she’s rinsing dishes at the sink, Debra looks past a fivestool breakfast-bar-level countertop to a killer view of the Roanoke River channel with the long ridge of Smith Mountain visible above the trees on undeveloped shoreline across the cove. Due to the home’s proximity to the lake on a sloping lot, the view from the main level gives the illusion that the house is cantilevered over the water.

Fireplaces, both main and lake levels, have been converted to electric displays — no wood mess to deal with here. Marblelook porcelain surrounds make them eye-catching even when the burn switches are turned off.

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The stairway to the lake level, which turned out not to comply with building code specs, got the Angle treatment in red oak to match the main level floors. Downstairs, a large game room and TV room combination, together with the guest suites to its left and right, have been fully redecorated. And to more comfortably accommodate their kids’ families for an all-together SML family vacation, they’ve civilized the utility room into comfortable guest quarters by putting all the mechanical items behind cabinet facings and installing a clever trundle-style bed that converts between sofa, twins or king. A built-in washer and dryer stand unobtrusively ready to handle lower level laundry duty.

Throughout, the home’s décor has evolved to a “... meaningful to us” theme, Bryan noted. “We’ve realized that we prefer looking at objects of art that trigger memories of where we’ve been and what we’ve done,” he explained, Thus, there are pieces discovered during recent trips to Australia, Alaska and South Africa, often reflecting Debra’s penchant for rocks and glass. On the dining table stands a stately blue 113
114 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 115

heron, testifying to their fondness for Charleston Harbor and to memories of visiting the Amazon, both places where blue herons predominate. “There are also a pair that visit our dock here most every day,” he adds.

Fresh air fever

Despite the appeal of all that is inside the Stockdale home, it’s life outside that most captivates its owners. “This is just a fantastic neighborhood,” say Debra, who ends most weathersuitable days with a sit-a-spell on her “bird perch” at the back deck’s high-boy table. There, feeling like a bird on a wire, she can watch evening engulf their peaceful cove.

Bryan calls the 1,500-square-foot dock his favorite “room.” “It’s just a very inviting place to spend time,” he says, “and

between the full-size ’fridge, air fryer and Kamado grill, I can cook for the entire family down there.”

Fresh vegetables from Debra’s well-protected garden are often on their summer menus. They’re using hardware cloth to screen top, sides and even underneath to deter hungry wildlife. This solution is working, allowing her to harvest a bumper crop of salsa ingredients.

The couple loves exploring the lake by Sea-Doo on weekdays and, on weekends when it’s busy, just watching the goings on from their deck, dock and fire-pit patio. Their passion for life at SML is contagious and seemingly exudes from the very walls of their lovely retirement home. For Bryan and Debra Stockdale, the 17th time is, indeed, the charm. ✦

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Mountain Lake
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Smith Mountain Lake

Loving Lake Living — With Every Square Foot


For both lifestyle visionaries and lovers of the outdoors, an initial fantasy probably prompted you to choose Smith Mountain Lake. Maybe you pictured yourself overlooking the lake horizon as you drank your morning coffee or dining on the fresh catch of the day with your loved ones as the sunset glinted off the water. Maybe you caught a whiff of an imagined aroma of marshmallows toasted over a fire pit with your lake crew.

118 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023 IMPROVE increase entertaining space

“When you live on the lake, what you pay for is that view. You want to be as close to it as you can, and that means outside,” says Mike Bryant, owner of Construction Marketing, LLC.

Decks exist as a bridge from home to nature. In his 20 years in the construction business, Bryant has noticed a gradual transition in the way that under-deck spaces are used by homeowners.

In the beginning, the under-deck area was typically treated similarly to a shed or garage that harbored boats, garden supplies and outdoorsy knickknacks — out of sight, out of mind.

“It used to be just more like a storage space,” Bryant says, explaining how the lawnmower traditionally lived under the deck. From there, he saw a transition to a hybrid storage/ lifestyle space that featured outdoor seating. The final iteration led to homeowners using the space as a full outdoor living area complete with all the bells and whistles for climate control, comfort and beauty.


The most detailed under-deck areas have now become an extension of the home and as decked out (pun intended) as any living room, media center, kitchen or other highly functional room. These nooks can be screened in, grounded in stone and furnished. They can host high tech TVs and sound systems and

be furnished with fireplaces, wet bars, hot tubs, low voltage lighting and the works.

It becomes tremendously elaborate,” Bryant explains, adding that novel ideas that continue to inspire him, come from architects and the average homeowners alike.

It all starts, though, with a solid foundation. Focusing on sound structure and natural materials can make an under-deck space both inviting and practical. Focusing first on ceilings and floors can help define the parameters.

President of Lynchburg Landscapes Inc. Scott MacLeod shares a few ideas to make an under-deck area functional, protective against the elements and hospitable.

“You can use a rubber membrane and install a wooden tongue and groove ceiling. This will keep the area under the deck dry and allow you to use the space year-round,” MacLeod says. “After installing some sort of ceiling system, you can install patio space using natural stone, pavers, concrete or decorative gravel,” he notes.

Yet, breathtaking beauty doesn’t have to come in the form of expensive materials, large-scale construction projects or hightech doodads.

For those who prefer an aesthetic that is a simple nod to nature, a container garden with a variety of potted plants can be a lovely option. Creeping jenny, petunias, pansies, impatiens, 119

coral bells and begonias are examples of plant varieties that thrive in shady spots. For eye-catching options, “boxwoods, ferns, astilbe, leucothoe, illicium, mahonias, Lenten rose and hosta are just some of the plants that will bring rich colors and textures to the space,” MacLeod says.

Climate Control

As an outdoor space for all intents and purposes, the under-deck area is vulnerable to the elements of nature and seasonal ebbs and flows. When it comes to protecting fragile items, either for storage or entertainment purposes, the area must be kept dry. Bryant points out that a severe thunderstorm could easily bring about one inch of rain per hour. Hardiness against storms and weather damage is a must at the lake.

A few of Bryant’s recommended materials for dryness include rough rib metal decking, inside out composite and aluminum under decking, which features a wood grain look. This option, he points out, is more costly, but comes with wider offerings in design and color.

Installing an over-joist flashing system as a barrier to prevent wood rot is a must. Additionally, it’s vital for homeowners to ensure the installation of an under-deck drainage system to finish off the space.

Aside from rain, lake living can come with high highs and low lows in terms of temperature. For ambiance and coziness to come together, consider add-ons like light fixtures, fireplaces or pits, fans and gas heat sources. Air flow in the warmer months and heating in the cooler months ensure a space that is comfy all year round.

Under-deck design can make a previously overlooked area hospitable, entertaining, utilitarian in terms of storage, and/or functionally protective against storms. Enjoy every square foot of your lake house, and you’ll bridge that gap between your personal abode and the great outdoors that inspired you to choose lake living in the first place. ✦



DO ensure proper deck flashing and drainage as a top priority when considering the budget, even over aesthetics. “If it drips, it doesn’t matter how it looks,” says Bryant.

DON’T skimp on high-quality decking and railing materials.

DO get clever with the existing structure. Staircase=Storage. “These spaces can be walled off and you can install a door. You can install shelving and pull drawers,” MacLeod suggests.

S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023

n Low-maintenance under-deck gutter and drainage systems.

n Temperature control strategies like ceiling fans and infrared heating systems that run off of propane or regular gas.

n Screening to elevate any indoor-outdoor space and create a bug barrier.

n Electric installation to power up fans, outlets, lighting, cooking and media setup.


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








make an entrance 434-608-1121

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE CHARITY HOME TOUR Get inspired and support local nonprofits!

The all-volunteer Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour, now in its 32nd year of operation, has raised $5 million for area charities! It’s great fun to explore some of the most beautiful homes on the lake and experience their lovely lake and mountain views. Visitors get ideas about building, remodeling, materials, contractors, architects, products and their sources. Here’s a look at the eight homes showcased on the Charity Home Tour this year on October 6, 7 and 8. All homes are accessible by boat or by car.

The HUDLER home in Huddleston provides a spectacular view of the lake with Smith Mountain in the background. It feels like being in a treehouse because trees frame the lake view from the windows. The Hudlers had the lot’s former house torn down and, two years later, the current New England-style contemporary with modern finishes was completed.

Also in Huddleston, the SHEETS home exhibits rustic, “shabby-chic” style. Examples include: many unique furniture pieces and artwork, grandmother’s antique ice box, a display of old metal toys, a Black Dog Salvage-refurbished church door and a bar made from a boat. Enjoy the decorating of very creative homeowners!

The MCGEE home, in Kennedy Shores, one of SML’s newest developments, has a wide view of the Bull Run area of the lake. This white Hardy plank home with black trim is Craftsman-style with French country interior décor. The open-concept living/dining area has patios that beckon outdoor entertaining. The kitchen’s hidden pantry is a separate room with a coffee bar.

The THOMAS home underwent major remodeling five years ago. The owners removed walls, including a rock fireplace between the kitchen and living room, added new windows to better capture their view of the Roanoke River, looking toward Carter Island, and modernized many areas of the home they had owned for 18 years. “Before photos” indicate many of the changes — including extending and roofing the deck to make it more like a room.

In a quiet, wide cove of the Blackwater River sits the MILLSGRECO home. Construction took just eight months, with the homeowner as the builder. This 5,700-square-foot, threelevel home has 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 half baths and a bonus room over the garage. This modern home has a light exterior with dark trim accents. Cali luxury vinyl flooring, which “looks like wood but wears like cement,” is featured throughout the home and on the deck.

The MCAVOY home offers wide-water views of the Roanoke River toward Smith Mountain from all upstairs rooms. The interior is Tuscan style with a large painting over the

fireplace. Off the kitchen is a screened porch with a fireplace, and there’s a covered balcony off the living room. Antiquelooking wooden mantles cap the fireplaces. Outdoors a unique fire pit and sitting area were created behind huge rocks that were already on the property.

The DERR home, in South Harbour, another of the lake’s newest housing areas, is one of the large homes that have sprouted from a former campground. This 6,500-square-foot timber frame home is built of Douglas fir and Western red cedar with nice stonework. Unusual features include custom copper kitchen hood, copper hanging lamps and a unique light fixture over the dining table. Kitchen counters are double-thick granite with natural edges.

The DUNCAN home on Tranquility Road is a peaceful place indeed, tucked into a quiet cove of the Blackwater River. This French Country-style home, built in 2000, was remodeled extensively in 2020. The interior is eclectic, with white-washed oak floors, vaulted wooden ceiling in the entryway, a large sunroom with remote-control skylights, and Czechoslovakian family china displayed in the dining room. ✦

For information, tickets and home photos, visit

122 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023
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Aging at Home


The AARP’s recent “Home and Community Preference Survey” found that more than three-fourths of adults aged 50 or older want to remain in their current homes as long as possible. But here’s an alarming disconnect: A study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that under 10 percent of U.S. homes are equipped and ready for elder occupants.

124 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023

What makes a home aging-friendly?

Accessibility starts with having a convenient entrance that is step-free or with steps supplemented by a gently-sloped ramp. Inside, a main level bedroom is a must, preferably en suite with a wide-doored bathroom and shower equipped with support bar and shower seat. A more complete list of accessible features is included later in this article.

Brockwork’s John Brock, who has been building in the Smith Mountain Lake/ Roanoke area for 28 years, is determined to make the homes he builds aging-friendly. “All my clients are retirees, so they fit the ‘desire-to-age-in-place’ category. So we always plan for wider doorways, hallways and other spaces that will accommodate wheelchairs if needed in the future.”

“Sometimes a client will bring a house plan from a magazine to show what they want. But those have to be analyzed carefully for handicap accessibility,” Brock cautioned. “For example, though the main bathroom doorway may be wide, the commode itself might be tucked into a too-small room with a narrow door.

“What I’m seeing now,” Brock continued, “is the demand for elevators. That used to be rare, but the last three homes I’ve done have had them. We also have a way to plan for one in the future, installing a closet area with screw-in framing for easy removal when it becomes an elevator shaft. It’s best to think of this ahead of building because an elevator requires a basement slab with an 8-inch pit.” 125

“In order to make the home wheelchair accessible, there were things that we’d have to change.”

An accessible home modification

When Glenna and Earle MacKenzie bought their home at Smith Mountain Lake, they did so knowing that remodeling it to accommodate her wheel-chair-bound lifestyle would be necessary.

“We liked the lake view, the sandy beach on the lot and the yard that sloped very gently toward the lake,” Earle said. “Those were aspects of the home that set it apart from others on the market at that time. But in order to make the home wheelchair accessible, there were things that we’d have to change.”

After the renovation, there is just one 4-inch step into the house at both the front and interior garage “people door” entrances. Intrusive walls were removed to accomplish a much more wide-open concept house. A “swap” between kitchen and dining/living room spaces now permitted very wide wheelchair-friendly aisles around a huge center kitchen island. While there are companies that specialize in cabinetry designed for easy use by people with disabilities, the MacKenzies did not feel that was necessary in their case.

The primary bath, located on the main floor next to the primary bedroom, has a “roll-in” (rather than a step-over) entry to the shower. And there is a wheelchair-accommodating vanity that allows Glenna to roll in under the counter.

126 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023
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Glenna’s desire to get to the lower level, where a lovely patio and lake/beach access await, was met with the installation of an elevator on an outside wall of the kitchen, with an access that masquerades as a wide pantry door. (Author’s note: All of these changes were done so seamlessly by David Smith of D.L.S. Construction and did not “pop out” during an initial walkthrough of the home. It was only after Earle pointed out the roll-in shower that I became alert to the aging-friendly changes accomplished during the 18-month renovation.)

Making a home aging-friendly does not always require the expense and inconvenience of a major renovation, but even minor changes often require the help of a knowledgeable, reliable contractor. What could be worse than an inexperienced builder’s installation of grab bars that fail? Thankfully, the National Association of Home Builders has created a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) program. Hiring a CAPS-certified builder assures the client that this builder has the experience to properly make modifications in aging clients’ homes. 127
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Modifications to consider

Here are some of the changes that your CAPS builder might help you make:

n Change the shower entry to walk-in/roll-in rather than step over.

n Install grab bars near the toilet and/or in the shower.

n Consider a raised commode (yes, there is a product available online called a “Toilevator” that, for under $100, plus plumber’s fee for installation, will raise an existing toilet about 3.5 inches). While you’re at it, consider adding a bidet toilet seat for easy hygiene.

n Be sure to house the washer and dryer on the main level of the house.

n Move light switches so they can be easily reached from a wheelchair or a bed.

n Exchange regular doorknobs for lever handles to aid older adults with reduced hand and arm strength. Arthritic fingers make it difficult to get a grip on things like doorknobs.

n Widen doorways and hallways. Standard interior doors in homes are 32 inches wide, but the Americans with Disabilities Act has recommended a door width of 36 inches in order to better fit a wheelchair.

n Create zero-threshold entryways. If this is impossible, a ramp to an exterior door might be added. Note: the ramp does not need to be to the front door; often there is a side door that could be ramp equipped for wheelchair access.

n Add a doorbell security camera and enhanced outdoor lighting so you can more easily see who is ringing your doorbell.

n Simplify your life with a lower maintenance yard by changing grassy areas to beds of mulch or stone. Outdoor maintenance like mowing, shrubbery trimming and leaf removal can also be hired out. Ask neighbors or look online for recommended lawn care services.

128 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023

Falls can be life changing

Falls are a major health risk for older people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls cause millions of injuries and 32,000 deaths each year. Listed here are a few inexpensive ways to minimize the risk of falling in your home:

n Eliminate throw rugs that can slip and slide or get tangled in wheelchairs and walkers.

n Install textured no-slip strips and a sturdy grab rail in the bathtub and shower.

n Add a waterproof seat or chair in the shower.

n Use rubber-backed bathmats to avoid slipping in the tub or shower.

n Put nonskid treads on stairs. Remove worn carpet that can catch a shoe or slipper.

n Secure electrical cords so there is no danger of tripping on them.

n Add additional lighting, especially plug-in sensor lights, to stairways and other dark places. With aging comes cataracts that can severely limit low-light visibility.

Bottom Line: Weigh the alternatives

Depending on one’s mobility and wellness status, making changes that allow staying in a home longer may be a financially attractive alternative to moving to a care facility or buying a smaller home. A financial adviser or perhaps an attuned relative may be able to help with a comparative analysis of the alternatives available for your specific situation and anticipated needs. Don’t hesitate to get advice before making critical decisions. ✦ 129
At Brandon Oaks, you can enjoy the outdoor activities you love like biking, gardening, taking a walk or just spending time on your patio. All of this with the security of knowing you’ll have the care you need, for life with true LifeCare. Call us today for a private tour, (540) 777-5602. A breath of 3804 Brandon Ave SW • Roanoke, VA (540) 777-5602 • fresh air
130 S mith Mountain Lake HOME 2023
American Moving and Storage 86 AR Workshop 102 Arthur’s Jewelry 20 Aspire 10 Automatic Boat Covers 87 Ayers Financial Services 3 Bartlett Tree Experts 79 Bass Sod Farm 131 Berkshire Hathaway-Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate 29 Better Sofas 95 Bower Heating & Air Conditioning 67 Brandon Oaks 129 By Design Interiors 20 Closet Storage Organizers 127 Construction Marketing 117 Conway Design 94 Cooper Contractors 2 crafted. 6 Creative Curbs 26 CTS&I 21 Curtains, Blinds & Bath 23 Dale Angle, Contractor 112 Dana Montgomery, Realtor 60 Decorating Den Interiors 37 DoorTek Garage Door Service 83 Electric Co. 94 F&S Building Innovations 19 Fabulous Finds SML 36 Fortress Foundation Solutions 82 Geico 56 Glenda McDaniel, Realtor 92 JM Blair Co 102 Johnson Granite 113 Kitchen Tune-up of Roanoke 91 Lake Retreat Properties, Inc. 18 LinDor Arts 13 Lucky Duck 86 Lynchburg Landscapes 121 Mabry Automotive Group 27 Member One Federal Credit Union 12 Vicki Millehan, Realtor 132 National Pools of Roanoke 22 Phil Hager Insurance Agency 32 Piedmont Floor Show 39 Rainfrost Nursery 105 Reclaimed @ Smith Mountain Lake 38 Robert R Bauer Building Contractors. 75 Ronnie Mitchell and Son Landscaping 93 Runk & Pratt 40-41 Seven Oaks Landscape Hardscape 11 Debbie Shelton, Realtor 132 Smith Mountain Boat and Tackle 57 Smith Mountain Lake Dental Practice / Sicher, DMD 49 Southern Landscape Group 4-5 Spectrum Stone Designs 53 TBS Construction 8 TCV Trust & Wealth Management 110 Teresa Grant, Realtor 72 The Little Gallery 17 The Summit 123 The Villas at Oakwood 126 The Vinyl Porch Rail Company 14 Turner’s Dock Building 64 Vinton Appliance Center 9 Virginia Furniture Market 6 Virginia Mountain Mortgage (Bank of Botetourt) 33 Virginia Varsity Transfer and Self Storage 61 Webster Marine 7 Whitt Carpet One Floor & Home 36 Wood Grains Furniture & Gifts 56 YARID’S 26 FOR ADVERTISING INFO: (434) 845-5463 or
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With over 45 years of experience and numerous awards for career excellence, Vicki Millehan and Debbie Shelton navigate the rough waters of real estate with poise, confidence, and an unwavering dedication to put their clients first. MILLEHAN & SHELTON Chairman’s Circle Diamond MILLEHAN & SHELTON in VA Top 5 Small Teams Total GCI 3rd Quarter, 2022 MILLEHAN & SHELTON Legend Award 540.520.2401 Luxury Collection Specialist 540.797.3177 GRI, CRS, ABR Exp i ce Th@ S s NO MATTER THE MARKET ©
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Articles inside

Aging at Home article cover image

Aging at Home

pages 124-129, 131
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE CHARITY HOME TOUR Get inspired and support local nonprofits! article cover image

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE CHARITY HOME TOUR Get inspired and support local nonprofits!

page 122


pages 118-121
The 17th Time’s the Charm! article cover image

The 17th Time’s the Charm!

pages 106-107, 109-114, 116-117
REGIONAL ROOTS article cover image


pages 101-105


pages 98-100
Conway Design article cover image

Conway Design

pages 94-97
COZY UP to the outdoors enjoy every season with a custom fire feature article cover image

COZY UP to the outdoors enjoy every season with a custom fire feature

pages 88-93


pages 84-87
Green Naturally article cover image

Green Naturally

pages 80-83
LifeisBet te r on the Water! article cover image

LifeisBet te r on the Water!

pages 72-79


pages 69-71
FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE article cover image


pages 65-67
WORKING OUT ON THE WATER article cover image


pages 62-64


pages 58-61
banish Mold & Mildew with dry, airy fixes article cover image

banish Mold & Mildew with dry, airy fixes

pages 54-57
‘It Felt Magical’ article cover image

‘It Felt Magical’

pages 43-44, 47, 49-50, 52-53
YOUR HOME STYLE YOUR article cover image


pages 40-41
UNIFYING THEMES design cohesiveness at home article cover image

UNIFYING THEMES design cohesiveness at home

pages 34-39
SET THE STAGE FOR FISH FRY FUN article cover image


page 32
How to host a phenomenal fish fry article cover image

How to host a phenomenal fish fry

pages 30-31
LIGHT UP article cover image


pages 24-29


pages 11, 13-18, 20, 22-23


pages 7-8
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