Charlotte Place Summer 2007
Misty Waters on Lake Wylie
By: Michelle A. Ziner
Many years ago, custom home builder Doug McSpadden recognized the beauty of an exclusive waterfront area, west of Charlotte, in the small town of Belmont, NC. “I was taken with South Point peninsula because of its close proximity to Charlotte and its unspoiled shorelines,” said McSpadden.
“With only a limited amount of land sandwiched between the Main Fork and the South Fork of the Catawba River, the chance for over development and commercial strip centers is limited. We have invested over 20 years living and building along the shorelines of Lake Wylie, and a major part of our focus has been the half-dozen or so exclusive waterfront communities that have developed here in the past decade. In particular, Misty Waters on Lake Wylie caught my attention due to its limited number of large lots, privacy gates, clubhouse, pool and marina facility,” he said.
John and Lisa Morris apparently saw the same thing when they purchased their 1.5 acre point in a quiet cul-de-sac in Misty Waters.
In collaboration with Christopher Phelps, a residential home designer of Charlotte, McSpadden recently completed an incredible waterfront custom home for John and Lisa. “This was a text book example of how well our “systems” approach and building processes work together. We commit extensive energies to properly prepare a project and we exercise extreme flexibility during the construction process,” said McSpadden. “The owners were involved from the beginning and participated in all phases,” he added.
The elegant home sits at the end of a heavily wooded but manicured road. The stone and stucco home has a full stone foundation and an exterior breezeway with iron railings connecting the home to a full guest house. A circular driveway compliments the front entrance and welcomes visitors to the impressive wood and iron front door.
From the start of the interior design process, John and Lisa adamantly agreed on one thing…that they wouldn’t agree on the same choices for anything. To resolve this, they decided to designate the main floor to Lisa’s design and the lower level to John’s design. Although the home’s architecture is grand, the couple wanted the interior to have a “Cottage look”, open and airy with distinctly different areas. “We are an informal family and wanted our home to be conducive to hosting parties, eating and just hanging out,” said Lisa.
To accomplish this, the formal dining room and formal living room were eliminated from the floor plan. The space was combined with the gathering room and the kitchen area. Functionality and flow for entertaining was maximized on the main floor. “I wanted not only a great flow, but for the entire interior to be finished with practical and lasting materials,” said Lisa.
An enormous foyer greets you as you enter the home. The rich chamois colored walls create a warm feeling. Tall wood chests flank the inside of the front door establishing a welcoming feeling and offering convenient storage. The size of the foyer commanded an oversized display cabinet and a huge hanging chandelier of anodized iron and tortoise shell. Thinking ahead and focusing on practicality, Lisa had a hoist installed to lower and raise the chandelier for cleaning. “How else would you ever clean it? These are the details that aren’t necessarily thought about ahead of time,” she said.
The foyer leads to the combined living and entertaining area. Four inch wide dark black walnut flooring extends throughout the first floor and the chamois paint is carried through on the walls. The cabinetry is painted with a custom vanilla color and protected with urethane to ease cleaning. Lisa did not want fancy millwork everywhere with a lot of ridges to collect dust, so she chose straight lines for her cabinets and millwork and solid wood painted bead board to cover the lower sections of her walls. The ceiling is dramatic coffered box ceiling with recessed lighting.
The living area has a full wall arched window and a single window with window seat, overlooking the open patio, gardens and lake. So as not to obstruct the view, the windows are trimmed with breezy side panels hung on pewter rods with rings. In front of the arched window sits a family heirloom - a small drop-leaf dining table hand made by Lisa’s great grandfather as a wedding gift for her grandmother. This provides a perfect display area for photos and flowers.
The furniture is comfortable and tasteful, but not overly formal. Two sitting chairs from a gold fabric with checks of red coordinate with a sofa of muted narrow stripes in similar tones. A traditional over-sized solid wood, tray-style table with open handles and ball feet, joins the furniture into a conversation area. The personality of the furniture comes from the “Big Momma” chair, as Lisa calls it. The gold chenille tufted chair is double width to accommodate Lisa and her two Westies, Bailey and Sammy. “They would be on my lap no matter what chair I sat in, so I might as well have one to fit all of us,” said Lisa. The conversation area faces the marble fireplace and built-in bookcases.
Adjoining the living area is the well thought out, well appointed kitchen. An unusual island is the focus of the room with a built-in banquette for seating and conversing while Lisa and John cook. The island is topped with black walnut and holds a prep sink, a stainless steel ice maker and numerous storage drawers. The main countertops are rare ivory granite and have delicate flecks of black, gold, rust, taupe and silver. The painted cabinets are ceiling height. “Many tried to talk me out of this saying I couldn’t reach,” said Lisa. “To this I replied, why have open space above? It is just lost storage area.” Lisa also had most of the lower kitchen cabinets replaced with drawers instead, saying it was easier to access items when you can pull the drawer out and see everything. The backsplash is done in small diamond shape tiles by Walker Zanger of Charlotte. A stainless steel six burner Viking stove, Sub Zero refrigerator, Miele dishwasher and over-the-bar chrome lighting all offer a cool contrast to the warm paint.
The eating area includes an impressive wood table; her grandmother’s antique child’s chair and a tall buffet. The glass doors in the eating area lead to the covered screen veranda where the family relaxes, reads, listens to music and watches television.
From the kitchen area a bright open hallway leads to Lisa’s personal work area, which includes an elegant but functional laundry room with built-in cabinets, a cork floor, glass block walls, a folding and ironing counter, and a sewing area. Her powder room is across the hall as well as her cozy office with pink walls. Built-in wood cabinetry and personal collections add character.
The only place on the first floor where Lisa and John share decorating is in the master suite. The bedroom is done simply with pale green walls, and upholstered headboard, quilted comforters and wood furniture. Separate bathroom and dressing areas are located on each side of the master bedroom and are naturally two different styles, designed by the couple themselves. Hers has two closets. One is a huge walk-in closet with shelving and the other is a smaller closet for hanging clothing.
Lisa’s bathroom has a heated travertine floor and painted wood and glass cabinetry. The countertops are marble with glass mosaics on the backsplash and the shower is glass and marble as well. A bubbling soaking tub has its own nook with an oil painting as a focal point.
John’s dressing area has an abundance of drawer towers, a charging station for his electronics, and it receives natural light from both a window and a sky-light. His bath is very masculine with gray granite countertops, natural wood cabinets, a bamboo shade, and a floor made from stone and river rock. His choice was a steam shower also finished in stone.
Accessing the lower level by a wide open stairway with large walls on one side for art displays, you begin to detect the subtle style changes. Once down, you know you are in John’s area, greeted by an enormous game room. At once you step onto a floor of multi-colored 20”x20” square stones with a brick pattern inlay. This room has a pool table, a popcorn machine; an antique feeding trough which he lines to cool beer and three flat monitors to watch multiple games simultaneously. His bar has granite counter tops, a dishwasher, ice maker, refrigerator, and cabinetry with “moose horn” door pulls that John brought back from an Alaska trip.
Adjacent to the pool table area is a smaller gaming area with a 2-in-1 poker table and leather chairs. This area opens through double doors to an exercise room which then leads to what John calls the “2 wheel garage”. Only bicycles and his collection of motorcycles are stored there.
The other side of the pool table area leads to the home theatre and music room. The walls are fabric and foam lined for noise absorption. Leather rocker recliners provide comfortable movie viewing and seating. A custom buffet stores movies and equipment.
Across the hall is John’s office decorated in an island theme. With all glass giving a view of the lake on two sides of the room, wood cabinets and shelving fill the other two. The ceiling is coffered with copper inserts, and the window valances are upholstered with a small paisley print fabric. John’s adjoining bathroom leads to the patio and pool area with plenty of towel storage and a tile shower.
The rear of the home is an oasis according to the couple. An enclosed greenhouse has a planting bench with storage, manufactured from all-weather Trex. Lisa and her grandmother start seedlings for the garden and assemble flower dishes. A kitchen garden of herbs and a vegetable garden are just outside the greenhouse and are surrounded by stepping stones and steppable ground cover that lead to the blueberry bush garden. One winding path created with Belguard pavers by DeSignia Inc. of Charlotte, leads to the boat, dock and sitting areas and another leads to the point on the lake. Stone walls and a grassy area separate the home from the lake. “From the rear of the home you can’t see a house to the right or the left, only the lake and garden,” boasts John.
McSpadden is confidently pleased as well. “John and Lisa were a joy to work with and we have become close friends, enjoying the social times together in their beautiful home on the lake. With similar personalities, Lisa and I fed off each other, our high energy levels were quite complimentary,” he said. Not quite a year since the home was complete; the couple entertains regularly and loves their surroundings. “This is such a peaceful place,” said John. “When you drive into the subdivision it’s as though you left the city and went to a river cabin. What could be better?”