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This Georgia Cabin Puts a Fresh Spin on Rustic Style

A Georgia couple reimagine a tired cabin into a playful lakeside retreat filled with custom design details and plenty of room for family fun.

Written by Suzanna Logan
Photography courtesy of Christina Wedge and Chip Wade
Sometimes in life, the best adventures happen when you least expect them. Just ask Chip and Pauli Wade. When the couple set out for a day of fishing with a friend, they expected to catch a fish or two. But what they caught instead was house fever.
While boating through a quiet cove on Georgia’s Lake Sinclair, they came upon a rambling lot with 400 feet of waterfront access and pines stretching up from three acres of grassy lawn. “We instantly fell in love with the property,” explains Chip.
But, to get the it, they also had to take the outdated 1980s-era loggers’-style cabin that came with it. The home had seen better days, as water damage, rot, and neglect had taken their toll, but the couple wasn’t deterred. They had a clear vision for what the place could become.
And, thanks to Chip’s impressive resume — he graduated as a mechanical engineer from Georgia Tech, turned celebrity carpenter as the host of HGTV and DIY Network shows and now heads up Wade Works Creative, a boutique architecture, design and real estate firm — they had all the know-how to bring that vision to life.
With the help of his dad, Chip spent the next seven months renovating the property to perfection, customizing every detail to fit his family’s lifestyle. “We ripped everything out, started from scratch, the whole nine yards,” he says. Their game plan included reconfiguring the entire layout, which included a cramped kitchen and viewless living room, opening up the interiors and adding windows galore to maximize water views. At one point, Chip even took a chainsaw to the log walls to make room for the oversized picture windows.
Most importantly, they created a looser flow to the expanded outdoor living spaces by including double French doors at every turn. Now, the family and their guests are only ever a step away from the home’s 3,000 square feet of porches and wrap-around decking, complete with fire pit and outdoor kitchen features. A stone paver path connects the home to a brand new dock and boathouse outfitted with lounge chairs, hammocks and a stocked bar. “The entire point of the house is to enjoy the views and get out on the water, so we oriented everything towards that,” says Chip.
Still, if you ask us, the views inside are hard to beat. Every space is swoon-worthy, yet none take themselves too seriously.
In the living room, a coffee bar with a colorful tile wall sits adjacent to a casual seating area made for lazy afternoons spent playing cards. Across the room, a two-story, blue ombre-painted wall, inspired by the home’s lakeside setting, stretches up to an open-air loft that’s adorned with super-hero posters.
In the kitchen, a hibachi grill is a stage for onion volcanoes, and the custom dining table hosts Ping Pong tournaments during off-meal hours.
In the master bedroom, a king-sized bed suspended by ropes from a hemlock beam gives off a retreat-feel, while a neighboring bedroom gets a boost of nostalgia from Americana details.
Chip laughingly refers to the home’s aesthetic as “Boy Scout chic,” but don’t let the humble terminology fool you. High-end finishes meeting a playful mix of summer camp-inspired finds is the stuff Pinterest is made of. (Fittingly, the home, dubbed Misty Mill, has its own Instagram account.) But he is quick to remind that though the spaces may be share-worthy, they all serve a purpose.
“There’s not a single thing in this house that’s just for looks,” says Chip. “When designing a house, you need to think beyond the aesthetic and create spaces you’ll actually use.”
And use them they do. On weekends, the Wades play host to a flurry of friends and family. Not surprisingly, the home is a hit with the couple’s three children, ages 7, 9 and 12. “They absolutely love it; I think even more than our traditional primary residence,” says Chip. But with an agenda that includes nothing but bare feet and boating — plus a bit of go-carting and four-wheeling for good measure — who could blame them? “We’re all more chilled out here,” says Chip. “This house has some fun things going — some color, some surprises — but it’s really all about hanging out and spending time together.”

Home Details

Square Footage: 2,400   
Baths: 4

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