Family on the Lakefront

by Katie Faulkner
Photography by Morgan Nowland

Walking up to this cypress and stone clad lake home, its custom craftsmanship is immediately apparent. For Beth and Bill Nuttall, this home is a sign of many days spent with family and many happy years of retirement to come.

Elegant, rustic lakefront home in chattanooga entryway with arched front door

“We spend basically every weekend here. And we’ve made wonderful friends – this neighborhood is amazing!” Beth shares about their beloved Watts Bar lake home. Built in 2014 by Mark Whitlock and Jack Branson, the Nuttalls created a home intentionally designed for its uniqueness and its ability to accommodate their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.


For years Bill and Beth commuted between Seattle for Bill’s work and Chattanooga to visit their daughter and her family. As they prepared for retirement, they decided it would be fun to build a lake home closer to Chattanooga, as a place to create family memories. Bill says, “I just wanted to be as close to Chattanooga and the water as possible, so after we determined the lay of the floor plan, the rest I left up to Beth.” Soon, “BB’s Hideaway” was born. The grandchildren call Beth “BB” so Bill aptly named their new retreat.

Entering the home, an arched front door lends a charming, rustic finish and cottage-like shape that beckons visitors inward. Beth knew she wanted a door like this after seeing an inspirational picture in a magazine.

The entryway opens into a grand scale great room connected to the kitchen. Painted pine paneling and rustic beams immediately evoke a lodge-like feel. However, they are well-balanced in white and ample natural sunlight, which keep the rooms from being too dark. Hundred-year-old heart pine flooring was refurbished for the home and is filled with deep nail holes and marks which add character and an instant sense of history to the home.

“I really love the navy furniture for a lake home, but I didn’t want it to look too nautical, so we balanced navy with soft green and rustic touches,” Beth explains. Green accents are found in the foyer table, a nearby lamp, and seasonal greenery. Above the green foyer table hangs a painting of a heron, set to a navy background. “I love herons, and when I found this painting, I loved the colors in it, so that sort of became the inspiration for the colors in this room,” Beth explains. Playing to her affinity for herons, a custom carving was created above the fireplace which makes for a gorgeous wooden one-of-a-kind surround. Sliding barn doors to the left of the fireplace are made of reclaimed wood and separate Bill’s office nook from the rest of the main living spaces.

Elegant, rustic lakefront home in chattanooga kitchen cabinets bar and oven with wooden hood


Open to the great room, the kitchen continues rustic touches and varying hues of blue. White countertops with soft gray veins brighten the old-world look of the reclaimed barn wood island. A gentle teal-gray color adds a cheerful hue to the custom-built kitchen cabinets, which are allowed to shine thanks to the subtle white counters and clean white subway tile backsplash. A reclaimed wood hood over the stove ties everything back to the island.

Nearby, a custom-built pale gray piece fuses the best features of cabinetry and an antique glass front hutch. “I love that piece!” Beth says. “I needed a little more counter space, and this is what Mark and I designed as a solution.” The additional counter space can serve as a wet bar or coffee bar when the Nuttalls are entertaining – which is often. Bill, a self-proclaimed ‘frother’ loves to make specialty coffee drinks for his guests. 

   Beth says, “We are blessed with wonderful neighbors who find any excuse to get together. So we often have game nights, or ‘flash wine gatherings’ on someone’s dock.  A neighbor just sends a text to everyone and suddenly we have a party. Everyone chips in on drinks and snacks.” Last year, the neighborhood started a monthly supper club. Everyone picks a dish to cook out of the latest issue of Southern Living, then they all gather at someone’s home to share a potluck-style meal.

While the island provides four additional seats, the adjacent eat-in nook holds a table that will seat eight while the screened-in porch, accessible from the kitchen and the living room, has still more seating. “We love to have family holidays here too and wanted enough space for the grandchildren and their friends, as well as out-of-town family,” Beth says.

Elegant, rustic lakefront home in chattanooga blue chaise lounge white cabinets in bathroom

To the back of the kitchen is the master suite. Complete with serenely minimal decor and an abundance of lake views, the master bedroom is a sanctuary fit for any nature lover. The same wide-plank, 100-year-old heart pine floors run throughout this room as well. A vaulted ceiling with custom reclaimed wooden beams, a focal wall of windows and wooden paneling, and a custom nine-foot tall slat-style headboard all add a touch of grandeur and architectural interest to the room. A rustic linen-colored Bergere chair rests in the corner, soaking up sunlight and offering a cozy nook to read or watch roaming wildlife outside. “We’ve seen eagles, deer, osprey, all kinds of animals around this house. It’s really fun
just to sit and watch sometimes,”
Bill says.

Just off the bedroom is the Nuttall’s master bathroom. This was designed to be quite a spacious room by Beth. As she explains, “I decided that Bill and I really never use a bathtub. So we opted for a roomy shower instead.” The blue velvet bench serves as a room divider while also being functional for dressing. Beautiful custom-built vanities stand beside each other, divided by a matching hutch. A glass encased shower in the background allows for a quick rinse or more leisurely steam.

Downstairs on the terrace level, the Nuttalls enjoy another kitchenette and living area. Made to be a more transitional space, it’s perfect for all the grandkids coming in from the lake. Off the main living areas downstairs, a main bunk room is any kid’s dream. Four custom-built bunk beds are stacked against one wall with matching bed spreads, built-in drawers, and a ladder. Each bunk is complete with a reading light and customized pillow. The rest of the room is soaked in sunlight and has plenty of space to play and hang out. The ensuite bathroom makes getting cleaned up after lake time a breeze.

Elegant, rustic lakefront home in chattanooga owners Beth and Bill Nutgall and their dog

Beth and Bill Nuttall

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