Rustic Lakeside Luxury

The Yates Home


For Billy and Sonya Yates, their luxurious lakeside home has been a long time coming. When the duo first purchased the property 12 years ago, they immediately built a dock to cater to fun weekends on the water – but the work stopped there. The couple, who at the time were successful small business owners, always felt that life was too busy and the timing never quite right. Fast forward over a decade, and the Yates’ children had left the nest, making it an ideal time to take on the task of building their dream home. Sonya and Billy teamed up with Mike Varner of Mike Varner Construction and work ensued.


By Christina Cannon / Photography by Creative Revolver


“Our business was always very busy, and so we just kept waiting,” says Sonya. “When we first started work on the house, we were working six days a week, so we wanted this to be a place that almost felt like a getaway or a vacation.”

Another goal for their new home? For it to be a place where they could retire and age gracefully without challenges. “A lot of this home was built with the intention of what could possibly happen as we get older,” adds Billy. With wide doorways and hallways – and even an elevator to access other floors of the home – Sonya and Billy can stay focused on living in the present. 

The home’s exterior instantly conveys a sense of grandeur with its four-car garage that sits just below three prominent dormer windows. Cedar shake siding is broken up with stacked stone, and together the materials contribute to the rustic aesthetic that Sonya is so fond of.

“I really like rustic design, but we had to be mindful to use it in moderation whenever we were building,” explains Sonya. “That style, with the exception of mountain homes, is one of those things that can be here today and gone tomorrow. I just picked a few of my favorite elements and used those. Aside from that, I wanted a timeless design that won’t go out of style.”

Entering the home through a beautiful rippled, three-quarter glass door, visitors find themselves in an open-concept living space. To the right, a formal dining area features a long wooden table that has three parsons chairs tucked under each side. Two blue patterned wingback chairs rest at the heads, and the entire space, while still open to other areas of the home, is set apart by several thick wooden columns. The deep wood grains are repeated in the top of a tray ceiling just above the table for added continuity. 

Nearby, a stately stacked-stone fireplace plays off of the stone found outside, and a live-edge mantel adds to the faint rustic flair. Custom built-ins flanking the fireplace are the perfect spot for a public display of personality, and four beige armchairs, in conjunction with a leather couch, provide more than enough seating.

A simple 180-degree turn puts guests at the edge of the kitchen. A U-shaped island is topped with granite and can accommodate six. The dark overlay cabinetry that runs throughout the space lends itself to the aesthetic that the Yates love, but it’s paired with cream-colored walls, vaulted ceilings, and recessed lighting to keep the space bright. 

Stainless-steel appliances dot the room, and a picture-framed detail behind the range features a pot-filler faucet. Counter space extends from the right of the stove and is an ideal set-up for feeding and entertaining guests. The perimeter cabinets conveniently give way to yet another dining space. Sweeping views of the lake outside ground this area, which features a round wooden table and seating for eight.

Just off of the kitchen is the master suite. For some, a bedroom may solely be a place to sleep, but to the Yates, this room is their haven. “It may sound silly, but this is one of my favorite spots in the entire house,” explains Sonya. “This sitting area has some of the best views, and this room really has everything we need.” 

In addition to a king-size bed, a fabric sofa and two swivel armchairs are a great place to read a book, enjoy a morning cup of coffee, or watch a movie. Complete with a floor-to-ceiling stacked-stone fireplace, warm tongue-and-groove hardwood ceiling, automated drapes, and even a mini-bar, this area of the home is truly a place Billy and Sonya can unwind and relax in style.

Also not sacrificing style is the nearby en suite. Marble countertops, which match the tile running along the floor, cloak a suspended vanity that has LED lighting underneath. A soaking tub to the right sits just below a square privacy window and features a patterned accent wall. 

The opposite side of the spacious room has a walkthrough shower featuring the same pattern. Rain fixtures jut out from overhead, and the entire bathroom features hardware, lighting, and plumbing fixtures in the same brushed brass look. 

While the main floor of the home has everything the Yates need to live, the basement level dishes out an added dose of fun.

“One of the real goals when we started the build was for us to downsize since the kids were grown and out of the house,” says Billy. “But since we were building on a flag lot, the home ended up needing a basement because of the way it was situated.”

By adding a basement level to the home, the Yates suddenly had more space than they knew what to do with. Their solution? Add in a golf simulator so that Billy could work on perfecting his swing, rain or shine. “If I’m ever looking for him and he’s nowhere to be found, chances are he’s on the green,” laughs Sonya. 

In addition to the golf simulator, the bottom floor of the Yates home is complete with two guest rooms, a full kitchen, and a living space. The best part of this level, however, is its proximity to the pool. 

“We sometimes joke that we could live on the main floor in the winter and live in the basement during the summer,” says Sonya.

Just outside, a turquoise blue pool with a wall-to-wall sun shelf has an accompanying spa. Several seating areas, an outdoor kitchen, outdoor living space, two fire pits, and an outdoor shower provide all the comforts one could want for a joyous day soaking up the sun.

“We’ve spent our lives working really hard and helping ensure other families can have fun,” says Sonya. “Now it’s our turn to kick back and relax, and I couldn’t think of a better place to spend our retirement years.” 


Billy and Sonya Yates

Billy & Sonya Yates

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