Traditional Lakeside Luxury

Premier Living

By Christina Davenport / Photography by Trevor Long

Just off the shores of Chickamauga Lake is a stately residence home to Claire Ward and Page Culbertson. The dynamic duo purchased the property in 2021 for a change of pace and hasn’t looked back since.

“Before this, I lived in a 1,500-square-foot log cabin in Georgia that was pretty remote,” says Page. “It was on a dangerous gravel road, the internet connection was bad, and hospitals and grocery stores were a major trek. It just started to wear me out, and I decided we needed to get closer to humanity.”

Now, Page and Claire are nestled in a quiet neighborhood with plenty of activities at their fingertips. For Page, an avid hunter and fisherman, this location allows him to still feel close to nature while offering unfamiliar convenience.

In addition to the home’s waterfront location, the building materials also pay homage to the natural surroundings. Beautiful stone wraps the exterior of the home, while a pool in the courtyard comes complete with a waterfall feature. The stone’s warm tones create a subtle contrast when paired with the surrounding water, and it also works to set the tone for what lies in wait just beyond the front door.

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Once inside the Ward-Culbertson home, the warmth from the exterior strengthens through the use of hardwoods and accent lighting.

“My style is totally eclectic,” says Claire. “I really like the 17th century French style, but our home is a mix of everything. I buy what I like, and then Page and I both had some pieces from family that we’ve incorporated.”

Several vignettes dot the space and encourage connection, and all are designed to capitalize on the sublime lake views. Adding to the sense of grandeur in the living room is the tongue-and-groove ceiling and corresponding mortise and tenon woodwork. In this artful show of skill, Douglas fir beams and planks use a dated but durable joinery technique that includes only wooden pegs and wires.

Sharing the same space as the living area is a secondary dining room. Here, a lengthy wooden table is surrounded by benches and cane chairs, and the openness to the living room means conversation can flow freely during gatherings of friends or family.

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the ward-culbertsons

“This space is beautiful, and it’s one of my favorite things about the house. On the other hand, the size is still taking some getting use to, but it’s nice to be able to move about and never feel crowded.” – Page Culbertson

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Also on the main floor of the home and adjacent to the great room is the home’s kitchen. The rich wood tones continue in this space with the vibrant cherry cabinetry. A furniture-style island accommodates four slat-back barstools and is topped with a light stone countertop, while the range hood mimics the overlay cabinetry. Three quaint pendant lights descend from the coffered ceiling, and a mixture of stainless-steel and paneled appliances round out the space.

Just out of frame, another small seating area welcomes an additional four, and a nearby dining table provides even more space for guests. While Claire and Page are still working on cultivating traditions in this home, they are hopeful about the future. “This house is obviously great for entertaining. We’ve hosted Thanksgiving several times, and we really want to claim New Year’s Day as another celebration,” says Page.

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While the other spaces in the home may be more about connecting and having fun, the master suite is designed for rest and relaxation. Staying true to the ornate style of the home, the master bedroom features an embellished canopy bed and several traditional dressers and sideboards. A small seating area is situated just steps away in front of a fireplace, and the room also features two points from which one can access the back deck and its sweeping vistas.

The spacious bathroom features the same cherry cabinetry that was seen in the home’s kitchen. His-and-hers vanities are bisected by a soaking tub, and a stunning stained glass detail commands attention and is yet another example of superior craftsmanship. Whether it’s from the antique furniture or the home’s more foundational features, quality reigns and artistry is celebrated throughout.

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