Transitional Lakeside Living

The Marlin Home

When Dawn and Tommy Marlin first began entertaining the idea of leaving their Valleybrook home of over 30 years, one thing took precedence over all else – finding a home with a lake view that didn’t come with a lengthy commute. After seeing the property for the first time, the couple knew they had struck gold and immediately got to work figuring out how to turn the tract of land into an oasis where comfort and convenience were at the forefront.

“To build on this lot, you have to get approval from the TVA, and that’s a process that can take the better part of the year,” explains Dawn. “We were very fortunate in that the people we purchased the lot from had already done that, so we were able to really come in and start designing our dream home.”


By Christina Davenport  |  Photography by Ryan Dugger/Creative Revolver

Classic red brick washes over the façade of the Marlin home and is broken up by segments of stacked stone for an earthy but original look. Approaching the main entryway, guests gain access to a covered patio by passing through one of the signature stone walls, which is embellished by the same brick that’s seen elsewhere on the home’s exterior. The curvature of the first threshold mirrors that of the one leading inside, and beautiful arch-top French doors with elegant privacy glass beckon visitors to enter.

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Stepping inside, guests instantly find themselves in the heart of the home. The great room has been designed to maximize the incredible lake views, and a stone fireplace pays homage to the home’s exterior. Vaulted ceilings are outfitted with recessed lighting and thick wooden beams that, when paired with the material of the fireplace, emit a faint rustic feel. 

Built-in shelving bookends the fireplace and provides the perfect spot to display cherished family mementos and other sentimental items. The seating arrangement consists of two leather couches and a pair of leather armchairs, which encircle an upholstered ottoman. Four botanical prints with gold framing are a gentle reminder to appreciate the natural beauty in the world, and two sets of tabletop lamps with drum shades help light flood into every corner of the room. 

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Open to the great room is the Marlins’ formal dining room. A refined wooden table seats eight with its Queen Anne chairs, and the rich natural wood offers up a stark contrast with the navy blue walls. A large area rug, curtains, and several pieces of qíng huà-style porcelain build on the color palette. 

“One of my favorite details about the house is the barrel ceiling in the dining room,” says Dawn. “Our builder had seen that style done in a church in New York, and when he asked us about putting it in our home, we gave it the green light. It turned out better than we imagined.”

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Passing through a large threshold at the far end of the living and dining area takes visitors into the home’s spacious kitchen.

“Another main goal of the house was to have distinct spaces but to still maintain that feeling that comes with an open floor plan,” explains Dawn. “This is a great example of that. The pass-through to the kitchen is really wide, but we also had a sliding barn door installed. That way, if we have a group of people in the kitchen and another group in the great room watching TV, we can close off the spaces if we need to.”

White cabinetry runs along the perimeter and is paired with gray glossy subway tiles and light granite countertops. By contrast, a large island in the center of the room grounds the space with its dark furniture-style cabinetry and leathered countertops. A prep sink is conveniently located to one end of the island, which also houses a pair of refrigerator drawers and an icemaker.

“We had an icemaker in our last house, and I absolutely loved the convenience of it,” says Dawn. “I knew it was something I wanted to incorporate into this kitchen as well.”

A split refrigerator and freezer, along with a pair of wall ovens, round out the appliances and make entertaining a breeze. Four blue leather bar stools are tucked under the island and are the perfect solution for including guests in conversation without feeling cramped in the space. 

“I can be doing my thing over here in the kitchen, and I can have guests sit at the bar. They can talk to me and socialize, but there’s still plenty of space,” says Dawn. 

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Following the hardwoods across the main level to the other side of the home takes visitors to the master suite. Here, a rich wooden sleigh bed frame effortlessly accommodates a king bed and matches two nightstands. A fireplace steps away is a cozy touch and is surrounded by basketweave marble tiles and custom woodwork. A turret on the outside of the home results in a small nook that is complete with two swivel armchairs and pristine water views. 

In the spa-like master bathroom, a freestanding bathtub commands the space and rests under a spherical chandelier of crystal and gold. Porcelain tile mimicking marble cloaks the floors and a portion of the walls.

On the other side of the room, a two-tiered vanity area features his-and-hers sinks. Towers on the outer sides reach nearly to the ceiling and keep clutter off of the granite countertops. Two elegant sconces are affixed to the mirror, and their gold mounts tie in with several other gold details throughout the room.

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freestanding bathtub with crystal chandelier above in master bathroom


“In the spa-like master bathroom, a freestanding bathtub commands the space and rests under a spherical chandelier of crystal and gold.”

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When designing their home, Dawn and Tommy wanted their guests to be comfortable above all else. With plenty of open spaces and décor selections that are not only an ode to nature but also incorporate modern touches, the Marlin home has achieved just that. Quality time with family and friends is at the helm, and beautiful surroundings add a layer of peace and tranquility to any gathering no matter the size. 


Tommy and Dawn Marlin

Tommy and Dawn Marlin

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