Waterfront Transformation

By Alexandra Hruz
Photography by Med Dement

What once was just an austere basement room on the lake has now undergone a startling transformation to an enviable weekend home.

Contractor: Burns Construction Company
Project Design: Nancy Underwood
Interior design: Phyllis Roberts

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be anything remarkable about this Soddy-Daisy lake home. From the driveway, a garage with a bonus room is the only structure besides a flat basement roof built into the side of a sloping hill. But following a stone staircase down toward the lake reveals the front side of the house, with a wide porch, white columns, and picturesque views of the lake and surrounding landscape.


This unusual basement-style home’s story stretches to 1963, when the homeowner’s father bought the property for just $4,600. The structure was built on the lot and served as the family’s weekend getaway. The home was utilitarian—consisting of just one large room with bare concrete floors and rough rock walls. With no phones and no hot water, it was truly a minimalist’s paradise.

But when the homeowner decided to revamp the barren space to make it more welcoming and enjoyable, she called in Tim Burns of Burns Construction Company to transform the bleak basement into a comfortable lakeside retreat. During a seven-month renovation, Burns worked with the homeowner to keep the building structure intact while completing the overhaul.


“The homeowner came to me with a set of drawings to revamp the basement,” Burns says. “Basically I had no idea what we were getting into because we started with something really minimal. The walls and the fi replace are the only things left. The ceramic tile floors made an amazing difference, especially when compared to the concrete slab that was here before. But it’s completely redone. We installed the walls and floors and ran electricity all around the slab.”

As the “before” photo shows, the transformation from barren basement to lakeside luxury is striking. Walking down the long porch with crisp white columns and circulating outdoor fans, it’s obvious this outdoor area is ideal for enjoying warm summer nights. The concrete porch is original to the structure, while the roof and columns were added during the renovation.

Tall sliding glass doors serve as the front entrance, and upon walking into the home, there is an immediate feeling of warmth and light. Nicely neutral ceramic tile floors and walls blend seamlessly together. The home’s open floor plan allows fluid movement from the kitchen to the living room and the dining area, and 10-foot ceilings give the home an even more open feel.

The dining room table seats six and has a clear glass top. Off -white wood chairs with upholstered gray and white fabric add to the bright and fresh look of the home. A brass chandelier lends a classic touch with a metallic glimmer, and an antique-style china cabinet graces the wall next to the dining area and displays treasured pieces.


The kitchen features white cabinetry staggered at different heights to add interest and break up space on the wall. The tile backsplash has a unique basket weave design. Glass-front cabinets allow for the display of chosen stemware and dishes, and matching chandeliers make a pretty pair to illuminate the area. The cherry-colored island counter formerly graced a bowling alley bar and was cut down to fit the space. Stainless steel appliances, including a large fridge and icemaker, add a modern touch.

The original basement floor plan ended at what is now the doorway into the master suite. An extra 14 feet were added to the home to create this space. Cream-colored carpet warms the room and an ornate, antique-inspired white chandelier highlights the 10-foot ceilings. A similarly decorative dresser sits opposite the windows. Sliding glass doors allow bright light to enter the room and make it easy for anyone to step onto the patio and enjoy the fire pit.


Moving down the short hallway, there are two guest bedrooms and a guest bath. The first bedroom is a child’s dream, with a trundle bed shaped like a ship and a whimsical atmosphere that makes it perfect for sleepovers. The second guest bedroom is on the lake side of the home and features more large glass windows to completely capture the beauty of the outdoors. Darker cherry wood makes up the cabinetry in the guest bathroom, and his-and-her sinks sit nicely into richly colored counters. An oversized beveled mirror reflects light into the room and creates an illusion of more space.

“In the beginning, I really didn’t know if we were going to be able to make the renovation happen,” Burns says. “We had to leave the existing walls and build around them, which made the job tough. But the homeowner had a vision of what she wanted it to become, and we worked together to get there.”


From a dank basement to a perfectly proportioned, modern home, this waterfront transformation provides the perfect weekend getaway.

Home suppliers:

Appliances: Ferguson

Backsplash: Stone Source

Cabinets: Randy’s Cabinets

Carpentry: Mike McCormick Carpenters

Carpets: Choo Choo Carpets

Countertops: Webco

Electric: Higdon Electric

Excavation: Brian Sitton Construction

Field Supervisor: Kyle Burns

Fireplace mantle, trim:

Interior Trim and Supply

Light fixtures: Ferguson

Marble fireplace: Stone Source

Masonry: Ingle Masonry

Roof: Associated Roofing

Painting: Home Pros Painting

Tile: Louisville Tile

Tile Installation: D&R Tile

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