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Casual lake living

By Elizabeth Neelley Photography by Mark McCoy

By Elizabeth Neelley

Photography by Mark McCoy

When Ron and Marsha Golden began looking for what they thought would be a weekend lake home, they found a home that would become so much more.

Purchased in the spring of 2007, the Goldens' year-round lake retreat in Marshall County was originally an older fishing cabin built in the early 1970s. By that fall, what initially began as a remodel quickly became a major construction job. Not much from the first home remains except for the basement footprint.

"We were going to just use it as a weekend home, but the construction project grew and grew," says Marsha. "That's when we decided to make it our full-time home."

Marsha and her husband were tipped off about the house being for sale by some friends who lived near the site. Knowing that they were looking for a home at the lake, their friends encouraged them to come see it, and added, "If you don't buy it, we will!" So, they came and took a look, and long story short, Marsha and her husband sold their home in Paducah and became full time Kentucky Lake residents.

The Goldens gutted and took off the main level of the home and started a rebuild from the basement walls up. The 2,800 square foot house is lake living at its best.

The cottage style home is finished with taupe-colored shaker shingles on its exterior and has a quaint covered front porch and wraparound deck topped with a white pergola that leads to a screened-in porch on the lake side of the house.

The screened-in porch overlooks a patio and outdoor living area that is only trumped by the fantastic views of Kentucky Lake. The concrete-stamped patio is home to comfortable outdoor seating and side tables on which to rest a refreshing summer beverage, in addition to a well-appointed grilling area and charmingly landscaped garden beds.

Included in one of these garden beds is a weathered-looking anchor, given to them by Ron's mother, as well as a wrought iron blue heron sculpture with a fish in its mouth, given to them by their former next door neighbors, when they moved elsewhere.

Ron and Marsha love hosting friends, especially in warmer weather months, when they can grill out and dine on their patio and porch, and of course, take in the fantastic sights of the lake and nature around them.

As one enters the screened porch from the outside, Marsha's casual lake style abounds. It includes a metal outdoor dining table and six chairs, which is decorated with an anchor printed burlap table runner, a woven tray that plays host to potted plants, succulents and herbs and a pair of glass lanterns, one at each end of the runner.

At the opposite end of the porch is a well-coordinated seating area, with a wicker, striped-cushioned sofa, rocking chair and matching chair and ottoman set with coffee and end tables. All make for the picture-perfect place to relax with a good book, to watch the orioles that frequent the bird feeder outside, or to enjoy other wildlife that frequent the lake, like the occasional bald eagle.

While not over-decorated with nautical and lake themed accessories, one notable lake-related touch on the porch is a wooden anchor that hangs above the double French doors that lead into the interior living area.

Just through these doors and inside the home is a tastefully decorated great room area and kitchen. It is the French doors and the wall of windows that separate the porch from the kitchen and living area, that give Ron and Marsha a four seasons view of the beautiful lake.

Marsha is quick to point out that "this is what lake living is all about, we're all about comfort and casual living." No doubt their home encourages this lifestyle.

The light, buttercup yellow walls of the kitchen and great room, and the white bead board tongue and groove cathedral ceilings reinforce the cottage style of the home.

They also are the ideal foundation for the many antiques with which Marsha and her husband have chosen to furnish their house. Her parents collected antiques, and in addition to inheriting many of her parents' furniture pieces, she herself appreciates hunting through local antique stores for treasured, old finds.

One item in particular that Marsha found locally is her distressed harvest table that sits in the dining area of her great room. Purchased at a shop in Benton, it is surrounded by eight vintage dining chairs given to Marsha and her husband by her parents. Atop the table is a rustic arrangement of dried hydrangeas that were cut from the flower beds in front of her home.

Another cherished antique in the great room is an old church pew that was found at an antique store in Eddyville. Marsha has placed the pew under a window along the backside of the room and has filled it with decorative throw pillows, including one in the center that is monogrammed.

The great room, including the kitchen area, is easily the heart of the home. In addition to being the area in which Ron and Marsha enjoy relaxing and watching TV, it is also the natural gathering area for their house guests and offers a cozy, yet contemporary sofa, and two traditional occasional chairs that are as classy as they are comfy.

The kitchen, located on the front side of the house, is open to the living area and has grayish-green painted and distressed cabinets with antique bronze hardware in twig and leaf designs. The brown, gold and charcoal granite countertops blend nicely with the light yellow walls. Even though recessed ceiling lights and two traditional chandeliers help add light to the great room, the windows that surround the room bring in a lot of natural light and of course, more evidence of the home's gorgeous lake views.

Although Ron and Marsha are retired empty nesters, they have plenty of room for guests to stay overnight, including their two daughters and sons-in-law who have families of their own in Nashville, Tennessee.

Down the main floor hallway, which leads away from the kitchen and great room, are two tan-colored bedrooms with queen sized beds and a third room that doubles as an office for Marsha and a sleeping area for one of their grandchildren. It contains a petite sized cushioned settee, full of pillows, that easily converts to a futon style bed when the sides are folded down.

Just next door to her office and grandchild's favorite room is one of the other two guest bedrooms, which features a scrolled iron bed covered with bright green and blue swirled, paisley bedding.

Even though much of the living area of the Golden lake house is on the upper, main level, it is the basement that serves as the master bedroom and alternate living area and retreat for Marsha and her husband. The casual, yet traditional style of the main level continues downstairs. Easy access to the outdoors is also available via two doors, each off the master bedroom and the basement den.

While the traditional, attractive décor of the basement living areas invites one to relax and enjoy resting indoors, the outdoor, concrete patio that stretches across the back, lower level of the house beckons one back outside, and quickly offers a visual reminder of why Ron and Marsha moved to the lake: for beautiful laid back views, sunny skies and the fresh air of nature all around.

The Goldens have definitely learned to take advantage of what living at the lake has to offer: the very least of which, is outdoor living, and it's not just for them, but their terrific neighbors too. "Everybody at the lake is real friendly. We have great neighborhood friends and in the summer, at least once a week, we tie up our boats out in the lake, eat dinner, and star gaze," says Marsha.

This is one of the best things about living at the lake, reveals Marsha, and just one of the many reasons Ron and Marsha plan on staying put for the time being."We love the lake, the wildlife, our neighborhood, the views and easy access to our friends in Paducah and our family down in Nashville," says Marsha.

Indeed, lake living is good for the Goldens, and enjoying it with others makes it even better! n

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