Date: July 1, 2023 | Story: Rebekah Hall Scott | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
In her family’s Beaver Lake home, interior designer Casey Sarkin mixes antique and modern elements to create a year-round retreat
For interior designer Casey Sarkin, finding the right lake house for her family has been many years in the making. “We’ve been looking for a lake house for the past 10 to 15 years,” Casey says. “We were always looking for that little cabin house that we could re-do, but there aren’t that many of those. We would get involved and look, then not find anything and stop. Then we’d go back and do it again.”
Casey is the owner and lead designer of Casey Sarkin Interior Design in Fayetteville, and she says she was searching for a home that “felt like a destination.” During the summer of 2020, Casey drove past their future home on Beaver Lake in Rogers, but it had already been sold. When the home went back on the market in the spring of 2021, Casey and her husband, Steffan, drove past it again, then called their real estate agent upon seeing the sale sign in the yard.
“We walked in the front door and you could see straight out to the water. You were just looking right at the lake,” Casey says. “My husband said, ‘This is it, this is the one.’” They put in an offer the same day and began renovating the next month to make the house their own. “We really touched almost every surface while trying to leave the integrity of the house,” Casey says.
For the interiors, the designer aimed to create a warm, comfortable environment filled with natural touches and found objects contributing to a vintage cabin feeling. “I wanted it to be very understated, but still nice; and different from my main house, which is all bright white,” she says. “I wanted this house to be warmer, with natural lighting, and to just feel homey. A place that feels as good in the winter as it does in the summer.”
To furnish the house, Casey didn’t have to look far. About 80 percent of the home’s furniture and décor came from the collection she’s grown over the years. Steffan collects vintage signage, so several of his pieces found new homes in the space, too. “For this house, I really didn’t want anything new,” Casey says. “If it was new, I wanted it to appear as if it wasn’t.”
After enjoying many summers on the lake with friends at their houses, Casey’s two sons are now young adults, and the family has their own home to fill with new memories. “We love it,” she says. “We go there all the time. Every other weekend, we spend three days there. We’ve always wanted to have this, and it’s a really great place to get away.”
Quarter-sawn white oak cabinets bring warm, natural depth to the kitchen, and “Black Mist” granite countertops provide a contrast to the shimmering zellige tile backsplash. Wicker and ceramic pieces create a relaxed, layered look, while mismatched metal barstools add a punch of patina. Black “S” chairs sit on top of an antique kilim rug in the home’s open dining area, and a vintage plant stand holds dried hydrangeas from Casey’s garden in Fayetteville.
While remodeling, a major change took place in the living room, which originally held a cramped spiral staircase leading down to the basement to the right of the fireplace and a wall of walk-in closets to the left. After taking out the closets and spiral staircase—and adding new, modern stairs on the left side of the room—Casey says the space flows much more smoothly. “That afforded us a more symmetrical living room, and the ability to add more glass to the exterior wall,” she says. Armchairs upholstered in a cabernet-colored velvet face the fireplace, which has a nickel-gap white-oak surround. Sofas with linen slipcovers keep the room fresh, and a sisal rug layered with a blonde cowhide grounds the space. Walls are painted “Natural Choice” by Sherwin-Williams.
Underneath a collection of seascape paintings, Casey layered a curved metal lamp and small vintage tray on top of an antique shipping basket from France, two of which flank the fireplace. “They have leather straps that close them, and people would use them to travel on ships,” Casey says of the unique wicker pieces. “Throughout the whole house, I tried to use natural elements. That’s a recurring theme.”
For the peaceful primary bedroom, Casey wanted a mostly monochromatic palette to highlight the lush views in the adjoining sunroom. “This room is supposed to be all about the green outside,” she says. “I have coffee there pretty much every morning that we stay here.” A Turkish bedspread in dark brown and cream pairs naturally with a deep wine-colored velvet pillow and upholstered bed. Casey sourced the corded light fixtures, which suit the understated nautical theme of the house, from an artist on Etsy.
Onyx flooring sets an outdoorsy tone in the primary bath, where tile is cut in two different sizes for variation inside the shower and out. On the walls, zellige tile calls to mind the kitchen backsplash, and Brizo fixtures in an antique brass finish play off the color of the onyx underfoot. “Normally I do a lot of cool neutrals, but in here, we just wanted things to be warmer,” Casey says.
On the deck that extends off of the kitchen and living room, curved wicker chairs surround a large dining table set for an easy gathering. The outdoor living space also has a lounge area (opposite) complete with an armless sofa, two wicker chairs, and a small coffee table, creating a comfortable corner for conversation overlooking peaceful views of Beaver Lake.
Downstairs, a lower deck (below) offers even more space for dining and relaxing year-round. Casey continued the natural elements used in the interiors to the outdoor spaces by using wicker and rattan furniture, sisal rugs, and an antique campaign table, whose metal legs fold up for easy transport.
Cool and Cozy
In the downstairs game and gathering area, a sectional couch offers a welcome respite from hot days on the lake. Casey painted the space a brownish gray and layered Moroccan blankets on the sectional to create a cozy atmosphere. Above the couch, a metro gate from a Belgian subway station is flanked by vintage rudders; both are a nod to Steffan, a long-distance swimmer with a passion for maritime activities and an enthusiastic collector of vintage signage. Walls are painted “Urbane Bronze” by Sherwin-Williams.
Contractor DUCO Contractors Interior design Casey Sarkin, Casey Sarkin Interior Design Accessories, art, bedding, fabrics, fixtures (kitchen), furniture, lighting, rugs, and tile (bathroom and kitchen) Casey Sarkin Home and Casey Sarkin Interior Design Audiovisual Complete Audio Visual Cabinets Justus Cabinets Countertops Verona Marble Company and Gunn Granite Company Fireplace and millwork Osage Custom Trim Fixtures (Bath) Ferguson Plumbing Supply Flooring Tom January Floors Hardware Hearth & Home Mirrors Bentonville Glass Paint Sherwin-Williams Tile (backsplash and floor) Flooring America Tile (installation) Todd Cielo Upholstery Contreras Custom Upholstery Windows Fayetteville Glass Co.