Lakehouse Dreams Come True | Season 3

Written by Jenny Marrs on . Posted in .

Our friends, Kathleen and Michael Coughlin, have been searching for a home on the water for almost 10 years. When they learned about this house, they snatched it up right away since flat-level property on the lake in this area barely gets on the market before being sold. This house itself is a dream come true. The Coughlins love to be outside, especially on the water, and this home reminds them of their childhood growing up at this exact lake in Northwest Arkansas. Now, they look forward to raising their twin toddlers on the same lake. 

Kathleen and Michael love the property and the location, but the house itself needed an update. They look forward to hosting friends and family and hoped for a renovation that would offer better use of space for them, their children, and their guests.

We made plans to turn this house into an updated property with custom features that would make sense with the Coughlins’ hosting lifestyle and take full advantage of their gorgeous lake view.

Front Exterior


For the exterior, Kathleen really wanted a modern dark paint scheme. I chose a dark charcoal which I really love against the black trim and front door. We moved the front door of this house to allow for a better layout on the inside and installed a circle driveway to make plenty of space for future guests.

Dave worked with our friend Frank Wallace, who is a metal craftsman and expert welder, to build a large, custom double-steel pivot door that is one of a kind and really makes a statement at the entrance. It also allows the Coughlins to see through to the back of the house (and the beautiful lake view) as soon as they walk up to their new front door. Dave also made custom copper lights for the front entrance and natural stone helped bring updated sophistication to the exterior. 



Steel Front Doors | Bentonville Ornamental Iron & Dave Marrs

Landscaping | Ground Effects Landscaping

Exterior Paint Color | Farrow & Ball Downpipe No. 26



The current kitchen was dark and felt closed off from the living areas around it. Moving the front door allowed us to remove a partial wall and we were able to create a spacious kitchen by bumping the whole kitchen over. Sticking with Kathleen’s vision for a unique look and feel, she told me to go either all-black or all-white. When we met (off-camera) and reviewed her inspiration images of kitchens she loved, I saw a clear trend toward all-black. I was excited to go for the all-black, bold kitchen and absolutely love how sophisticated and stunning the kitchen turned out. 

Custom cabinets and countertops, modern hardware, brass fixtures, a big island, and a uniform shade of black all over resulted in a gorgeous showstopper of a kitchen. The woven sconces infused a bit of casual lake vibe into this sharp, modern kitchen.



Custom Cabinetry | Premier Wood Concepts

Pendant Lights | HK Living 

Kitchen Faucet | Waterworks

Kitchen Backsplash | Lowe’s 

Knob Pulls |

Appliance Package | Metro Appliance

Rug | Turkish Trunk

Cabinet Paint Color | Farrow & Ball Off Black No. 57

Dining Room


The Coughlins enjoy entertaining friends and family, but the inside of the house seemed to hide the lake that bordered their backyard. As with other waterfront properties we’ve remodeled, we set out to create an airy and open space with an expansive view of the water.

We made the existing screened-in deck across from the kitchen part of the indoor dining area by removing the dividing wall, swapping the screens for large windows, installing wood flooring, wall insulation and drywall. I also added wood paneling on the ceiling for texture and visual interest.Now, the space is open from the kitchen and maximizes the gorgeous view of the lake. 



Lighting | Lumens 

Dining table, Chairs & Rug | Howse

Artwork | Melissa Griffith

Wall Paint Color | Benjamin Moore Simply White

Entry & Hidden Bar


One of the biggest structural changes we made to this home was moving the front door in order to create a larger kitchen. When we did so, the front door became a focal point for the entire kitchen, dining and living room space. Dave and Frank worked together to weld a one-of-a-kind steel pivot door that makes a bold statement right when you walk in. It also allows for light to flow in from the front of the home, right to the large back windows in the dining room. 

Then, as a surprise, we used space near the entry to create a hidden full bar. We took an unused space and created a beautiful serving bar complete with a beverage fridge and counter space to mix drinks. Since it’s cleverly hidden behind a panel door that functions like a wall, the full-bar feature doesn’t interrupt the home’s new streamlined design.



Custom Cabinetry | Premier Wood Concepts

Bar Shelves | Crate & Barrel

Bar Tile | Bedrosian Tile & Stone

Living Room


Like other areas here, this room needed to flow well with the rest of the house. We took out the clunky fireplace in the corner and replaced it with a gas insert centered on the wall. Dave built white oak floating benches that flank the fireplace and create two functional and stylish seating areas that efficiently use the space gained by scaling down the size of the original fireplace. The look seemed just right for Kathleen’s preference for clean, modern lines.

Larger windows and lighter colors open up the space and show off the scenery while acting as a clean complement to the black kitchen cabinets. Dave and Matt welded a new metal handrail with a white oak cap for the steps to create a modern, child-safe transition to the home’s downstairs. White oak floors throughout this space and the kitchen and dining area hold to the lake theme and connect all these together as one finished living space.



Furniture | Howse

Artwork | Melissa Griffith

Living Room Paint Color | Benjamin Moore Simply White


We were really able to modernize and enlarge this bedroom for Kathleen and Michael. Although my original plan of moving a specific wall didn’t work out, we adjusted the plan and turned the former small room next to the bedroom into a great big walk-in closet. For this main bedroom area, we stuck with natural elements and a warm, light palette. With dark, grasscloth wallpaper, we created an accent wall as a bold statement.

The new, huge closet with built-ins offers all kinds of storage and dressing room, and we reoriented the bathroom space to give the Coughlins a large vanity and shower area. I chose accessories for this bedroom and bathroom space that would look handmade and natural—always with the outdoors and that lake on my mind! The sconces and vanity lights, the tiles and textures: these details kept the outdoor theme consistent for this family whose long-term plan is to stay in this lakefront dwelling. Instead of outdated rooms, the Coughlins now have a gigantic main suite with the feel of a serene, spa-like retreat.



Main Bedroom Sconces | Kichler

Main Bedroom Ceiling Fan | Kichler

Prints | Juniper Prints

Black Grasscloth Wallpaper | LA Design Concepts

Bed and Nightstands | Howse

Closet Lighting | Kichler

Bath Sconce | CB2

Freestanding Soaking Tub | Wyndham Collection

Wall Mounted Tub Filler | Delta

Shower System | Delta

Sink Faucet | Delta

Bathroom Floor Tile |  Marazzi USA

Shower Floor Tile | Marazzi USA

Shower Walls | Bedrosians

Bathroom Mirrors | CB2

Vanity Paint Color |Farrow & Ball Shaded White No. 201

Closet Dresser Paint Color | Farrow & Ball Shaded White No. 201

The Backyard


This is where the Coughlins plan to spend a lot of their time. To create a true outdoor entertaining space, we added a modern outdoor kitchen for grilling and hosting. For maximum enjoyment of that extraordinary lake view, we changed the flow and path so it all headed toward the water.

Using more of the white oak, Dave built Adirondack chairs – one for each of Coughlins, including two child-size chairs (what is it about a child-sized chair that makes me swoon? I love them so much!). Now, each member of the family has a seat where they can enjoy the lake, the new backyard venue, and their sophisticated, updated home. 



Exterior Lights | Kichler 

Outdoor Kitchen | RTA Outdoor Living 

Landscaping | Ground Effects Landscaping

Exterior Paint Color | Farrow & Ball Downpipe No. 26

During the remodel of this house, we really tried to keep a natural look as we modernized it and added functional elements. I think we succeeded in turning this home into one that’s worthy of its magnificent property and lake view. I’m thrilled for the Coughlins to continue their life here, and make memories for their twins’ childhood reminiscent of their own and we can’t wait to come over with our own crew to enjoy the lake together! 

Spaces Not Seen On The Show: Sneak peek

We actually remodeled the entire home, including the full basement and two additional bathrooms so that the Coughlins had enough space for their whole family to move in. I wanted to give you a sneak peek into these spaces (we didn’t stage them so you’ll have to use your imagination:)). Downstairs, the Coughlins have a family room, bedrooms for the each of the kids, a guest room and two bathrooms. We also added an additional powder bath upstairs for guests. I hope you enjoy this little behind-the-scenes tour!