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Design Ideas
Welcoming Fall at the Lake House
A South Carolina couple returned to their roots to raise a family of their own. See how they incorporate fall decor into their lovely lake house.
It’s easy to keep looking out to new horizons when it comes to house hunting, but if you’re like the Thomases, you realize the best place to be is where you came from. Christie and Rob Thomas grew up on Lake Wylie, so that’s where they found their lake house. “We knew we wanted to... Keep Scrolling
Wretten by Rebekah Wahlberg
Photography by Dustin Peck
Styling by Christie Thomas


Its easy to keep looking out to new horizons when it comes to house hunting, but if you’re like the Thomases, you realize the best place to be is where you came from. Christie and Rob Thomas grew up on Lake Wylie, so that’s where they found their lake house. “We knew we wanted to live on this same lake and create similar childhood memories for our kids,” Christie says.

Stonework facade and deep red double front doors, flanked by black wooden rocking chairs and scattered pumpkins for a fall welcome.
Welcome Air. The Thomases recently remodeled their front entrance. The larger porch, stonework and double doors open up the space to invite both visitors and fresh air in.

So in 2000, they bought a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina, right near the lake they’d loved as children. Built in 1997, with four bedrooms and three and a half baths, it has everything they’ve needed to raise their three kids, now teenagers.

“The builder wanted the lake to be seen from all the rooms in the house, so it was built with that in mind”

“The builder wanted the lake to be seen from all the rooms in the house, so it was built with that in mind,” Christie says. “The house sits high on a small peninsula, so this made it easier to achieve the lake views.”

Family First

“There is a very distinct smell to the lake and once it’s in your blood, it’s hard to depart from it,” Christie says about the decision to move back to Lake Wylie from Charleston, South Carolina, to raise their children. “We wanted it to be a place of nostalgia for us and a place to make good memories with them.”

Screened in porch at a South Carolina lake house, decorated and ready for sitting and dining.
Porch Life. The screened-in porch is the perfect place to watch boats going by on the lake. The Thomases sometimes blow up air mattresses to sleep on the porch, camping in comfort.

Many of those memories are made in the kitchen. The very first piece of furniture
Christie and Rob bought for the lake house was the kitchen table, a pine farm table. Over the past 18 years, the Thomases have imbued it with history, seen in the fork indentations and paint splatters that cover the table. “Sitting together at the dinner table is a priority,” Christie says. “Our best conversations and probably the most laughter have been in the kitchen.”

“Sitting together at the dinner table is a priority,” Christie says. “Our best conversations and probably the most laughter have been in the kitchen.”

Designed for Gathering

The home may look small on the outside—only one story can be seen from the front entrance—but a finished basement added bedrooms, a bathroom and a laundry room that offer the family plenty of space.

Lake house dining room with pine farm table and hanging lantern pendants overhead surrounded by a wall of windows.
Family Treasure. The first piece of furniture the Thomases bought for their lake house was the pine farm table in the kitchen. With years of family use, the table is covered in fork indentations and paint splatters, signs for Christie that the home is well-loved.

Other improvements over the years have included redoing the fireplace in Colonial style, as well as renovating the front entrance. The Thomases wanted a larger porch and the ability to open the doors and let fresh air in; the screened windows on the doors open up to allow air flow even when the doors are closed.

Kitchen view of a granite countertop covered with wooden butcher block display and copper accents alongside a plate of bright orange persimmons.
Warm It Up. Christie says fall is her favorite season: “You’re so ready for a change; you’re ready for cooler weather.” Warm tones like copper mugs and red and orange accents help usher in the season of change.

“We are not a ‘take your shoes off at the door’ family,” Christie says. “We ‘live’ in the house, and most days it’s really messy, full of our kids and their friends.”

Storage elements like the old baskets Christie collects serve a double purpose: to “corral the mess,” as she puts it, and to add character to the home.

Antique butcher block in the kitchen surrounded by vintage baskets and kitchen tools and a chalkboard converted from an old window screen.
Style with a Story. In a home filled with family memories, old meets new in the kitchen: The butcher block is an antique passed down from Christie’s mother, and the chalkboard, converted from an old Charleston window screen, is a proud place for her kids to display some creativity.

Lake House with a Modern Touch

The house may be full of the Thomas kids and their friends, but there’s still plenty of space for style. “I love early American baskets, pewter and furniture, which I think, because of the lines, can look quite modern,” Christie says. She describes her style as modern Colonial, taking elements from early American traditions and giving them a contemporary touch.

We change our wardrobes for the changing seasons; similarly, I like to change my house.

“It’s a simplified, fresh look of using antiques and tying them in with pieces that are modern,” she says. “I might take a really old Colonial chair or Windsor chair and add a great piece of art that makes it look fresh and modern.”

Aerial shot of a stack of layered pumpkins and fall themed china plates set on a wooden grain table.
Fall Flourishes. Pumpkins are quintessential accents for any autumn vignette. With the variety of sizes, shapes and colors available, pumpkins can be found to suit any decorating situation.

Fall at the Lake House

Christie’s Windsor chairs scattered throughout the home often serve as stands to display other décor or seasonal accents like pumpkins. The home has a neutral palette so Christie can change out décor with the changing seasons. For fall lake house decor, she keeps to browns, greens and golds, with natural accents like pumpkins and leaves, flowers and twigs she picks from outside.

Breakfast nook surrounded by windows and a lake view with high back wooden chairs and light yellow walls and window coverings.
One with Nature. Surrounded by windows, the breakfast nook provides pristine views of the lake and forest. Since the room juts out a bit, “it feels like you’re sitting in a treehouse sitting right out over the water,” Christie says.

Christie enjoys using pillows: For fall, she brings out her set of Everyday Occasions by Jenny Steffens Hobick. Velvety textures, warm colors, and patterns using natural icons like acorns bring the feel of fall indoors. “We change our wardrobes for the changing seasons; similarly, I like to change my house,” Christie says.

Want more simply beautiful ideas? Check out this post on 10 Beautiful Thanksgiving Dinnerware Finds.

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