Lake Sheila Renovation Makes Better Use of a Sweet Spot

Two Worlds, One Lake
The renovation of a house on Lake Sheila in Saluda will keep the character of the vintage original while better soaking in an incredible view. 

This home, built in 1968, is believed to be one of the first houses on secluded Lake Sheila in Saluda. In the decades since, it has evolved through the efforts of the previous owners, who left their own marks in the way of time-stamped improvements and additions.

The current owners, who purchased the property a year ago, knew they wanted something more open — more worthy of the view — than what the existing home offered. So they faced a conundrum: Should they build an entirely new house or renovate the old one, keeping its authentic tie to the cove, its “first on the lake” status?

“We wanted to live in the house for a period of time to get a true feel and [decide] what we wanted to do,” the homeowners state. In the end, they decided to remodel, wanting to retain the good intentions of the rambling family house.

After all, its history is inextricably connected to pretty, private Lake Sheila, a clear small oasis hugged by foothills and open only to nonmotorized boats. It was developed by W.D. Smith, a one-time pitcher for the Yankees, who named the lake after his granddaughter. 

But the place is not just for vacations anymore. “We live here full time. We are planning not only for ourselves, but also with our children and grandkids in mind,” the owners confirm.

Criteria in hand, the couple interviewed several architects, seeking someone who could share their vision for their home. They landed on architect Norman Angel, a project manager with TAB Associates, Inc., in Hendersonville.

“A lot of unexpected elements show how the home has evolved,” says Angel. “Renovations like this are always interesting … [there are] arbitrary angled walls and box beams that would confuse puzzle makers … the visual history of construction [poses] unanswerable questions as to why things came to be the way they did.” 

Architect Norm Angel with TAB Associates wants the property’s brightest characteristics to shine through. 
Portrait by Rachel Pressley

Some additions, for instance, sported mysterious rooflines. The vintage improvements were basic, “getting the job done,” as Angel puts it, but preventing interior flow. “At some point,” says Angel, “[architects] dip our toe in as detectives. That’s part of the fun and intrigue.”

He calls the site itself the property’s “biggest and brightest characteristic … the views are nothing short of a Bob Ross Painting.”  The goal is “to create a symbiotic relationship between the home’s previous lives and what’s in store for its bright future. … [The owners] wanted to turn a summer home into a year-round home with updated technology and with space more aligned to their lives.” 

The changes will be extensive. Currently around 2,650 square feet, the home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. After the renovation, the square footage will be around 4,000 square feet, with four bedrooms and four baths. The expanded master suite will maximize the view and include its own deck.

First, though, the entry is being redesigned to provide a smooth transition into the home. The dining and living rooms will open up to one another for a more modern layout — a change that will further complement the entry into the home. A new screened-in porch, offering sweeping views of the lake and the hills beyond, visually serves to make the dining room feel more spacious.

The kitchen will also gain an intimate breakfast area. Angel mentions all the “fabulous meals” sure to materialize from the owners’ homegrown produce. A prep space and pantry off the kitchen will be situated for quick access to the family garden.

An area that was likely used for storage in the past is now evolving into a new work area, as well as a study, guest room, and bathroom. And, too, “below the screened porch will be the addition of a workout room with water views that will make a rowing machine feel like a kayak,” says Angel excitedly.

To bring a sense of unity to the construction, the renovated home will utilize materials that match the vintage exterior, including vertical board and batten. Thus, says Angel, the finished house will have a subtle continuity to its prior incarnations. (Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022. TAB Associates, Inc. will also serve as the project’s interior designer, lighting designer, and landscape architect.)

In the end, the owners just didn’t see any reason to give up their already ideal footprint — that “very wide expanse of waterfront exposure.”

TAB Associates, Inc., Colorado and North Carolina, 213 South Church St., Hendersonville. For more information, call 970-766-1470 or see

0 replies on “Lake Sheila Renovation Makes Better Use of a Sweet Spot”