By Donna Cornelius
Journal Features Writer
They found just what they were looking for at Silverock Cove on Lewis Smith Lake.
The couple, who live in Greystone Legacy with 4-year-old son Jamison, lead busy lives. Brian is a dentist with an office in Homewood and also owns two other businesses. Anna is the owner of the Blue Willow, a home décor and gift shop on Crosshaven Drive.
“We had wanted a lake house for some time,” Anna said. “I’m from Hartselle and grew up on Smith Lake. But we didn’t want a place where we had to go and work every weekend. A buddy of Brian’s told him about Silverock Cove, and it turned out to be a perfect fit for us.”
Silverock Cove is a gated community on 85 acres of wooded, lakeside property. Houses there include bedroom flats, row homes and cottages.
“The exterior is maintained by Silverock, and there’s no grass to mow,” Anna said. She especially loves the neighborhood’s boat concierge service and on-site boat storage.
“If Jamison and I are going there by ourselves, all I have to do is send a text, and they have the boat unloaded and ready to go for us,” she said.
The recreational opportunities at Smith Lake also appealed to the family, Anna said.
“My husband is an avid golfer and likes to fish, and he can do both there,” she said.
Another consideration in their selection of a second home was travel time.
“We looked at beach property versus lake property,” Anna said. “We can use our lake house more frequently because it’s only about an hour and 20 minutes door to door.”
The Barnes family is looking forward to their second summer in the house, Anna said.
“We started construction in the summer of 2011 and closed on the house in May of 2012,” she said.
Silverock offered several home plans, Anna said. They chose an expansive three-level house with six bedrooms to have plenty of room for family and friends.
“We didn’t want to have people sleeping on sofas or blow-up mattresses,” Anna said.
One of the bedrooms is currently used as a playroom for Jamison, she said.
“That’s really nice if it rains or is cold,” Anna said.
The lake house is very different from the Barneses’ Birmingham home, which is Tudor style and more traditional, she said.
“I wouldn’t call our lake house contemporary, but it’s more streamlined,” Anna said. “You might call it ‘refined rustic.’
“We used natural fabrics and chose furniture that would be durable. We have a leather sectional couch and a big kitchen table with an aluminum top that seats eight people.”
Anna said she didn’t want to use hand-me-down furniture at the lake house.
“You know, when you have a lake house, someone’s always saying, ‘Oh, I’ve got an old couch that you can have,’” she said, laughing. “I wanted a more pulled-together look. I wanted everything to be functional and useful.”
To help her achieve that, Anna turned to Kelly Seibels, who owns Seibels, a camp and cottage outfitter in Homewood, for help with furnishings.
“We got about 99 percent of our furnishings from Kelly,” she said. She also enlisted decorator Heidi Core of Heidi Core Interior Design in Birmingham.
The lake house’s main level walls are whitewashed pine paneling installed horizontally, Anna said. The paneling was one of the available upgrades that she chose for the house.
Silverock exteriors have a “cohesive look, although the houses are painted differently,” Anna said.
“It reminds me of Seaside in Florida, but here there are more earth tones,” she said. “We have a stacked-stone foundation and a tin roof, which we love when it rains.”
The family also loves the cottage’s setting, Anna said.
“Smith Lake is a very hilly lake, and we didn’t want to have to go down 50 stairs to get to the water,” she said. “Our lot is so flat it’s almost like a beach. We only have four stairs to the lake.”
Silverock Cove’s amenities were attractive, too, Anna said.
“We’re very social people and have great neighbors,” she said.
They’re looking forward to the neighborhood’s Dock on the Rock event in June with music and barbecue in Silverock’s amphitheater.
Anna said she frequently uses the lighted walking trail that winds around the lake. There are several piers and docks near their house too, she said.
The development also includes a clubhouse and two pools.
“One is an infinity pool with a great view of the lake,” Anna said. “The other sits up high on a hilltop. It has a view of the lake, too, but is more shaded. It’s more popular during the dog days of summer.
“Most private lake houses don’t have pools, so it’s nice to have access to these,” she said.
When the weather’s fine, the family frequently spends the day on the water. Their Regal 2300 boat has room for 12 people, Anna said, and their jet ski also gets plenty of use.
“It takes us about an hour by boat to get to Big Bridge, which is a Smith Lake landmark,” she said. “Jamison loves to pack what he calls a picnic lunch, or we’ll stop at a little hamburger joint near the bridge.”
One of their boating trips provided inspiration for a piece that will soon hang on the lake house walls.
“I’ve been careful about hanging pictures, because once you put a hole in that pine paneling, it’s there to stay,” Anna said.
But she’s already reserved a spot for a large painting by Lisa Opielinski, a well-known artist and Anna’s good friend.
“We were out on the boat in a cove. The trees were reflected in the water, and it was such a beautiful scene that I took a picture with my iPhone,” Anna said. “Lisa is painting it on canvas.”
Anna said she can already see a change in her family’s lifestyle since they bought their lake house.
“Brian and I both graduated from the University of Alabama, and we used to travel to lots of the away games,” she said. “Now, we’ll just think how nice it is to go to the lake house and watch the game on TV there.”
Jamison loves not only activities on the water but simple pleasures, like skipping stones across the surface of the lake, Anna said.
“We’ve learned to just let the stress go when we drive in the gates,” she said.