A modern, barn-inspired getaway on the Bogue Chitto River in Franklinton
At a Glance
Lindsay Woolf, Woolf Architecture & Interiors
Betsey Hazard, House of Hazard Interiors
Raised cross shape with A-frame entrances and river views, board and batten siding, exposed white oak beams, knotty pine floors, large Caesarstone island, hidden vent hood, tile that mimics natural materials.
In the age of nonstop cell phones and computer screens, Lacey and Richard “Dino” Watler wanted to build a getaway where they and their two children (Dean, 10, and Autumn, 9) could decompress and enjoy the outdoors. They considered a variety of ideas, including a rustic camp, a place at the beach and a river house. In 2020, Lacey found a 6½-acre pie-shaped piece of land that backs up to a wide expanse of the Bogue Chitto River in Franklinton, and with the help of architect Lindsay Woolf of Woolf Architecture & Interiors, CP Enterprises and interior designer Betsey Hazard of House of Hazard Interiors, their dream of a North Shore escape became a picture-perfect reality.
The property was ideal for the family, who enjoy outdoor activities such as ATVs and boating (Dino owns a marine service company, Lacey owns a fitness studio). The Watlers had a few clear concepts for the design of the house. The starting point was an image of a “black barn house” with board and batten siding and an A-frame roofline that Lacey found on Pinterest. The house would have to be elevated for flood protection and the couple wanted a woodsy aesthetic that would blend in with the surrounding trees. Lacey also wanted a T-shaped layout so that the bedrooms and main living space overlook the river.
The timbered property naturally shaped the design of the house.
“The last thing I wanted was a 30A teal house in the middle of the woods,” says Dino, who credits Lacey with “a lot of the vision” and notes that the house’s proximity to the river meant including things like floors that would stand up to kids in wet bathing suits.
Woolf built on the clients’ wishes by combing through hundreds of images online, then pulling them together to shape her drawings and to assemble mood boards that presented a cohesive picture of an architectural plan in which “every room speaks the same language.”
“It’s not every day that a client asks me to design a modern black home on six acres overlooking the Bogue Chitto River,” says Woolf.
The final design is a raised, cross-shaped river house, with a metal roof, A-frame entrances, sliding glass doors, and a deep charcoal exterior accented with natural wood. The interior, which includes four bedrooms and three baths, is lighter and brighter with white walls. But the contemporary barn inspiration is expressed with a lofty vaulted ceiling, exposed white oak beams, knotty wood floors, and shiplap planks. Darkened sliding windows blend with the color and verticality of the exterior. The solid pane sliding windows and the cable-rail at the porch both allow for unimpeded views.
Woolf kept the design both modern and timeless with clean, sleek features such as a waterfall edge Caesarstone island and a range alcove that hides the vent hood. Hazard helped select finishes and furnishings and was likewise conscious of both the setting and the clients’ preference for a classic-yet-modern spin. She sourced tiles that look like river rock for the bathroom floors and striated marble that mimics wood grain for the walls of the master shower. She also brought together a mix of furnishings, including the custom dining table, with simple lines and a neutral palette drawn from the materials used in the architecture.
The family entertains often at the house, which they’ve dubbed “The Bougie Barn.” Since the house is 16 feet above ground, there is ample space underneath for games, a fire pit, barbecuing and other leisure activities.
“We wanted something easy,” says Lacey. “The river is so relaxing.”