Paul Manning always wanted to live near the water. He spends as much time on Lake Murray as his busy schedule will allow, so when a property became available in the lakeside subdivision of Cherokee Shores, Paul jumped at the chance to move.
“I had been looking all around the lake and actually thought I had a spot on a peninsula,” he recalls. However, another buyer purchased the house, which would have required major renovations to suit his taste.
The Cherokee Shores property excited him not just for the view of the lake but also the promise of what he saw inside. “It was decorated in a very traditional style with neutral colors in some rooms and what I like to call pepto pink in one of the bedrooms,” he says, “but I knew it had excellent potential.”
While the house needed a great deal of cosmetic work, the amount of structural renovation would be much less than the first property he considered. He called upon Mandy Summers-Smith, owner of M. Gallery Interiors, who had helped Paul decorate his previous home. “Mandy knows my style and understands my likes and dislikes,” he says. “That takes some of the stress off because I know the choices that she brings for me to consider will work.”
Mandy says that is the job of a good designer. “I’m supposed to make it easy and fun.”
Paul’s job as an IT consultant keeps him on the road quite a bit. “Because I lead a busy life and travel a lot, I want to come home to something not so busy,” he says. “I don’t like a lot of clutter.” Mandy helped him create a modern living space with a clean, sleek feel using varying elements of wood, metal, stone, leather, and glass throughout the house.
The first tasks on the renovation list included refreshing the color palette and replacing much of the flooring. Mandy had every surface repainted, transitioning from what she terms “builder blah” to more subtle and cool shades of gray. “The goal was to help bring the colors of the lake into the house,” she says, “and to help create that feeling of relaxation and calm.”
Paul had all the upstairs hardwood and carpet ripped out and replaced with darker tiled floors in keeping with the new color scheme.
The house offers spectacular views of the lake from the moment of walking through the front door. The chandelier in the main foyer is not only functional for lighting but also is a striking as a focal point. Created from multiple cubes of chrome and elongated bulbs, the fixture and its matching sconces along the staircase help to set the tone for the modern theme throughout the house.
Paul did not make any structural changes to the living room other than converting the hardwood floor to tile. Mandy had the coffered ceiling painted in contrasting colors of white trim and Oyster Bay by Sherwin Williams on the sunken ceiling panels. A large leather sectional sofa and comfortable armchairs offer plenty of seating while watching the television that is mounted on the stacked stone fireplace surround or when taking in the lake view.
The spacious dining area boasts a Parson’s table made of Russian reclaimed white oak from Restoration Hardware, with dining chairs covered in white linen. Guests can enjoy the lake view through the floor-to-ceiling wall of windows. Paul also repurposed a piece from his existing furniture to use as a buffet for the dining space.
The open and airy kitchen will undergo major renovations down the road. Paul enjoys cooking, and the current design of the kitchen island does not provide adequate prep space for him. Both the dining area and the kitchen have been repainted in the soft green color of Oyster Bay.
At the opposite end of the house downstairs, Paul converted one of the guest rooms into a personal workout space by adding several pieces of exercise equipment. A second guestroom, again with fabulous lake scenery, served as his bedroom while the master suite was being renovated upstairs. It is also a favorite spot for his feline companion, Miss Whiskers, who apparently had quite the adventure during the house renovations.
“One day I couldn’t find Miss Whiskers anywhere,” Paul says. “Somehow she got into the attic and then into the actual roof space when workers had removed some drywall.” Miss Whiskers was finally rescued after Paul found her behind one of the storage doors in the attic space, covered in drywall dust and insulation, but none the worse for wear.
Doors from the guest room, living room, and kitchen all lead onto the covered porch and deck. Paul also has plans to improve the outdoor living space by expanding the deck and possibly adding an outdoor kitchen.
The most significant renovations to the house happened in the upstairs area. At one end, Paul made a bedroom into a home office. He called upon the talents of local woodworker Steven Fear to create a custom arched desk made of tiger maple and burled walnut. The matching credenza offers a slide-out shelf to keep the printer tucked neatly away. Because he did not need the two closets with bi-fold doors, Paul had Steven convert the closet openings into two matching bookcases with stained casing and panel doors. To provide ample lighting for the bookcases, he installed lighting under each shelf that is voice-activated through Alexa.
Playing guitar is one of Paul’s hobbies, especially the blues. “I’ve been playing since I was 18, and I’ve played all around Columbia, including at Doc’s Gumbo Grill and Mac’s on Main, which is now The Joint.” Mandy encouraged him to incorporate objects that are a reflection of his life into the decor, so he hung a couple of guitars on the office wall. Paul, who is British, also played cricket in high school, and his cricket bat now hangs above his office door.
Paul spends most of his evenings at the top of the stairs in the “martini bar,” as he calls it. “The sunset from this view is like a painting,” he says, “and I listen to the water lapping against the shore. It’s just so peaceful.”
The room, painted Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams, boasts four comfortable black leather armchairs surrounding a hide-covered ottoman, all of which sit atop a black and white shag rug. Noting the importance of details, Paul liked the first piece Mandy recommended, a silver and glass table, but knew it would not work when the guys wanted to relax and prop their feet on the table. So Mandy found the hide ottoman. “I knew this would be the perfect piece for this room,” says Mandy, “but it was back ordered so many times that I had to use another piece in its place until the ottoman finally arrived.”
The bar itself is the focal point of the room. The door fronts are made of mahogany, and the bar features a stone backsplash with multiple, exotic wenge wood on the surfaces as well as the shelves, which hold Paul’s extensive collection of liquors, liqueurs, and mixers. Again, paying close attention to detail, he and Steven had to take bottle heights and weights into consideration when determining the distance between shelves and the secure mounting of the glass shelving. In an adjacent corner, Steven built a matching wet bar with a mirrored back and glass shelving to highlight Paul’s glassware. As in the office, a voice command to Alexa turns on lighting in the bar shelving.
Regarding the use of wenge wood, also used in the bathroom for the vanity surfaces and door fronts, Paul points out: “The use of wenge was a key part of the design. Wenge is a very dense wood with a natural color. It just has several coats of oil applied to help with water resistance.”
Paul has a great appreciation for unique art and has several pieces from local artists, including Jamie Blackburn and Mary Ann Haven. He found one of his favorite pieces at Motor Supply in downtown Columbia. “It is a piece that was always a point of conversation whenever we were there,” he says, “so when the restaurant was changing out art, I thought I’d like to have it. But then it disappeared and couldn’t be found.” Paul’s disappointment changed when his girlfriend located the piece with the artist and presented it to him as a birthday gift.
The biggest renovations came in the master suite. To create a better use of space and access to the suite from the hallway, Paul had one doorway added and another relocated. The master bath has a large triangular garden tub with metal tile surround and a see-through fireplace at one end. The large walk-in glass shower is unique in that no knobs or handles are used for the shower controls; everything is voice activated. Incorporating the various elements, Paul installed a white quartz countertop for the nearly 9-foot-long double vanity, a wall of stacked wood pieces, and steel framed mirrors that are hung using strong magnets. To avoid exterior construction, Paul placed a false window over the existing window, which still allows in plenty of natural light.
In the master bedroom, Paul had to figure the best way to use a raised area along one wall due to the tray ceiling below in the living room, so he had Steven build a custom bureau to sit on the riser. And for good measure, he had a coffee bar placed in the bureau as well. The through-and-through fireplace has a gray stone surround in the bedroom with a television recessed into the surround above. And as for other rooms in the house, the master provides for some wonderful views of the lake from the sitting area next to the bay of windows.
The room features three relaxing shades of gray from Sherwin Williams: the tray ceiling is painted with Dorian, accented with Mindful, along with Repose on the walls. For window treatments, Mandy installed motorized silhouette shades by Hunter Douglas to allow filtered light or complete privacy. As in other rooms, Paul need only give Alexa the directive to lower or raise the shades. And the door onto the upstairs balcony leads to Paul’s office directly across the way. “It’s just a 40-foot commute to work,” he says.
To relax even more, the game room located above the garage offers a pool table and a custom arcade table with gamecock trim by Arcade Classics. “It’s got all the great ones — Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Galaga, and so many others,” says Paul.
Paul had the luxury of staying in his other house during the process of painting and changing out flooring; however, he relocated to the bedroom on the first floor during the renovation of the master suite because he wanted to go ahead and get into his new home so he could be around during lengthy renovation projects. “Even with a great contractor, it’s still a painful exercise,” he says, “because schedules will change, and there will be delays.”
In preparing for the renovation, Paul says planning is key. “I spent a great deal of time trolling through magazines and different sites like Houzz and Pinterest for ideas,” he notes. “We spent a good deal of time discussing all our options and still went through several iterations before finalizing the details.”
Mandy concurs that planning is essential when taking on any size renovation. “Not everyone understands all the planning and attention to detail that is required for projects like this,” she says.
And while he is not beginning any renovations in the immediate future, Paul knows he will have more to alter with the kitchen and the deck. “It takes a great deal of thoughtful consideration,” he says, “but the end result is exactly what I want.”