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, on the border between North and South Carolina. “We knew we wanted to live on this same lake and create similar childhood memories for our kids,” Christie says.
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,” Christie says. “The house sits high on a small peninsula, so this made it easier to achieve the lake views.”
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
|OPPOSITE| LAKE LIFE. Christie and Rob Thomas grew up on the shores of Lake Wylie, on the border of North and South Carolina. They wanted to raise their own children by the lake, where they enjoy all sorts of water sports together.|BELOW| 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.
|ABOVE| 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.|ABOVE RIGHT| 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.|OPPOSITE| 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.