Reconstructed venue at Keowee Vineyards enhances lake life
The view’s the thing. The all-new Lakehouse at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards — which re-opened at the end of May — affords breathtaking panoramas of the turquoise waters of Lake Keowee from three main spaces: the dining room, the wraparound porch, and the open-air pavilion.
These multifunctional spaces give The Lakehouse flexibility to serve as both a members’ gathering spot and an event venue, easily configured to accommodate social occasions of all sizes — think weddings, receptions, holiday happenings, and more. “
Any large member events, such as The Cliffs’ July Fourth party and popular member-guest functions, will now be held at The Lakehouse,” says Chris Calloway, Vice President of Operations at The Cliffs. “We want to take advantage of the incredible real estate and the fantastic views we have nestled along the shores of Lake Keowee.”
This dynamic, 7,678-square-foot structure is located on the site of the previous venue, which was destroyed by a lightning strike and subsequent fire in 2017. South Street Partners added one million dollars to the insurance company’s rebuild fund, thus ensuring the new Lakehouse would far exceed its predecessor.
Built of materials including cedar and natural stone, with painted wood siding and a metal roof, the coastal-vernacular-style venue syncs perfectly with its setting on a peninsula jutting into Lake Keowee, without detracting from the natural beauty of the lake. Cedar shutters can enclose the high ceilinged pavilion; the indoor bar does double duty courtesy of expansive windows that open onto the pavilion, thus bringing the outdoors in.
Inside, light walls reflect an abundance of natural light that streams in through the many windows. “The style is more modern than other facilities at The Cliffs,” notes Tzara Harper, who collaborated on the interior with Courtney Wier, a fellow senior interior designer with Cheatham Fletcher Scott Architects + Designers from Augusta, Georgia.
To absorb sound, Harper and Wier juxtaposed the hard surfaces, such as the polished concrete floor, with soft upholstery and fabrics in hues of blue and green, reflecting the water and woods. Artwork and other details — the large light fixture in the dining room that resembles a boat propeller, and pendant lights above the bar, which are suspended with rope — list toward a nautical theme.
We wanted to keep the design timeless, so we didn’t use anything really trendy,” Harper says. “We’ve seen recently that even in commercial spaces, people are wanting more of a residential feel, so we were able to find some beautiful upholstery fabrics with a luxurious style that met our need for durability without having to sacrifice the design.
They also used as many local resources as they could, with most of the furniture built in North Carolina, and the majority of the artwork credited to local artists. Brad Williams of Back40Life made the tabletops and the laser engraved wooden map of Lake Keowee that hangs in The Lakehouse — design details that Harper feels “really speak to the project.”
“One thing we want to do from an ownership standpoint is enhance the lake-living aspect available at The Cliffs,” Calloway points out. To that end, boaters can dock beside The Lakehouse and linger over lunch or dinner with friends in the 66-seat dining room, or just kick back on the porch and drink in the serene water views. While the old Lakehouse was open to the public, the new one is reserved in season exclusively for members at The Cliffs.
“We want members to enjoy the benefits of an exclusive experience, one that is authentic and speaks to the natural surroundings,” says Calloway, explaining the philosophy behind the re-imagined culture at The Cliffs. “We think The Lakehouse captures this perfectly.”
This story was featured in Cliffs Living magazine. To read more stories like this one and learn more about The Cliffs, subscribe here.