Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Ready to Shine
When the SML Charity Home Tour came calling Don and Jennifer Youngren were more than happy to answer
Having your home showcased on the Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour might be an intimidating prospect for some people. After all, more than 2,000 strangers likely will traipse through your living spaces during a two-day period.
But for Don and Jennifer Youngren, owners of a new 7,000-square-foot home in Park Place, the decision was an absolute no-brainer.
“We have five good friends whose homes have been on the Charity Home Tour, and every one of them thought it was a very gratifying experience,” Don Youngren said.
The Tour, which will take place Oct. 1-2, benefits charities that serve SML and its surrounding communities. Last year, each of the eight selected organizations received $15,000.
“That’s funding that lets us help people we’d otherwise have to turn away,” said Jim Cameron, director of Lake Christian Ministries, which is a participating charity again this year.
Youngren said, “That kind of money is a good return on the effort it takes to get ready.”
The Youngrens met in 1967 while cruising a drive-in located near the state line of Virginia and Tennessee. Don was living in Bristol, Va., Jennifer in nearby Bristol, Tenn. They married in 1969 and moved several times before settling for 18 years in Winston-Salem, N.C., where Don was a founding partner at Image Works Display and Marketing.
A few years ago, the couple spotted a house they loved at Lake Norman near Charlotte, N.C., but decided SML was where they wanted to build and spend their retirement years. The Youngrens found a similar plan on the Internet and had an architect modify it to suit their needs.
The Youngrens’ brick and stone French country-style home features octagonal towers instead of the original rounded ones, interior balconies and a spiral stairway that leads to a lake-level patio. All the changes were facilitated by builder Dale Angle, who Don Youngren praised for his do-it-right attitude. The home took three years to complete.
At the entryway, guests are greeted by custom arched mahogany doors with wavy glass panels that allow an out-of-focus preview of the spectacular lake view that awaits inside. The view is expansive, stretching all the way from the island near Park Place to Smith Mountain. Every room, save one powder room, has a lake view; upstairs bedrooms have French doors opening to balconies from which guests can savor the lake through towering great room windows.
“We like high ceilings and this open floor plan with the great room, eating area, kitchen and den all flowing together,” said Jennifer Youngren.
Gleaming oak flooring that mixes 4-, 5- and 6-inch-wide boards ties the rooms together and leads to the main-floor master suite. Cabinetry by Roanoke’s Classic Design Cabinets provides functional yet attractive storage areas in the kitchen, great room flanking the fireplace, master bedroom closets, and built-ins on the lower level.
The Youngrens said they’re happy to be living close to Charlotte, where their daughter, Erin, lives. The couple’s other daughter, Whitney, owns a lighting fixture store near Charleston, S.C., and helped her parents select lamps, fans and light fixtures for their lake home. She also accompanied her mother on shopping trips to SML’s Interiors by Kris, where owner Kris Willard assisted with window treatments, tile selection and decorating.
The home features three guest bedrooms upstairs, one of which is decorated to suit their two granddaughters, Whitney’s children. The room also can serve as a kids’ dormitory, with twin beds plus two bed-size window seats, two chairs that convert to beds, a large play area and two playhouse nooks.
The lower level features a family room with one of the home’s four fireplaces, a pool table, a granite-topped bar with built-in refrigerator — an area for fun and relaxation. A large workshop with its own exit awaits the woodworking hobby that Don plans to pursue during retirement. There also is an office, an exercise room, a bathroom and what Don calls a “wet hall” — a tiled hallway that opens to the path leading to the yard and dock.
No-fuss native plants fill the beds near the lake. A luxurious natural sand beach, a relative rarity at SML, is kept free of dirt run-off by an attractive retaining wall.
When asked what they like best about their house, Don Youngren said the couple agreed: “It’s all about the views, about taking advantage of the gorgeous views.”
See it for Yourself
The Youngren home and seven others will be featured on the Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour Oct. 1-2. The event, now in its 20th year, benefits several local charities. All homes are accessible by car and by boat. The Youngrens’ home is just below the S-curve, near marker R15. Tickets, $25 per person in advance and $30 on Tour day, are available at smlcharityhometour.com and at each Tour home.