When word got out that Nancy and Howard Borum were planning a major reconstruction on the footprint of their existing home in Union Hall two years ago, volunteers on the home selection committee of Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour took notice. Now, the home is one of eight that will be open to visitors during this year’s tour scheduled for Oct. 11 through 13.
“We loved our former lake house (built in 1982) for the past 20 years,” Nancy said. “So many memories! Our three children grew up here, learned to ski here; we had our daughter's entire volleyball team of 20 here on several weekends.”
However, the family of five grew to a family of eight that included the Borum kids and their spouses. After four grandchildren were added to the mix, the family of 12 found themselves in cramped quarters.
“We looked at buying other lake houses,” Nancy recalled. “We considered an addition, but since the bedroom wings had 7-foot ceilings, paper thin walls and only two bathrooms, we wanted to change those aspects.”
After weighing their options, the couple eventually decided to tear down the entire structure and start from scratch. “We love the lot and the view down the Blackwater toward the mountain, so the location was definitely worth keeping,” Howard added.
They boated around the lake looking for general contractor signs to see who was building houses nearby and connected with Cabell Gardner, owner of Gardner Construction Company, who signed on to build the couple’s new contemporary farmhouse home.
When it was time to decide what to build, Nancy had an advantage — she owns ID Collaborative, a North Carolina-based commercial interior design firm that works on large-scale projects, such as hotels, hospitals and country clubs (she’s an affiliate member of the American Institute of Architecture, too).
She also enlisted some extra help with the project. “I worked closely with a friend, an architect that I often joint-venture with—Wayne Smith of Smith Architecture in Greensboro,” she added.
The former house was torn down in November 2017, and new construction work started two months later. Although the move-in date was last September, work on the decks and landscaping/hardscaping continued until this past May.
The home’s main level layout is similar to the old one with a kitchen and a dining and living area in the center, flanked by two master bedroom suites that face the lake. The open living area with grayish-white walls sports a beautiful cathedral ceiling. While the furniture is mainly gray, there are splashes of deep blue, resulting in a stylish look.
At the front of the home, with views of a sweeping driveway and magnificent old zelkova tree, are a baby room/office and an additional guest bedroom with full bath nearby.
The lower level has two additional bedrooms — one for grandchildren and one for their parents — with a shared bathroom featuring a shower large enough for washing all the kids and Charlie, the family's pet labradoodle. There's also a kitchenette, a den area for relaxing and a powder room, the closest bathroom to the lake.
“We always loved eating outside, so in the new house we've improved our deck area to have it covered and to have a separate dining porch,” Nancy said.
Under the soaring central cathedral roof is a sushi table with benches that pull out — “perfect for grandchildren,” Nancy said.
The adjacent dining deck, also covered, is highlighted by a hefty concrete table. The new deck is surfaced with easy-care Azek decking to eliminate the need for painting or sealing.
Terraces, rock walls and stone steps were added to the home’s lake elevation that includes hardscaping to complement the posts and beams supporting the decks and the towering roof lines.
Between the shoreline and the home is an art studio, complete with a front porch and swing.
“Someone called it a 'she shed,’ but it is where I can do my artwork,” Nancy said. She works mostly in a cold wax medium, which mixes oil-based paint and wax to produce a layered effect, a contemporary art technique that she learned at an art school in North Carolina.