The living room is home to a sisal rug from Blackstone. “We like the floors so much, we didn’t want to cover them up,” designer Sarah Charhon says. The log table is from Mary Cates and Co., the custom coffee table is from Parkhouse Antiques, the window coverings and scrim are from The Wind Song Collection, and the stools are from House (formerly Armoires & More).

On the (Fort Worth) Waterfront

Life is but a dream at Kay and Greg Potter’s lakeside retreat.

The project started as a “little redo.” 

When Kay and Greg Potter—along with Greg’s parents—originally found the six-acre Fort Worth compound in 1996, it was love at first sight. At the time, there were three different buildings on the land, so there was plenty of room for everyone. “We wanted a place for the whole family to gather, and we saw this place. It was so quaint and charming. It looked like something out of Southern California,” Kay says. “You drive in, and you feel like you’re somewhere else. You turn off a road and meander down to the waterfront.” Throughout the years, they made small changes here and there—even adding an upper garage for the boat and a cabana, but Kay says they never were able to bring the property to its full potential. Nonetheless, the lake became the destination for three generations of Potters to celebrate everything from the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving to Mother’s and Father’s Days. 

“When we saw this house, it was love at first sight. We just knew all the potential it had.”

Kay Potter

But as time passed and Kay’s three children grew older, the family was making the trek to Fort Worth far less frequently. They briefly considered selling but quickly changed their minds. “We had so many great memories there, and I really wanted to keep it for the next generation,” Kay says. 

So they opted to spruce the place up a little—at least that’s how it began. Kay wanted a bigger kitchen and more room for overnight guests. To accomplish their modest goals, they brought in architect David Stocker. His excitement about the project made the Potters’ dream a bit grander. “It was just a little redo that got away from us,” Kay says with a laugh. “We gutted it. We knew we wanted a bigger kitchen. Suddenly, that became a bunkhouse. We decided we wanted to sleep 24 without doing weird things. We added a casita. But it was important to us that we didn’t lose the meandering nature of the place. We didn’t want to change the footprint because then it would change the compound. David understood that.”

Recruiting the interior-design element was easy: Sarah Charhon was already on the team. Sarah and Kay have known one another for 12 years—in fact, Sarah had previously worked on the Potters’ primary residence here in Dallas, and she’s currently redoing Greg’s office. So even though Sarah says this project classified as her “first Texas lake house” she immediately understood the Potters’ needs and wants for the property. 

“For all the work we did, it remains a Texas lake house.”

Sarah Charhon

Sarah says the project wasn’t hugely challenging—although the time element was frustrating. “Distance did play a factor, but it was so much fun. If you totally remodel or build a new structure, it’s so much easier. We were interested in keeping the integrity of the house, but we weren’t adding to someone else’s space,” she says.

Between construction and the reconfiguration of indoor and outdoor living areas, the project took just under two years to complete. “A ton of wall spaces changed. Things were enlarged and integrated. It really was such a team effort,” Kay says. 

While the Potters could never have dreamed that their little undertaking would become so large in scope, they couldn’t be happier about the results. “It’s got a place for everyone. We have two outdoor fireplaces, a pool, the Jacuzzi, a grill, an outdoor television. It’s just the most comfortable and inviting house,” Kay says. Sarah agrees: “It’s as comfortable and fun for Kay’s mother and Greg’s parents as it is for the kids.”

Sarah can’t say enough nice things about the Potter family—or the project. “They’re such great people, and this property is an honest interpretation of the family and the area,” she says. “For all the work we did, it remains a Texas lake house.”