From Our House to Yours: Lakeside Oasis


By Catherine Royka

There isn’t a more idyllic spot or view than one on the lake, and the Dolinka family is lucky to call this lakeside location one of their homes. Perfectly situated in Gallatin on Old Hickory Lake, this waterfront property is nothing short of amazing. The 4,800 square-foot classic Americana style home was carefully designed and constructed for big family gatherings and celebrations.

Originally from southern California, the Dolinka family, who have one child in college and another who just graduated, wanted to find a second property that would be a great vacation home by the lake.

“We wanted to build a second home and wanted it by the lake,” says Michelle Dolinka. “My sister said, ‘If you want a lake home, Tennessee has beautiful lakes.’ On a weekend trip to Nashville, we fell in love with the area and the people, and after that, I kept researching lake home properties in Tennessee near a country club that would have golfing for my husband.”

Fairvue Plantation in Gallatin kept popping up on her searches and she knew she needed to learn more about the neighborhood. Staying close to the city, having a lakeside home and being near a community that offered a country club and golf course were some of the top requirements on their list.

The Fairvue Plantation neighborhood they live in also boasts the community vibe they have in their other home and has numerous amenities to enjoy. In the neighborhood, the Dolinka family can enjoy numerous amenities including dining in the clubhouse, twenty-four hour fitness facility, guest cottages, eighteen-hole golf course and pool.

The couple found their plot of land at Fairvue Plantation during a visit, but residing on the opposite coast, they needed a team to help them bring their vision together. Michelle and her husband, Benjamin, turned to Shaun Dougherty of SDI Interiors, Shane Holt of Botsko Builders Inc. and Michael Oakley of Oakley Landscapes Company.

A Place to Host

One important aspect the Dolinka’s wanted in their home was to make it a home that could accommodate many guests comfortably for regular gatherings. Off the kitchen, they designed a banquet style dining area to fit numerous guests with a true family style sit down meal overlooking the lake.

“We created an uncomplicated environment, a space that allowed its guests to come in and kick off their shoes. Complete relaxation from their busy life in California,” says Shaun Dougherty of SDI Interiors.

When asked about her favorite room, it was hard for Michelle to pick a favorite, but with a desire to bring guests to the home and host she says, “We spend most of our time in the gathering areas like the kitchen and family room.”

The backyard is another central spot that was designed for hosting, footsteps from the lake, complete with a fire pit and adirondak chairs to sit back and relax with friends. Their landscaper Michael Oakley from Oakley Landscapes Company constructed their fire pit out back by the lake. “We had this vision for this fire pit and I swear Michael is an artist the way he pieced everything together,” says Michelle.

Personality and Taste

Shaun helped to bring out the family’s personality through various elements around the home. “We created a natural and organic element throughout the home with pops of turquoise, burnt umber and tangerine colors. We wanted to bring out the feel of the fun lake house living,” says Shaun.

“Thank goodness for Pinterest,” exclaims Michelle as she describes how she worked with Shaun on a lot of the looks, styles and elements she wanted to include around the house. Shaun helped to piece elements together throughout the home with this tool. “Shaun knew my personality,” says Michelle.

“I didn’t have to work too hard to bring out Michelle’s style. She knew exactly what she wanted and it was up to me to create that story,” says Shaun. “Michelle has an amazing eye for design, which allowed me to really enjoy shopping with her. We did a lot of ‘Pinteresting’ because their primary residence is in California, we had to communicate this way. Visiting a handful of times, it was very important that the meetings were productive and the design was spot on for their desires.”

“I wanted every room in the house to be different,” says Michelle. “They all kind of compliment each other with style, colors and the vacation home and lake house kind of feel. I wanted the home to be a place where people would be comfortable and come together.”

What started off as a vacation home, will soon transition into their primary residence, with their California home being their second residence. This beautiful retreat is a place the Dolinka’s can call home and a place that draws guests and in and makes them feel at home too.

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