The Bluffs of Weiss Lake


Our Feature Project is the Hyatt Residence located in The Bluffs Development on Weiss Lake, Alabama.  This is a Southern Living Showcase Home designed by Lew Oliver, an internationally acclaimed Atlanta-based home and community planner with a penchant for energy conservation and environmental planning.

Lew designed every aspect of this classic “American Farm House” to take advantage of natural elements to conserve energy and provide for owner comforts:

Dining & Family Room


The One-room-deep layout which enables cross ventilation (the ultimate in passive design) is one energy-conservation design element of the house.

Wormy maple lumber used for accent walls in the main living quarters was reclaimed from a historic, 100+ year-old pepper curing barn.



Accent Wall between Kitchen and Scullery

Reclaimed bricks cover wall between island and scullery.  Owner’s Mother and Aunt played on these bricks when they were young children.






Contemporary Scullery

The contemporary scullery (working part of the kitchen where food preparation is done) features stainless countertops set above white cabinetry.

Energy efficient Thermador freezer and refrigerator were selected with convection microwave/oven.  The surrounding windows give a feeling of working outside.




considered a seperate segment on main living quarters serving a distinct "outdoor living" function.

Exterior Porch and Portico

The house is positioned such that almost all windows and doors have summer shade. The house is divided into segments to allow minimal heating and cooling to unoccupied parts of the house.

The porches and overhangs were designed to minimize summer sun on windows and doors to maximize solar energy.

The walls in the main living quarters and bunk house are 11-inches thick allowing for the latest insulation techniques to prevent heat and cold transfer into the building envelope.



Hyatt Residence at Weiss Lake, AL

Dog-Trot between Main House and Bunk house

The Dogtrot (a breezeway) captures the almost continuous airflow up the mountain from Weiss Lake.

The Hyatt’s used reclaimed early 1900’s brick for the dogtrot and porch floors.  This is just one of many environmental conscience materials chosen for the house.





Hyatt House in The Bluffs of Weiss lake

Bunk House and Stone Fireplace

The guest bedrooms and two bunk rooms (with four bunk beds in each) along with a recreation room are located across the dogtrot in the house section called the Bunk House.

The stone used for fireplace and exterior walls was harvested from The Bluffs and chiseled on site.

Porous river rock drives and parking areas minimize water runoff.

Use of James Hardie’s Artisan (extra thick concrete) product for exterior walls minimizes future maintenance.



Guest Cottage Entrance

Guest Cottage Entrance

A Separate cottage (called The Bluffs Conference Cottage) features a large community conference room for executive meetings, civic gatherings, and other functions that bring guests to The Bluffs.

The cottage also has an office for the business of The Bluffs and a guest bedroom for lot owners.

The lower floor of the Conference Cottage is a workout center for the residents of The Bluffs.



Guest Cottage Kitchenette

The Guest Cottage kitchenette area also functions as an office for the development






False Door on Lake Side of House

The False barn door on front of the house was reclaimed from a Roswell, GA building which was occupied by Sherman during the Civil War for use as hospital for Union soldiers.






Metal Roof over Guest Cottage Entrance


The metal roofing material used on the entrance accent roof in The Bluffs Conference Cottage is reclaimed from the first apartment building built in the Southeast





Heating and cooling the house with a ground-source heat exchange system (sometimes referred to as a geothermal system) is another energy-wise and environmentally responsible decision the Hyatt’s made while building their home.  The hot water is also heated with by-product heat from the geothermal system.

Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) are electrically powered systems that tap the  stored energy of the greatest solar collector in existence: the earth. These  systems use the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide heating,  cooling, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings.