Cabin on Wheeler Lake defines ‘happy place’ for Overcashes
People often spend their lives looking for ‘The Happy Place’ to enjoy contentment and relaxation.
Tommy and Debbie Overcash found ‘The Happy Place’ on a beautiful point along Wheeler Lake, just 29 miles from their home in Madison. Tommy and Debbie purchased the cabin days before the Fourth of July in 2000.
“Since then, there have been many Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Columbus Day parties and football Saturdays at the Happy Place,” Debbie said. “Not to mention birthdays, reunions, Christmas and Thanksgiving family gatherings.”
Their sons — Cameron, Chandler and Mason — were still in high school when Debbie and Tommy purchased the cabin. “Many of Madison’s youth have spent quality time at the cabin as well. The boys, all now grown, enjoy returning to the cabin with their families and friends for boating, swimming, canoeing, fishing, grilling, watching football and making smores,” Debbie said.
Sixty-four years old, the cabin has been a labor of love to transform into the Overcash family retreat. The cabin’s wooded lot sits on the point of a peninsula jutting into Wheeler Lake, approximately 2.5 miles wide at the site. The view is unmatched.
The body of the cabin is painted Nantucket Grey (a pale green). Cypress on the water side is stained a darker green. The trim is cream, and the roof is a brown metal.
Covering 1,200 square feet, the cabin has many unique features of an older home. The downstairs den/dining/kitchen are all one large room with oversized windows spanning the entire front of the house for breathtaking views of the lake.
The vaulted walls are 14-inch weathered cypress. Several years ago, Tommy installed the 18-inch Mexican tile floors. Windows aside, the focal point of the den is the oversized masonry fireplace with its antique mantle and built-in shelving surround.
The ‘canvas’ for a painting of a fish head above the fireplace is an old shovel blade found on the acreage soon after the Overcashes purchased the property. Mason, an art teacher at James Clemens High School, painted the fish head as a birthday present for his Mom.
Directed by Debbie’s innate sense of style, the Overcashes carefully ‘selected’ furnishings from thrift stores in Madison and North Alabama. They reupholstered furniture in handsome earth tone colors of deep red, camel and cream.
The dining table seats eight guests comfortably for a family dinner, while the grandchildren have plenty of room at the expansive dining bar. The kitchen offers all the comforts of home except a dishwasher, which Debbie insists she doesn’t miss.
Walls of the downstairs area are filled with family memories, including fishing poles that belonged to Debbie’s maternal grandfather. Cherished photographs are found everywhere in the cabin.
Up rounded, old-brick steps, the open landing leads to three bedrooms, a bathroom and combination laundry room and half-bath. Debbie has decorated each room with loving care and an eye for comfort and flair.
Cameron’s room uses a nautical theme of red, white and blue with an old headboard that is painted bright cherry-red and mounted to the wall. For Chandler and Mason, the ‘twins’ room features nautical blue, white and yellow and has navy blue shutters doing duty as the king-sized headboard.
In Debbie and Tommy’s room, the palette is a study in tan and white. Antique shutters from an old home in Savannah, Georgia serve as the oversized headboard.
The back patio, dock and firepit provide year-round, favorite hangout places for all the Overcash generations. From the swing, strategically placed at water’s edge, you can enjoy amazing views of sunrises, sunsets and approaching storms across the water.
The cabin’s yard is heavily landscaped with shrubbery and trees, although Debbie had promised Tommy when they bought the property that the lot would always be low maintenance.
The Overcash clan truly has found The Happy Place at their cabin on the lake. Now that Tommy has retired from public office as a representative on Madison City Council, he and Debbie have the opportunity to spend more time at the cabin and on their boat aptly named “Over and Out.”