Pulling out all the stops on this rustic, quail hunting lodge that doubles as a family retreat
By Lauren Frye
Photos by G. Frank Hart
Prestage Farm’s hunting camp in Sampson County, NC is a study in contrasts. The 5,600-acre quail preserve, complete with picturesque 100-acre lake, tall pine trees and stately hunting lodge, can easily be classified as grand. But when you notice the way the red cedar shake exterior of the lodge melds seamlessly into the landscape, and how warm and homey the décor of the lodge feels, you also wouldn’t be wrong to call it cozy.
The Prestage camp offers the best of both worlds: you have the epic scope of the property without giving up on any of the comfort. They were able to strike the balance they were after in their gorgeous rural getaway.
Bill Prestage, a long-time quail hunter, developed the camp primarily to allow guests to stay overnight for extended hunting trips on the property. The state of the art, five-stand skeet shooting station located close to the lodge shows visitors that there is more to add to their quail hunting experience. Of course, being able to host friends and family was also a goal, as was offering the property to employees, school, church and community groups for meetings and retreats. Prestage, owner and CEO of Prestage Farms, is a philanthropist by nature, and sharing his private retreat is just second nature.
The sprawling, single story lodge sits on the edge of a quiet, 100-acre lake, making it arguably one of the most placid and private spots in Eastern North Carolina.
The lodge is roughly Y-shaped, with the main living areas situated in the center and four bedrooms divided equally between the two side wings. The living and dining area is close to 1,750 square feet and very open, which allows Prestage to easily bring family and friends together to celebrate and enjoy the space. “I love to be able to get the whole family, with all the grandkids and everything, together to enjoy this serene place,” says Prestage. “That’s what it’s all about.”
The lodge’s interior space totals 5,000 square feet, with an additional 3,000 in covered and screened porches, which feature Texas sandstone floors and wrap all the way around the building. The porches play a key element in the design and use of the space. The natural environment of the camp is an important element in the whole experience, and the large, comfortable porches allow guests to take advantage of the views and become one with the natural beauty.
The lodge was designed to have a view of the lake from every bedroom, allowing the Prestages and their guests to take further advantage of the epic setting. “I love just sitting on the porch, listening to the quail sing,” says Prestage. “There’s nothing more relaxing.”
The most eye catching and impressive feature of the lodge is the indoor/outdoor fireplace. The mere size of the structure makes it the obvious focal point of the room: with a 12-foot wide hearth and vertical reach of 22 feet at the highest point, it commands attention, but not in an aggressive way. The rustic stone façade of the fireplace gives it a gentle, vintage feel that lends a relaxed vibe to the space.
The fireplace stone choice was just one of the many decisions Prestage had to make while designing the lodge. Prestage wanted the lodge to have a fairly traditional style that would appeal to a man here for a hunting trip.
Prestage,has a fondness for soft leather sofas, and knew that furniture would be a great way to incorporate the saddle leather into the main area, but also had an additional challenge: the sofas had to be large enough to sleep comfortably on, for the occasions when Prestage’s guests outnumbered the bedrooms.
“When making furniture selections, I knew they had to be comfortable, I knew they had to be large, and I knew they had to fit in with the traditional hunting lodge theme we were working with.” When he found the right match, he had two custom sofas and twenty dining chairs made to fit his specifications.
Prestage also liked a particular shade of green—a shade somewhere between bottle and forest—so this was used to personalize the space. “The green chenille chairs in the living room add softness while also bringing in a fun pop of color,” he says. “And they work well with the soft brown sofas and dark, heavy chandeliers.”
Good design is not only about aesthetics; it’s also about matching the design of a home with the lifestyle of the homeowners. If a piece of furniture or the design of a room is beautiful but not functional, then it hasn’t succeeded.
When Prestage began thinking about the furniture design for the lodge, he knew the dining room needed to be able to accommodate large parties, so he revisited the original design and added two large tables that seat 10 each. In the living room, he wanted guests to feel comfortable, so he had a large custom coffee table made using walnut with slate inserts, a choice that is practical but beautiful. “The walnut is very rich in color, and the slate protects the table and allows guests to not have to worry about hurting the furniture.”