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Inspired Living: The Safilles, surrounded by nature, call Lake Upchurch home


By Erin Pesut 

From their house on Mariner’s Landing Drive, Lori and Eduardo Safille have a clear view of the water. Their house’s elevation at the top of the hill offers a sparkling vista of Lake Upchurch. Even with heavy undercurrents of humidity, the air up here feels more open. Vacation-like. Dreamy in the summer’s heat.  

“There’s always a breeze up here,” Lori says, looking out.  

Except for a boat in the distance, it’s quiet.  

“It’s very relaxing,” she adds. 

Lake-front View

 Living near a body of water invites one to step outside more often. To look up. To look out. It’s scientifically proven to reduce stress. When the Safilles were looking to build their custom-built home in the Mariner’s Point neighborhood off Camden Road, no lake lots were left, but there was one with a view. “We were lucky to get this,” Lori said.  

The view of the water was such an important factor to the couple, they also acquired the empty lot next door that otherwise, had it sold, one day would have compromised their view. They converted the extra lot into a half basketball court and a play area for neighborhood children and their own three grandchildren—four, if you count the one on the way.    

Settled & Styled 

Lori Safille is a Broker at Key Realty of the Carolinas, and Eduardo, her husband, a local physician. These two have called North Carolina home for four years. They originally met in Miami when Lori was a critical care nurse at the hospital where Eduardo worked. She began a career in real estate in 2004 while still living in Florida after her five children had grown. After Miami, but before Fayetteville, they lived for a spell in Chesapeake, Virginia.  

Walking into the home, one is greeted by the great room, the spacious room which serves as a family room, hang out room and passageway to the rest of the house. Family photographs rest

on tables beneath windows that usher in a view of the lavish backyard. 

As a stylist, Lori has an eye for how she wants her home to look. Her taste for design and staging is uniquely her own, but she draws inspiration from HGTV, House.com and décor categories on Pinterest. The old-world style with Mediterranean touches “offers,” as Lori says, “elegance without being over the top.” Shades of brown, cream and wood tones flow throughout. Touches of brushed bronze. Luxurious gold. Dark walnut engineered wood floors lead you from one room to the next.    

Atop a granite-topped bar with a cherry wood finish brought back from Miami, an aluminum-footed Chateau St. Lemoine champagne ice bucket sits grandly. A granite-based tabletop wine opener is on hand for the Safille’s favorite bottle of a Chilean Malbec or an Italian Pinot Grigio from Santa Margarita where they honeymooned years ago. Eduardo’s favorite concoction has three parts: Captain Morgan rum, Coca-Cola and ice. “He’s the bartender,” Lori says with a smile, “not me.”  

Family Heritage 

The formal dining room, lit with natural light, is off the great room and near the foyer. “If we want to be formal we dine in here,” Lori says. Gladiolas are arranged in a large vase at the center of the antique dining table. Chairs surround the table, but most notable is a settee made out of thick red and gold tapestry fabric. Situated between two spiral topiaries and hanging on the wall is a large map, a colorful rendition, of Cuba, the country from which both

 Safilles share familial heritage. Lori is Cuban-Puerto Rican and Eduardo is Cuban-Lebanese.  

Their heritage inspires their appetite as they often enjoy Cuban food. The Safilles prefer to eat clean, swapping brown rice for white and making other healthy substitutions, but one clean Cuban dish they cook regularly is fried cow, which is flank steak stir fry with garlic and onions and, like staple Cuban dishes, is served alongside rice mixed with black beans.  

Lori had a say in everything in her kitchen from their six-burner gas range complete with a customized hood to the gold chicken wire on the cabinet doors to the outlets installed in their California Closet pantry. In the pantry, behind the frosted glass door, they stash their Keurig machine, blenders and toasters which keeps their kitchen counter space clear.  

Atop her cream-colored cabinetry rubbed with a bronze glaze and an antique finish Christmasy fruits are arranged. Lori leaves them up year round, but during the holidays she adds sprays of lights for ambiance.  

A Hand + Stone soy candle flickers on the granite countertop. Often, Lori places candles around her house, in bedrooms and in hallways, adding softness, serenity, warmth and a scent of gardenias or teakwood.  

Collector’s Items 

Right off the kitchen is an eat-in lounge area, a cozy nook in which to read the newspaper and drink coffee in the morning. Since it’s just the two of them in the home these days, they often eat informally in here. This is also where Lori’s teapot collection, inspired from her travels, destinations and gifts she’s received from friends, is on display.   

 “Someone gave me a set when I went to Prague,” she begins, “and now whenever I travel, I try to find one.” Though she doesn’t have the space to display all (she stops to count…) 15 of them, only a few are packed away. Sitting on the shelves is a Disney cruise ship tea set, Disney princess sets, an Alice in Wonderland one, a handmade set from Haiti, one from Prague, Colombia, Washington D.C., London and a golden espresso set from the United Arab Emirates. “That last one was a gift from a friend of mine in Virginia,” Lori says.  

And Lori’s collection is not yet complete. “I’ve been searching for the Harry Potter one. That’s the next one on my list.”  


The Safilles enjoy going downtown Fayetteville to enjoy Fourth Friday events and to scope out new restaurants in town. Eduardo frequently enjoys playing golf and Lori especially likes going to the gym. But what they love most of all is the cinema; they love going to the movies.  

There is no doubt the Safilles are movie buffs. They’ve converted their den on their first floor into a complete media room. Scarface posters, which her husband collects, adorn the walls. An old projector, a prop, sits on a side table. In their own private theatre, brown velvet curtains block the sunlight. Their collection of DVDs—upwards of 400 titles—is housed in a custom-built cabinet. The room does not have rows of movie theatre seats but instead a more comfortable option: dark brown leather sofas that recline into full loungers.  

And if they care to relax outside, the Safilles have plenty of options of things to do, literally, in their own backyard. Next to the outdoor fireplace is a built-in BBQ, a set of dining furniture and a cobalt blue swimming pool. Deck jets spritz graceful arcs of water into the pool. A large pink flamingo float catches a breeze off the lake and spins. The pool is not equipped with steps, but rather a shallow ledge “to sun without having to get all the way in.”  

“I wanted a beach entry concept, but this was my next best option,” Lori says.  

Two balconies wrap around the back of the house, one from the first floor and the second, upstairs off the master bedroom. Each offers a grand view. Each time you look up and look out, there it is: the lake. Shimmering water. Pine trees in the distance. A wide sky open above you. It’s obvious their inspired living surrounded by nature is not only serenity sought, but serenity found.