Written by Susan Creel, Contributing Writer | Photography by Jim Rodgers
This fabulous home on the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks was built specifically with three things in mind: Debbie and Bruce Boyer’s love of entertaining friends and family all summer long; a warm, comfortable place to snuggle up with close friends to enjoy those nippy winter evenings; and a happy home for their eventual retirement.
Bruce’s father inherited the property, and his children and grandchildren continued to come to the Lake Resort Cabin year after year and have a ball. Finally, after 50 years, it was time to say good-bye. But Bruce and Debbie’s own son and daughter protested. The family concluded that they could not walk away, so they bought the property from Bruce’s dad in 2006 and completely remodeled the little home.
Time passed, the kids graduated from college, and Bruce and Debbie began to think about where they might like to retire. With Bruce’s business in Lawrence, Kansas, he found himself spending fewer and fewer days in the office and working more from his computer and phone at the Lake. Although they had very seriously considered Florida for retirement, the couple concluded that they love entertaining their family and friends at the Lake all summer, and they love the peace and solitude that the Lake offers in the winter.
But if the Lake Resort Cabin was going to fulfill their retirement dreams, another facelift was required. And now: WOW! Lake Cabin — not so much. Lake Resort — yes indeed!
Tom Roof, architect at Exquisite Homes by TXR, created for the Boyers not only the perfect place to entertain, but also to peacefully retreat. According to Debbie, Tom really listened to their ideas. They especially wanted the kitchen to flow right into the great room with beautiful wood ceilings, floors and stone. Within 24 hours of the couple’s first meeting with Tom, the dream was on its way to fruition.
As Bruce points out, here at the Lake the front of the home faces the water. Resting on an acre of lawn, trees and gardens, the stone and cedar-shake home blends with and enhances the landscape. The home is built into the side of a hill, with just one story street side. From the water, two stories rise from stacked stone pillars. Decks and porches are topped with huge arched cedar beams. Debbie reminisces that the skilled craftsmen of C & L Framing created those beams on the spot from Missouri cedar as she watched in awe.
When guests arrive by boat, either of two dock ramps lead to stepping stones that wend their way across the grass up to stone steps. These gently rise beside a 6-foot-high semicircular stack of rocks that retains a large, half-moon-shaped fire pit. While the fire crackles, visitors and family can roast marshmallows and tell stories, or relax in the 12-person copper hot tub just above.
The party continues on the stone patio and right on into the house as guests step through a wall of seven windows that fold completely open to reveal the vast entertainment room beyond.
The stone tile floor welcomes wet feet, both human and canine. A granite-top rectangular bar with eight bar chairs surrounds Guinness and Smithwick’s taps on the back stone wall. Every convenience — including refrigerated drawers and an icemaker — is beneath the bar, and a flat-screen TV is above. Just beside the stone façade a floor-to-ceiling nook is covered in cork for the dartboard.
Spectacular is the only word to describe the adjacent wine “cellar.” Rather than hiding behind closed doors, at least 350 bottles of wine can be displayed in a glass-enclosed, dramatically lit room of their own.
A large game table and comfortable leather furniture surrounding the large flat-screen TV suggest more amusing options.
Debbie’s office down a short hallway from the bar shows off the same beautiful stone wall and an equally impressive view of the Lake. A huge interior storage and utility room features just what every Lake dog requires: a walk-up dog bath for Bailey, the Chocolate Lab.
Leading up from the bar area, a few steps feature railings crafted by Manny’s from wrought iron and wood. They lead to a rust-color pool table that’s ready for action. Debbie suggested that the carpenters use a leftover piece of the cedar roof beam to create a shelf bar for pool players, and they were happy to deliver. Above the shelf is a map of the Lake hand-painted on a piece of corrugated metal. The half bath near the bar features a waterfall faucet rectangular glass sink.
Two guest bedrooms on this level, both with lovely Lake views, share a jack-and-jill bathroom.
You can almost hear the breeze whispering through the metal fir branches of the wall sculpture above the staircase leading to the home’s main level. A huge painting of a Lake sunset adds to the ambiance. Both are from John Elliott Interiors.
Visitors arriving by land can’t help but be impressed by the sweep of the U-shaped driveway leading past first the upper story of the double-decker garage, then around and down past a hillside wall of stacked rock to the lower story of the garage. As with the Lakeside exterior, the impression from “the back” is that of a home blending perfectly into its setting with light-colored stone and dark cedar shake. A stone walkway between stone pillars overhung by a fir ceiling and heavy cedar beams gives a Colorado cabin feel to this entry.
The door, imported from Arizona’s Scottsdale Art Factory, is surrounded by amber-color windows, affording privacy yet the warmest of light. Inside, a teak root ball from John Elliott Interiors is fashioned into an entry table.
Just as Debbie and Bruce wanted, the living space on the main level is completely open. Windows cover the Lakeside walls, and wood ceilings soar to the roof peaks.
The side wall of the great room is stone and houses the huge fireplace and TV. The arched beams of the exterior are repeated in the beams above the windows that open to the spacious deck.
The only separation between the great room and the kitchen is a long, bar-height table that enables family and friends to simultaneously take in the view, and watch the fire and TV.
To avoid blemishing the beautiful wood ceilings, all overhead lights are suspended on wires running the length of the great room. A huge metal rectangle is suspended above the kitchen area and hung with lamps and adjustable bulbs.
Here, as throughout most of the home, cabinets by Jake’s Creative Woodworks are made from Quarter Sawn Sapele (aka Sapelli) Wood. The heartwood from this native of Africa’s Ivory Coast appears light to medium reddish to purplish brown. Its fine grain is interlocked and sometimes wavy, and because the tree grows up to 150 feet tall and 6 feet wide, it is a perfect material for building and cabinetry. Debbie chose to highlight the contrast in wood tones in the cabinetry with light-colored 8½-foot-high doors surrounded by darker wood frames throughout the home. The dark and light theme is continued in the hickory floors from Kenny’s Tile.
Dramatic dark granite tops the kitchen counters. Square tiles create the backsplash for the Wolfe cooktop and stove from Jacobsen Appliance. The Sub-Zero refrigerator is clad in wood to match the cabinets. Small rectangular tiles complement the granite throughout the rest of the food preparation area.
A long, rectangular dining room table sits beside more Lake windows. A bar and wine cooler and a pantry are on the interior wall. Just beyond, there is a second cozy sitting area complete with its own stone fireplace and bookshelves holding mementos and photos of the first cabin. This space opens to a huge screen porch complete with infrared heaters to ward off the evening chill.
Hickory cabinets from the home’s first remodel are reused in each of the en suite bathrooms of the two guest bedrooms on this level. In one bedroom, Grandma’s make-up table is covered with a lace dresser scarf. The other bedroom is essentially a second master suite with a walk-in closet and doors opening to the deck.
On the opposite side of this level, Bruce’s grandfather’s desk is the focal point of his office. A topographical map of the country designating air space, as well as a wooden propeller, testify to Bruce’s skill as a private pilot.
The opposite side of the great room’s stone wall forms one wall of Bruce and Debbie’s master bedroom retreat. Imagine here a cozy fire, a favorite movie on TV, and snow gently falling outside the wall of windows that open to the private deck. Slate tiles with a mountain scene of Colorado hang above the bed. Barn doors close the walk-in closet and provide privacy for the commode. And, of course, Bailey’s dog bed is in the corner.
Large stone tiles form the bathroom floor and continue right into the enormous shower room. Here, seven shower jets — as well as a two-person jetted tub — offer the ultimate cleanse. Natural light from high, clear windows floods the space above a wall of frosted glass bricks. Debbie enjoys a granite-top make up area along with his-and-hers square sinks.