Set against Missouri’s burgeoning spring colors, the exterior of this unique Lake home exudes personality, from its Mediterranean design, stucco walls and classic columns to its Old World clay roof tiles in shades of cinnamon, saffron and caramel. Neighbors affectionately refer to the home in the upscale Villages community as the “little mermaid” or “orange sherbet” house because of its bright coral hue.
When searching for their ideal vacation home, owners Kim and Paul purchased the property for many factors other than the color of the house, although, Kim laughs, “We’ve come to love it.” The couple had a long wish list, and had looked at many homes with their patient realtor, Gary Zeiger of RE/MAX. In the end, it was the community itself, plus the home’s vast potential as a great family hangout and retreat from the city, that sold them on the house. Ultimately, Kim says, looking out over the upper-level deck at the stunning, 180-degree view of the Lake and undeveloped land across the water, “We bought the house for the view.” No wonder, as the home sits nestled in a large cove with a sweeping view of the main Lake channel, allowing for an unobstructed, panoramic vantage of the water.
From Kansas City, the couple and their two sons wanted a second home on the Lake that felt like a true getaway. “We wanted a relaxing tropical resort feel,” the homeowners explain. “Something completely different than what we live in every day.” As business owners with growing boys, they were excited to find a place on the Lake where they’d be forced to relax and meet new people.
After purchasing the home, they began adding furniture and accessories that complemented the Tommy Bahama sort of look they loved, but soon realized they had a problem in the fundamental mood of the house: “The tall ceilings that we loved and the scale of the house seemed to be a real challenge for us. No matter what we did, the house still felt empty and sterile.” While their home did not need a complete remodel, the existing contemporary style and bright white walls clashed with their vision of a tropical retreat.
Seeking professional help, they hired Linda Hulett, of Designed Interiors by Linda, to help them with their vision of decorating and remodeling parts of the house to achieve a comfortable and casual yet exquisite island paradise. And, as Paul teases, “Linda had the hardest job in the remodeling process. She had to pull together all of the thoughts and ideas my wife and I had to satisfy both of us. No small task! However, Linda was able to do it.”
Hulett began with the upper level, where she transformed the ambiance of the space with a warm color palette of burgundy, taupe and gold. Hulett says that although the tall ceilings enhanced the beauty of the home, the white walls made it feel unwelcoming. After painting, she says, “the warm colors brought the ceiling down, in a sense, making the house feel intimate and cozy.” Hulett’s team also faux painted the large columns in the main living space, added some new furniture, painted many of the upper level rooms, added custom window treatments, custom powered soft blinds, a multitude of accessories and pictures, and installed beautiful new lighting fixtures throughout.
Next, to achieve the style of upscale tropical island living, Hulett decorated to complement the classic British colonial furnishings the couple had previously purchased. She achieved a balance of whimsy and sophistication by using natural materials, such as bamboo, cherry and hickory juxtaposed against safari-accented fabrics, accessories and focal pieces.
The custom florals, however, arranged by Hulett and an associate, truly bring the lush island theme to life. “The florals were especially important to Kim,” Hulett says. “If I had a floral every two feet in the house, she would love it.” Large groupings of orchids, ferns and palms adorn the mantel, the hearth, and the fine wood and granite surfaces of the main living spaces. An arch inlaid with hand-painted tiles over the stairwell contains a grouping of golden buds surrounded by bountiful greenery, invoking a sophisticated but casual interpretation of an island paradise. The arch, particularly, is a favorite of Paul’s, as he explained how it was a trouble spot for them before hiring Linda: “My wife and I had tried several ideas in the early stage of the remodeling process but failed to accomplish the desired outcome. Linda showed us several ideas. In the end, we settled on a flower arrangement that complemented the room and did not compete with the other parts. Simple but perfect!”
Down the hall, the master bedroom features more colorful florals in shades of burgundy, scarlet and saffron, as well as a custom entertainment center designed to blend with the rest of the furniture in the room. The ebony tamarind four-poster bed and nightstands are distressed to reveal hints of gold and crimson, which seamlessly match the array of island-themed pillows, throws, pictures and accessories.
In the upper-floor office, a room Hulett describes as a bit less tropical than the rest of the house, the couple added a custom-built, cherrywood shelving unit. The sophisticated piece pairs perfectly with the room’s desk and leather chair, while the unique ceiling fan invokes sophistication. “I love the fan,” says Kim. “It’s a great piece.”
The majority of the remodel occurred in the lower level, where the homeowners remodeled the family room and added a theater room. Previously, the extremely high ceilings and boxy design in the lower-level family room made the space virtually unusable. Hulett’s architectural changes to the room, made possible by remodel contractor Dave Larsen, included accenting the ceiling level with various heights of soffits and crown molding.
The new living room encompasses the couple’s overall dream for a comfortable, island retreat home. “My favorite room is the lower-level family room,” Kim enthusiastically remarks. “It is exactly the tropical yet cozy casual feel I was looking for.” Hand-scraped solid hickory flooring is warm and elegant in the space, while also reflecting light from the large windows overlooking the Lake. The rich tones of ebony, copper and cherry appear in the fabrics, florals and especially the impressive custom, hand-painted entertainment center that houses a variety of tropical and colonial accessories.
The homeowners explain how the pre-purchased cabinet started as a standard, black entertainment center that Anderson Decorative Finishes transformed into a magnificent custom piece that perfectly completes the theme and the space. Copper palm trees and woven baskets swathed in ferns and palm fronds adorn the piece, and an end table made entirely out of playful but elegant Old World suitcases gives the room an atmosphere of embarking on a Caribbean adventure.
Finally, the ceiling fan (“one of the many focal points in the home,” Hulett says), features a unique eight-foot span of double fans and blades crafted from woven bamboo. “Linda’s vision on this was amazing,” Kim says of one of their favorite transformations from the remodel. “She really hit it out of the park with this room,” Paul adds.
Perhaps the grandest transformation occurred in the couple’s new theater room and attached custom wine cellar. Previous owners used the room as a dance hall, complete with a mirrored disco ball that now hangs outside, above the dock. One would never guess its previous function when walking into the current expertly designed plush space.
A large movie screen faces luxurious stadium seats in brown leather, arranged on stair-step levels like a traditional movie theater. High ceilings embellished with massive, custom cherry crown molding evoke a sense of grandeur. Matching cherrywood columns and wainscoting exude sophistication and warmth, while indirect lighting and unique light fixtures authenticate a movie theater quality to the space. A poker table, shuffle board and exquisite old-fashioned jukebox add a lively, playful character to the room, as do the lit movie posters on the walls and even a vintage popcorn maker on the bar. “For me, the theater room is the best part of the house,” says Paul. “It provides the hangout to watch a movie or a favorite sports event, sample wine from the wine room, play shuffle board or cards, or simply have a drink at the bar.”