PULLING INTO RUSS AND PATTI PILSHAW’S SLOPING DRIVEWAY, THE FIRST IMPRESSION IS OF CONTEMPORARY ARCHES — OVER THE GARAGE DOOR AND OVER THE FRONT DOOR FRAMING THE VIEW ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO THE LAKE.
The conceptual design of the contemporary rustic stucco home’s exterior included a full arch deck on the Lake side and a half arch over the front entry. From there, arches were incorporated into the great room (which, Patti says, also provides AMAZING acoustics).
All interior doorways, the hallway opening from the entry to the powder bath, and the custom cabinet vent hood in the kitchen were all inspired by the original arch concept, the vision of Tom Roof, owner and architect, Equisite Homes by TXR – TXR Architects + Constructors.
Technology also was built into the home. They have two i-Pads, one for the main level and one for the lower, that control most automated functions in the home including the flatscreen TVs, stereo system, security system, irrigation system, computer servers and more.
The eye-catching light fixture just inside the front door is a very modern spinoff of a contemporary fixture with multiple curves symbolizing a great deal of energy and activity in the house. Beautiful yet neutral-color porcelain tile flooring throughout the top level is designed to look like light wood, and is laid in a herringbone pattern.
In the great room, it was very important for the Pilshaws to have a TV and fireplace side by side for viewing purposes. They love to
sit here in the evenings with their “grand-dog” Bailey. The wall is a mix of textures, with concrete and stone and an actual I-beam as a mantel over the fireplace. The façade of the fireplace hearth is made from sections of “drilled-out” limestone slabs, normally considered nonusable. But because Russ owns a drilling and blasting company those sections have great meaning for them, so they found a way to uniquely utilize the material in their new home.
The unusual coffee tables appear to be cut from tree trunks. When the Pilshaws bought them, there were several from which to choose, and they had to find two to fit together and also fit the space, Patti says, “like Legos”!
Something the couple considers a treasure is the dining table. It’s made from a ship’s door that Russ’s dad purchased in the 1960s
from a roadside vendor, then placed it atop two wood boxes and used it as a coffee table. Russ and Patti were gifted the table, and
transformed it into their dining table. The accompanying chairs were purchased to simulate ship’s chairs. Pink-tinted lighting
above the table and on the nearby wall is made from capiz shells to go along with the theme, and a nearby wine rack they’ve had for years also is a boat design.
On the other side of the dining table is the four seasons room. Patti says, “This is literally four walls of windows, two of which look out over our cove. In the busy season, it’s wonderful to watch boats, wave runners and skiers hang out. In the winter, the solitude
is beyond compare.”It was important for them to have a bar close to the dining room table for entertainment purposes. Because the kitchen has glass
block instead of a backsplash, Patti wanted one on the bar. Her chosen pattern boasts a nice curve to accompany the arch theme. A small peninsula at this end of the kitchen counter is desk height, and serves as Patti’s office. Her computer tops the peninsula, and nearby cupboards/drawers hold her work supplies. A wine rack is built into the end, so the desk can also be used as part of the bar when they have parties.
The kitchen is a chef ’s delight, but was a bit of a puzzle during the building process. TXR’s team, including Partner Rocky Corpe, worked with all the pieces — cabinetry, countertops, glass-block windows — to make it all come together. The area is perfect for when it’s just Russ and Patti, but also can accommodate a houseful. All the appliances are under-counter so as not to obstruct views, except the ovens, which are built into one wall. The sink is built into a large island that has five stools pulled up on one side, making it a good “hangout” space, Patti says. Countertop colors are tied into all the paint and color stains used throughout the house.
On the other side of the island is a large opening in the wall that goes through to the great room and stairway side. That opening is
home to a large model sailboat they’ve had for about 20 years. The Pilshaws have never had a real sailboat, but always thought they would end up someplace near water.
Patti says her favorite features about the kitchen are the five-burner cooktop with a large burner in the middle for large pots for spaghetti and pasta making, and the wide pathways that keep it from feeling too crowded, and to accommodate possible future wheelchair accessibility.
A nearby hallway leads to the garage, and also offers an elevator serving three floors. The elevator is made especially interesting by little windows in the side wall in which they’ve put pictures of sporting events such as Chiefs football, Royals baseball and Kansas basketball. Also off the hallway is a laundry room outfitted with a higher counter and sink for Bailey’s baths.
On the other side of the great room is a short arched hallway leading to a half bath that’s also wheelchair accessible. A guest book here is a nice touch for visitors. Russ’s office is to one side, with custom built-ins for function. This room also can be used as a guestroom.
Straight across the hall is the master suite. A wall unit across from the bed is completely built in, accessorized with glass shelves and mirrored double doors to hide the TV. The ceiling is painted a very bright yellow — The Pilshaws say that represents that the “sun is always shining at the Lake of the Ozarks.”
In the master bath is Russ’s pride and joy — the steam shower with seven heads and lots of ventilation to take care of humidity. He calls it his oasis. The bathroom countertops are limestone, and a couple of electrical pop-outs add a unique touch. Double doors in both the master bedroom and the great room open to the back deck on this level: a roomy screen porch with a spectacular view. Patti says it was important for them to have “bug-free” zones, but they wanted it to be open and airy. A fire table is mesmerizing in the evening, with surrounding seating for six. The table uses red rocks for the flames, and is encircled by glass for safety. A large gas grill is to one side.
Back indoors, stairs lead to the lower level. A bar at the bottom includes an icemaker, a dishwasher and a counter-height microwave. Through the bar is a small wine area with a dual-zone wine refrigerator for red and white wines, a refrigerator for beer and storage for snacks. Lined up on the back of the bar are shot glasses the Pilshaws have collected, mostly from cruises they’ve taken over the years.
A big part of this open room is what they call the lounge area. It has an 85-inch big-screen TV, a back row of four big comfy leather chairs that are raised two steps above the main surface, and an oversize sectional, perfect for lounging on while watching a movie, or even falling asleep on. The kids really love it here! Black-out window treatments assure darkness, giving an actual movie-theater flavor to the room.
The bedrooms on this level are all suites. Each has its own bathroom, walk-in closet and TV. The first is the Chiefs suite. It has the
largest of the walk-in closets, but that closet barely accommodates their plethora of Chiefs items: jackets, T-shirts, bedspreads, hats, flags, books and all kinds of knickknacks, trinkets and small collectibles. Pilshaw Super Bowl parties do not lack for décor!
The second suite is called the Giarla suite after the friends who convinced them that they needed to move to the Lake. Russ and Patti used to spend all their Lake time at the Giarlas’ home; then after the Pilshaws built their home, the Giarlas sold theirs and moved away.
Now the Pilshaws have a suite just for them to come back and visit. This suite has a door that leads to the lower-level deck.
In the hallway toward the last of the three suites is a built-in dog kennel with a door made of the same bars as the stair railings. It’s meant for bigger dogs, though — the rails are too far apart for Bailey. It’s a big space, much nicer than a regular kennel, with a crumb catcher connected to their central vac.
The third suite on this level is a little more contemporary. It’s called the V&R Suite, for Veronica and Rob, their daughter and her fiancé, as well as their cat, Amaretto. A door to a screen porch area means they don’t have to worry about Amaretto getting away. The closet here has accommodations for the cat, including another crumb catcher.
A full bath is part of this suite, with the only bathtub in the house. It’s also totally wheelchair accessible. Russ and Patti did ADA research to make sure the room was compliant, and would be able to add more accommodations if needed in the future. The lower-level deck is open-air with no screen. It’s easy to come here off the dock and just relax. The family loves to unwind here; gather to watch sports on TV or sit at the big red table and play cards and other games.
The landscape between the house and the dock was carefully planned. “Our number one goal was not to have a single blade of
grass that would require mowing,” Patti says. “With that in mind, our landscape features rocks, stones and ledges of all shapes and sizes. Our natural firepit is a focal point, counter-balanced with a dry flagstone creek and red bridge. Evergreens, grasses and other plants help soften the look, as do three pet turf areas for the family dog.”
Looking back toward the home, it’s awe-inspiring to see the architectural prowess that allowed the structure to start as close to
the water as possible and work up the hill to the street side. The retaining wall is 3 stories tall, all in one piece, and was a huge undertaking by TXR.
The Pilshaw dock, which was in full use a year before their home was finished, features a custom bar that seats eight. Yellow “lifeguard” chairs provide a view straight down to the main channel. Patti refers to them as the best seats in the house. “The allure of a Lake lifestyle has always been giving ourselves permission to relax and have fun, basically kick back, as a couple or with a house full of family and friends,” Patti explains, happily. “We have always wanted to live around water, and the Lake of the Ozarks
affords us this opportunity.” •