DON AND PAULA PACE LOVED THEIR HOME IN PORTO CIMA, BUT IT DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR THEIR GROWING FAMILY, SO THEY ADDED A NEW WING AND BLENDED THE TWO INTO ONE BIG, BEAUTIFUL HOME.
Arriving at the Pace home, the front door alone will take your breath away. It’s a Tuscan iron, energy efficient door made in Tennessee with many embellishments and semitransparent glass. This opens into the dining room in the original part of the home, and as part of the “joining process,” the entry floor was changed from wood to marble so it would flow seamlessly into the new part. A regal-looking medallion in the floor matches one in the new entryway.
In the living room, “We love the view!” Paula exclaims. “One of the nice things about this room is that there are three big windows
facing the Lake, and when we’re down there coming in from the boat we can look up and see three dog’s faces! They’re right there at the window looking for us!” she says, referring to their three favorite canine companions, Labrador Retrievers Marvin, Ruger and Rocko.
Paula and Don love the view from this room, across the channel to the woods on the other side, and all the different birds and wildlife in their cove, including Harry the Turtle and a turtle family, who hang out down by the dock. One of their favorite things about the house is that it’s surrounded by woods. Don even calls to the owls at night and they answer him!
The furniture was chosen to be family friendly, both for dogs and children. It’s waterproofed where necessary, and Paula says everything always has dogs, kids and even grownups climbing and lounging on it. She says the house is meant to be a true, old-fashioned Lake house, where people come to relax: use the library downstairs to read, play a lot of board games, swim in the Lake, dance on the dock, swim in the pool, and use the hot tub and the sauna. It’s meant to be lived in, not looked at. Their fun includes two kayaks (which they use to competitively race within the family), a paddleboard, a paddleboat (which the dogs love), and their 40-foot Formula cruiser for summertime sunset cruises.
On a trip to San Francisco, Don and Paula passed an import/export shop that was going out of business. There, they purchased the great American Eagle that perches on the Lake side of the home, as well as a beautiful glasswork shell, along with a vase from Crater Lake in southern Oregon and a plate from Zion National Park in Utah that is designed with crystals that the artist grew on the plate that are displayed on living room shelves. The Paces also acquired three outdoor wind spinners from Zion.
Don spent childhood summers coming to the Lake with his family every year to little fishing cabins. As a young man, he bought a little cabin on the 41 mile marker. “We brought the kids down here when they were little and they loved it,” Paula says. “And as the family grew, we needed a bigger house and we came over to this side.”
“My family used to come to the Lake every year when we were kids, and my sister and I have loved it ever since,” Paula continues. “When Don and I married, I learned that he also came here a lot as a kid, and we decided to have a house here, as our kids would be much more likely to vacation with us here than in St. Louis. We saw it as a magnet for our family.”
The home is on the 13 mile marker in Porto Cima, back in a deep cove where it’s nice and private. The Paces have two grown children, Paula is a partner at Bryan Cave Law Firm, and Don is a franchisee of Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Perfect, with seven franchises. They realized that with so much business being done on a global basis and on the internet, they could both just as easily work from their Lake home as from offices in St. Louis. So they looked for a home that would make their dreams come true.
Paula shares, “We especially wanted this sort of house because it has a large, open kitchen and we all like to cook together, including our children and all our relatives and friends. We walk around with kitchen towels over our shoulders as we work, drinking mimosas as we prepare meals!”
The kitchen and cabinetry are original. Almost everything on this side of the house is the same as it was, with just a few updates
to better tie in with the new side. Even the paint is original. But Don and Paula didn’t want it to look like two houses, so new light fixtures were installed to better fit with the new architecture. A big grill sits just outside the kitchen door with a griddle for cooking several pounds of bacon for company weekend breakfasts!
On the other side of the living room is the master bedroom, in which everything has stayed the same. In the bath, they added a Bain tub, a heated floor and tripled the size of the shower. The shower can be turned on remotely via the internet with a cell phone! They also reworked the vanity with new cabinets and granite. The lower level on this side includes a library. All the shelves were built to match the existing kitchenette. Books fill most of the shelves, and all their competitive indoor games fill the cupboards. Family and guests actually use this as a library, taking books home and sending them back.
Through double doors is a blue-and-yellow bedroom with the comfy feeling of an old Lake cabin. As in the rest of the home, pictures from national parks they’ve visited grace the walls. In the adjoining bath the countertops were retopped with granite, otherwise all is the same.
On the other side of the library is another large bedroom with a king-size bed and a pop-up bed. Paula likes to have sleeping room for lots of people, so she wants as many beds available as possible. Through a jack-and-jill bathroom is another bedroom with a king and a queen size bed that Paula envisions full of grandkids jumping from one to the other. Paula quilted the wall quilts.
Back upstairs, Don’s office used to be a small 5th bedroom with no dedicated bath. He spends some time there in the mornings, but not all day. He doesn’t mind it being a sort of “walkway” because he does most of his writing in his recliner. The large windows here are the dogs’ favorite spot from which to “guard” the house. The Paces own two Harleys, and one wall here is filled
with Harley-Davidson memorabilia.
The hallway leading to the newer part of the house is graced with three Bill Manion paintings. The Paces have been to Spain and love the soulful tales told by flamenco dancers with their gorgeous movements. Because the house has a bit of a Spanish look, when Don and Paula met Manion, they asked if he could paint some flamenco dancers for them. So he painted these three
ladies opposite the beautiful windows that highlight their perfection.
At the other end of the hallway, designer Anna Luecke’s creative interior designs are displayed. The large area combines a piano room and Paula’s office. Paula spends a lot of time in her office, but also likes to play the piano, so it made sense to join the two rooms. The change in the ceiling divides the space, making each side more intimate. A fascinating chandelier in the office makes Paula think of the Lake with trees and raindrops falling. At night the light causes the prisms to dazzle! Her office also includes a fireplace and a TV that pulls down to eye level. Paula says she brings her coffee in here in the morning and doesn’t leave. It takes some of the stress out of her job by looking at the Lake and trees just outside her window.
Another bedroom just off the office was designed for a special purpose. An old family friend, Rita Porter (called Mimi) was like a
mother to Don and Paula, and grandmother to their kids. They grew up with Mimi on the 41mm, and hated leaving her. She visited them often, staying in the small 5th bedroom. When they added the “new” half of the house, this bedroom was set up specifically for Mimi, with large windows for her to view the Lake, a wider shower door and a handheld. Unfortunately Mimi passed away before she could use it.
Near the piano, a magnificent curving stairway with coppercolor belly balusters leads to the lower level. A huge abstract
painting is shown to perfection at the bottom of stairs. In front of the fireplace, kick back in the L-shaped leather sectional with
three recliners built in. Light a fire, turn on the game and relax! The fireplace mantel appears to be wood, but actually is concrete, meant to keep the heat from the fireplace from damaging the TV.
Next to the fireplace are autographed photos from the St. Louis Cardinals. Hard-core fans! Again, the different areas are demarcated by changes in the ceiling treatments. This area has beams, the rest does not.
The most attention-grabbing feature in this room is the bar top, which is made of translucent granite (quartzite), and lights up from underneath. It’s something Don had coveted for a while. The rest of the granite and tile in the bar area is muted so as to not detract from the bar top. Adjacent to the bar is a wine room designed by Luecke.
Beside the sliding door leading to the deck is another small seating area with a beautiful studded leather couch and chair beneath
a colorful abstract painting. Outside, a connector was built between the two decks to allow passage back and forth without having to come inside. Otherwise the only link between the two halves is the Bill Manion hallway. Down a few steps is the pool. Using scuppers, the Paces created three waterfalls from the upper-level patio to the pool, with stone features between the waterfalls.
Many times they’ll make use of the outdoor hot tub, then go straight to the indoor sauna, which is outfitted to hold outdoor fun
equipment and towels. In the sauna you can use either iridescent heat or infrared, then go straight outside to the shower. Paula says this is the “total play side of the house.”
The outdoor shower is by far the most popular feature of the home. Made of glass block and outfitted with teak benches for shower products, towels and clothes, it’s perfect for showering before dinner, or before bed while looking up at the stars in the sky!
The outdoor kitchen is situated between the two sides of the house and adds a nice visual element without blocking any windows.
Don and Paula often make meals here, eat outside while watching the game on TV and enjoy the view of the hillside across the cove. From their one, big happy home! •