This spectacular home is more than just about the waterfront. It represents the vision for how the owners desire to live.
Story by Ann Butenas | Photography by Matthew Anderson
If all the world truly is a stage, then this particular home has taken the spotlight in spades. Located in the exclusive Weatherby Lake community, this nearly 4,200 square foot residential masterpiece stands on a platform built over several years of inspiration, imagination, and innovation.
Owners Ryan and Meg Sutton have lived on this particular lot for 11 years, but as their family grew, they realized it was time to either find a new home somewhere else or figure out a way to stay where they were and maximize the location. Wanting to embrace the latter, that put the Sutton’s thinking wheels in motion, and over the course of several years, they arrived at their new home without ever having to change their address.
The Suttons’ previous home on this lot was a simple 1,100 square feet. Their love of the lake and interest in entertaining family and friends was the catalyst for them to stay on the lot but to re-invent their living structure.
“We lived on this property in a much smaller home and loved the lot. So, we tore down the other house and spent 18 months building this home,” indicated Ryan, whose grandmother lives next door and whose parents live nearby in the community. “I moved here when I was five years old. I also have some aunts and uncles who live here.”
A deep and strategic thinker at heart, Ryan spent countless hours designing a floorplan that would fit their evolving lifestyle and work with them for many years to come.
“We designed the entire layout and footprint to maximize the way we wanted to live here,” emphasized Ryan.
While Meg certainly had a say in the elements of the home, she gave Ryan significant credit for the overall design of the final product.
“Ryan had a vision for the house and took into account how we live,” explained Meg. “He’d draw ideas in the middle of the night. To be honest, until we built this new house, I didn’t even know how good of a view we had of the lake from this lot.”
Devoted fans of architecture, the Suttons were inspired by their love of contemporary art. The home’s striking features are more reminiscent of works of art instead of just working parts of a house.
“My grandfather’s best friend was the late Gunnar Birkerts, a Latvian American architect known for his design of the famed Castle of Light in Latvia and locally for the Kemper Museum of Art,” recalled Ryan. “He designed two of my grandparents’ homes, and it was his work that inspired us, with the open spaces, unexpected angles and ample natural light.”
The Suttons refer to their house as “The Lighthouse” for a couple of reasons: the natural light that peeks into the house from the abundance of well-placed windows and, because it sits contiguous to the lake, it appears to take on the form of a welcoming beacon of light as it is approached from the water behind the house.
“It has a certain lighthouse effect from the angled 180-degree window structure,” noted Ryan.
With four bedrooms and three full bathrooms and one half bathroom, there is plenty of living space for this family of four, which includes son Taumr and daughter Burke.
“We designed the house over a span of five or six years,” explained Ryan. “We knew what we wanted and know this would be our forever home. Everything was done on purpose, even from the moment you walk into the house and see that incredible view of the lake from the entryway. The entire design was deliberate and took into account the lighting and the lake effects.”
Andrew Homoly, owner of Homoly Signature Homes, eagerly partnered with the Suttons to bring their dream home to life.
“We like a good engineering challenge, and this home was definitely a challenge in that regard,” he smiled. “It was a highly-complex project in terms of the cantilevers, the step downs and all the angles in the home. Ryan had the entire design completed conceptually and both he and Meg were fantastic clients with which to work and were open to our ideas in terms of construction techniques. It was definitely a fun project. Even the lot was challenging in terms of the way it flows from the street to the lake with the home in the middle. The house sits lower than the street, but it offers you a pleasant surprise when you walk in and see the view.”
Andrew appreciates the overall open feel to the home, coupled with the sunken areas.
“This home is like a piece of art, and I definitely like the Picasso lighthouse concept to it,” he noted.
While many architectural details vie for one’s attention, it is the main staircase that ignites many conversations. Made of LVL ceiling beams, Andrew turned them sideways to allow them to become steps.
“These are thick steps with a gap between each tread that is less than four inches, so you can see easily between them with no risers, giving the stairs a floating effect,” he explained.
With its crisp, clean lines and open spaces, the home remains vulnerable to scrutiny when it comes to keeping the spaces clean, especially when company arrives. For the Suttons, however, this particular obstacle was clearly taken into consideration when they built the home. By all appearances, the house is always clean. However, there is a bit of a secret to their success in that regard.
“As I noted earlier, we took time to carefully design this house to align with how we live, and hosting a great party with friends is something we love to do,” stated Ryan. “As a result, we have a living kitchen and a working kitchen. We can prepare for a party in the working kitchen that is behind the living kitchen, and then come out and enjoy time with our guests in the living kitchen, keeping the mess hidden. In this house, we never have to live in our mess.”
The master suite enjoys similar standards. The bedroom is of a simple design with limited details and elements, helping it to maintain a clean and sleek appearance. Behind it, however, is a long suite with a large bathroom, followed by a closet, vanity and laundry area.
“That is where the mess is, which allows us to live in our view,” smiled Ryan.
Interestingly, the home still has room for growth. There is a lower, unfinished level that has been laid out as an intermediary room with some furniture, sitting underneath the cantilever of the master bedroom. A guest room and bath are also located on that level. A temporary wall is currently in place and can be knocked down later to make room for another kitchen, a media room and an office.
For the Suttons, their home has a deeper meaning that goes beyond the basic architecture.
“When we built this house, we focused on what would make us happy forever,” noted Ryan. “This is truly a labor of love and we are so proud of it. We are also grateful to our architect, Greg Porter, who was such an important part of the overall execution of this design.”
Added Meg, “We use it all and we live in every bit of it. Even when we come home on a Tuesday after a long day at work, it feels like we are on vacation because of all the amazing views we have.”
- Architect/Home Designer: A3G Architects + Owner (Ryan & Meg Sutton)
- Builder/Contractor: Homoly Construction
- Interior Designer: Owner (Ryan & Meg Sutton)
- Landscaping / Hardscaping / Sprinkler System: Embassy Landscaping
- Appliances: Ferguson/Miele
- Audio / Video / Home Security / Home Theater: Absolute Audio
- Cabinets: Bootlace Design + Build
- Countertops: New Surface
- Electrician: Hasenohr Electrical Services Inc.
- Garage Doors: Renner Supply
- Glass & Mirrors: W Carter & Associates Glazing