An outdated lake house becomes a platform for better living.
Story by Andrea Darr | Photos by Matt Kocourek
Water can be very alluring. The sun shining on it, the sound of waves lapping and the fish swimming under the surface ready to be caught can entice even the most practical couple away from their original plan of finding a more comfortably sized place to retire.
That’s what happened to the owners of this 5,000-square-foot Lakewood home.
“When the owner walked into the great room, he looked at the lake and said, ‘This is the house we are going to buy.’ He hadn’t even seen the rest of the house,” recalls Melody Davidson, owner of Interiors by Melody, the couple’s interior designer, whom they hired to redesign some of the home’s spaces.
The square footage was there — across three floors, in fact — yet the use of its space on the main floor didn’t make a lot of sense in today’s world.
For instance, the main floor hosted the master suite, which was ideal for a couple in their 70s, yet the closets had bifold doors that didn’t allow access to three feet of space on both sides. “That space was totally useless,” Davison remarks.
The master bath was decent but awkward because the shower and toilet were in a small, separated room together.
The kitchen was sizable, but it had a peninsula with hanging cabinets between two rooms, leaving a passthrough but blocking all connection. Of course, what was on the other side but a hearth room with a fireplace that no one used, so what was the point?
“The owners came to me because they wanted to create spaces that were user-friendly and open and take advantage of their location overlooking the water,” Davidson says.
She reworked the floor plan from the great room wall back to the master bath, reorganizing space to make the flow and functionality better.
“We didn’t add on anything; we just repurposed all the space,” Davidson explains.
Most of it came from the unused hearth room. “They didn’t use it, didn’t need it, and we needed the space,” Davidson notes.
The bedroom wall moved four feet into the former hearth room and gained a window in the process. Davidson deftly turned a tricky situation with the offset window into a bonus design feature — a safe concealed behind the bedroom’s wainscoting.
She also vastly improved the space arrangement and storage in the adjoining bath, as well as extended the longevity of the owner’s usage of the space with Universal Design, for which she is certified. The shower is zero entry, so no matter the user’s ability, she can shuffle or roll right in.
The new walk-in closet (thanks again to that nixed hearth room) received a total redo and custom attention from California Closets.
Back when the house was built in 1978, it wasn’t unusual to close off the kitchen with a 32-inch pocket door. “It felt so claustrophobic and insufficient,” Davidson says. Now expanded to a 9-foot opening, there is room for a rounded end at the island for bar seating overlooking the water. “This new kitchen is totally open and easy for living and accessibility.”
The peninsula and upper cabinets were removed and replaced with a central island featuring an induction cooktop for improved flow and safety, and a new lighting plan brightened the space significantly.
Over and over throughout the project, Davidson kept functionality and low maintenance top of mind, but she also cosmetically refreshed the spaces.
The giant great room and its fantastic view were the best features of the house as it was, and Davidson took cues from that space, carrying the wood tones through in certain places for a two-tone effect. Mexican tile floors were ripped out and replaced with hardwoods. Warm greige wall colors allow the lake views to shine through.
“With this palette, they are able to use whatever accent color they want,” Davidson says.
The connection to the lake was strengthened with an enlarged picture window above the kitchen sink, so no matter whether the owners are cooking, eating or entertaining, they have a direct line of sight to the water.
“It’s a beautiful setting,” Davidson says.
With an expansive deck and gazebo on the back of the house and a path to the lake, it’s now a house that is equally impressive on the inside as it is on the outside.
Interior Designer: Interiors by Melody
Appliances: Factory Direct Appliance
Master Closet: California Closets
Realtor: Cindy Curd, Realty Executives of KC