Vacation at Home

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More than a weekend escape, this fully renovated home at Lake Lotawana checks all the boxes for the ideal second home.

Story by Ann Butenas    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

A re you the kind of person who enjoys creating lasting memories with family and friends while spending a relaxing and fun-filled weekend at a fabulous lake home? Then this spectacular home on   the water should definitely inspire you.

One metro area family recently decided to take that leap and purchased a second home at Lake Lotawana, Missouri, the largest private lake in the Kansas City area with 27 miles of shoreline. With a life-long love of the water as their primary motivating factor to get a home on a local lake, Robin and Steve Cline, along with their two daughters, have created their own slice of paradise to which they can retreat and enjoy time with loved ones whenever they want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

“I grew up going to my aunt and uncle’s lake house in Southern Michigan during the summers,” recalled Robin, whose primary residence is in the Brookside neighborhood. “Steve and I both love boating, kayaking, paddle boarding and just being out on the water in general. This was the ideal opportunity for us.”

FIRST LOOK: setting things in motion

The couple began this quest before the pandemic settled in, and when they purchased the home, they did have a few challenges ahead of them in terms of function and aesthetics. This was a major undertaking for the couple, but one well worth the efforts involved.

“We purchased the home with the idea of staying there for weeks at a time,” said Robin. “We get to spend several weeks at a time here during the summer months and have already enjoyed two Christmases there. The lake is just as beautiful in the winter months as in the summertime, and the change of seasons is incredible to experience.”

Built in 1936, the home was supposedly one of the first 15 cottages on the lake before the City of Lake Lotawana was incorporated. Because of its age, the home required significant renovations before the family could comfortably move in. The Clines saw its potential and knew with a bit of TLC, the home could be the lake home of their dreams. 

“We dove headfirst yet ambitiously into a renovation with Mark Frashier Construction, a local contractor with decades of experience working in the area that lasted about 18 months,” emphasized Robin. “This was definitely one of the biggest undertakings of our marriage, but we knew it would be worth it to have our happy place on the water.”

At approximately 2965 square feet and with four bedrooms and four bathrooms, the home offers plenty of space for this family and their guests. An engineer by trade, Steve actually drew up some plans for the home before they even made an offer on it. They then met with architect Mike Schumacher of RDM Architecture to share their vision.

“Robin and Steve were very organized and prepared,” noted Mike. “They had drafted their own initial sketches and knew their vision for the home. My job was to put the pieces together for them. We wanted to get back to the original bones of the house and clean it up, finding that balance between the new elements and the existing house. Together we made sure to fully utilize the spaces and make it as efficient as possible while keeping to the existing parameters.”

THE VIEW: from inside

Robin and Steve loved the original locally sourced limestone exterior and the cottage-like feeling of the place. They just needed to reconfigure the overall layout on each of the three floors to get the rooms they desired.

“We wanted an open floor plan and a bigger kitchen,” said Robin. “We removed a bedroom on the main floor to expand the kitchen and add a walk-in pantry. We also wanted to make the basement usable, but it had several issues to overcome including low ceiling heights and uneven floors.”

When initiating the complete renovation, the home was gutted clear down to the stone. Then, all of the drywall was removed. By completely renovating the home, which also required removing a 20” thick stone wall that spanned two floors and blocked any good lake views from the living areas, the Clines could work from a fresh palette to begin creating the lake house they envisioned. 

“We essentially shored up the house,” explained Robin, indicating they also underpinned the strong wall and addressed structural settlement before adding insulation and drywall. 

From top to bottom, intention was carefully executed to create comfortable and beautiful areas throughout each level. Now, when you walk into the home, you enjoy a picturesque view of the lake and the open interior spaces that were missing when they purchased the home. 

THE VIEW: from the road

Although the home has a one-car garage, it was rebuilt with increased height to eventually allow for a lift to be installed to accommodate a second car.

“We decided not to expand to a two-car garage as we didn’t want to just see a garage on the streetside,” noted Robin. “We wanted to appreciate the details we added to the facade of the home including a spacious front porch and courtyard.”

There were challenges all around, but all parties involved found a way to create even greater beauty and utility when overcoming them.

For example, the existing garage was to remain intact with an updated roof. But during the design phase – and in talking with the contractor – they realized it wouldn’t work as planned. As such, the idea for a detached garage came into play.

“We just had to figure out how to make it work with the change in elevation, so we collaborated with input from the contractor and from Robin and Steve in putting all these pieces together,” expressed Mike.

The end result? The solution made it better.

“The courtyard turned out in such a way that wouldn’t have been as impactful as the original version,” emphasized Mike.

THE VIEW: on things to come

While the major renovations inside the home are complete, the Clines have more projects on the horizon, with each new enhancement solidifying the family’s appreciation for the home.

“I just love how new and clean this home feels,” smiled Robin. “It is so different from our Brookside house. When I am here, I truly feel as if I am away on vacation.”

When it came to the interior design of the home, Robin jumped in on full throttle, as 95% of its inspiration came from her, and she employed her savvy shopping skills, scouring estate sales to find unique, one-of-a-kind furnishings. 

Although all of the doors, windows and light fixtures are new, rolling up their sleeves and digging in to make this house their ideal lake home was never an issue for the couple. Steve even took to the task to build the deck on the lake side of the house, laying the decking, installing the railings and underdeck drainage.

“We just love the house,” smiled Robin. “It has been a project of passion and determination and one we will enjoy for decades.”

This just goes to show that time spent creating a wonderful retreat for your family is worth every second….home.


  • Architect: RDM Architecture
  • Contractor: Mark Frashier Construction
  • Tile Work: Dan Strack Installations
  • Flooring: Express Hardwood Floors
  • Interior Design: Homeowner
  • Cabinetry (Kitchen/Master Bathroom): Calton Cabinet
  • Living Room Painting: Lisa Lala
  • Appliances: Lowes
  • Custom Stair Railings: Russ Bradley
  • Lighting: Wayfair
  • Painting: Adam’s Painting LLC
  • Windows / Sliding Doors: Anderson Windows & Sliding Glass doors
  • Courtyard Hardscape: Hotmer Excavation
  • Courtyard Landscape: Galvan’s Lawn & Landscaping / Homeowner
  • Masonry: Absolute Masonry and Stonemojo
  • Kitchen Countertops: Legendary Stone

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