Spacious home combines traditional, modern and lake flavors for eclectic blend
Morning sunlight streams in from banks of windows facing east. Afternoon sun filters in through expansive windows on the lake side of the home, facing west.
All of that light was part of the plan when brothers Derek and Dan Lee began planning this home near Pikes Point on West Okoboji.
As a spec home, the project was the largest project the duo had tackled since starting their business in 2014.
“Doing a spec on the lake was something we’d wanted to do for three years,” Derek said.
They just needed to be patient for the right opportunity to come their way. That happened in July of 2019, when the owners of a property with a small three-bedroom teardown on 77 feet of lakeshore approached them about a collaboration.
“It was an investment opportunity,” Derek said.
The current owners would hold the property, while Lee Custom Homes would build the house. With this unique partnership, neither party held the entire investment for the year-long construction process. It was a win-win.
Designing a home without an owner presented a unique situation.
“It was a lot easier to design,” Derek said. “We worked with realtors on what buyers like to see.”
Included in those suggestions were a main floor master suite, outdoor space for entertaining and dual living spaces. Taking the feedback they received, the brothers set about creating a 5,000 square-foot family home that would appeal to potential buyers.
The completed home centers on an open concept floor plan that takes advantage of a great location on the lake with views in every direction.
“We tried to do as big as we could with windows,” Derek explained. “Every window has a unique and neat view.”
In the great room that desire resulted in an eight-foot expanse of glass including a set of sliding patio doors in the middle. The windows are clean and crisp, with black metal frames, deep window sills, drywall returns and a simple window stool.
When entering the home, it’s the lake through the expanse of glass that first grabs your attention.
Inside, an open staircase provides the focal point of the great room, balanced by the fireplace on the opposite wall. The staircase, designed by Dan, combines black quartz and walnut, with a sleek metal railing.
“It’s a statement piece,” Dan said. “I had this idea sketched before we even dug the foundation.”
Though he had the basic idea, execution changed a bit as the design came to fruition. Rather than poured concrete as Dan first envisioned, the steps are made of mitered quartz. While they look like solid blocks, the steps are actually built with quartz slabs using mitered joints, which were then filled with epoxy and polished.
The final result is stunning.
At the base of the stairs is a wet bar that creates a transition between spaces in the home – great room and kitchen on the one side, master suite and hallway to the garage on the other.
The kitchen lends itself to family meals as well as entertaining big groups. Cabinets are white, with white quartz counters and white subway tile that wraps the entire kitchen from backsplash to ceiling. The expansive six-foot island is a beautiful contrast, done in a walnut base with the same quartz counter. There is seating on three sides of the island.
A pass-through pantry makes it easy to get groceries from the family entry into the kitchen. Credit for the two-sided pantry goes to family friends whom Derek and Dan showed their house plans to. Looking at the drawings of the home, their friends loved the design, but suggested the kitchen was too far from the garage entrance for carrying in groceries.
The idea of a large pantry with doors on both sides was introduced. Problem solved.
Kitchen windows maximize eastern sunshine. They are tall, from top of the cabinets extending down to the countertops. Gourmet appliances make the kitchen a chef’s dream.
The first master suite is on the main floor, with large windows to the lake. The bath includes a dual sink vanity, shower and water closet. There is a walk-in closet and, keeping guests in mind, a stacked washer-dryer unit tucked inside a smaller closet.
The upper level includes the second master suite, three additional bedrooms, a bonus room above the garage and a laundry room. The bedrooms are spacious, each with a walk-in closet.
While there are many unifying elements in the home, there are delightful and unique finishing touches throughout.
“We like doing little details in every room, yet have certain elements that stay consistent,” Derek said.
The upstairs laundry is a perfect example of surprising details. Hidden behind a sliding barn door, you find a patterned tile floor and rich blue cabinets.
“We wanted to do something different,” Derek said, “and blue is always safe when you’re at the lake.”
The laundry room is not only stylish, but super practical. It includes storage, an oversized sink, folding counters and hanging space. The counters, done in walnut wood, are a unifying element to the finishes in the rest of the home.
The interior is primarily a blend of three finishes — white, dark walnut and natural light white oak. The exterior features four finishes — shakes, lap siding, board siding and bamboo. Combined, the materials create the modern eclectic look the Lees were looking for.
Bamboo has many virtues as an outdoor building material.
“It is extremely hard and durable,” Derek explained. “It can be oiled and keep the color, or it will gray out as is over time.”
For this home, the bamboo is oiled to maintain the rich brown hue.
On the lake side of the home there are three distinct outdoor spaces, separated by different patio materials, including porcelain and cement. The existing boat house on the property was given a face lift to match the main home.
While the story of this project may be coming to an end for Lee Custom Homes, it is just beginning for the family who will be moving in.
The modern, eclectic, lake home that Derek and Dan created will help the new owners make family memories for years to come.