Capital LifeStyles Magazine publication:
Please see the artical and photos, page 100
In the white house….
An Iconic Home at the Lake receives a makeover.
This 7,200 square-foot iconic home at the Lake of the Ozarks sits on the bluff in Blackhawk estates. It is home to Brent and Melinda Christensen. When they found the home, which dates to 1991, it was neglected and in need of a lot of love. They worked tirelessly to restore it to its former glory, and following an 18-month renovation, it is now complete.
Luxurious in the grandest sense of the word, the home has vast rooms with high ceilings, tall windows, art deco design details, and beautiful doors and trim. The only thing that can beat the views in this property are its very interesting interiors. Everything here is large -- from the dimensions of the rooms to the windows.
Despite the evident grandeur, Brent and Melinda have banned formality to create a liveable, contemporary home. Melinda created a sophisticated interior, yet it’s not too serious. She wanted something that was a bit relaxed. To achieve that result, she used sumptuous materials, striking furnishings, original detailing, and added modern touches, such as the largely black and grey palette. She recognized the impact on the space of the original dramatic curved glass block wall that defines the living room and stairway leading from the main level to the downstairs. By keeping this original design element, she set her sights on honoring as much of the original home as possible. She trusted her design instincts and knew what was best for the home.
On surveying this calm, elegant main living area, you are struck by the balanced interplay of black, white and grey shades and by the subtle touches of luxury. You are welcomed by the soothing views of the lake you can only get from being this high on the bluffs. You immediately realize how special this home is. Composed with a rhythmic approach to colors and space, this lake home is part design showroom; part family retreat. The smallest detail has been carefully considered, right down to the symmetrical pairing of objects and furniture.
Just a few steps down, the expansive living room with a barrel vault ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows takes your breath away. They replaced old railings with a new more modern design. Its style is more appropriate for the art deco style.
The original entertainment center cabinet panels are one of many focal points in the living room. She chose to keep the original finish on the doors, as well as on the curved book case. Carefully considering what to keep and what to change takes a skilled eye and a restrained touch. She improved on the functionality by adding distinctive pulls. It’s just one of many small details, but when you consider the sum of so many custom touches, they make a big design impact.
Whether they’re home alone, or a gathering of friends and family spending time in this room, it’s a special experience. There’s an intimate spot to sit by the fireplace and ample room for relaxing on the lush upholstered furnishings to watch tv, all while remaining close to the inviting kitchen.
Using the existing good bones of the kitchen, Melinda banished the diner design and replaced it with a striking combination of materials. The high gloss finish on the cabinetry embodies the Hollywood style in the rest of the home. She chose to keep the black granite on the island and surrounded it with sparkling new quartz counters everywhere else. The backsplash has a true WOW factor. She chose a diamond shaped marble tile accented by crystals. In the evening when all of the under counter lighting is on, the room shimmers with light. The uncluttered kitchen is the epitome of chic. The distinctive accent details layer elements from art deco, Hollywood glam and New York sophistication.
Tufted leather stools line the lighted glass block bar. For casual meals, the banquette offers ample seating and the high-top table and acrylic stools are a seamless design choice. Living at the lake is a true experience and being able to enjoy a panoramic view from the large window-well what could be better?
This dining room is a space where people gather, so it should feel welcoming and open to both guests and homeowners. Melinda created a space around that idea with a ‘Hollywood elegance’. By using shades of a soft gray, a modern living space was brought to life in this classic home. A graphic print rug perfectly anchors the round dining table, crystals accent the drum shade chandelier, the graceful curves on the upholstered chairs are a perfect choice and a black glass cabinet adds a reflective quality. The choice of a round table allows traffic to flow easily through the dining room to the living room on one side and the kitchen on the other. The mix of modern elements with transitional touches cultivates a timeless look perfect for the Lake. And, just look at that view!
One of three master bedrooms she integrated both feminine and masculine touches. The modern furnishings show off feminine curves while the wood grain gives a masculine aesthetic. The luxurious bedding beckons you to sink right in and enjoy a good night’s rest. Well-chosen artwork and accent pieces pair beautifully with the restful color palette. The original arched doors were preserved and enhance the art deco feel. The ensuite bath features ample counter space and a beautiful walk-in shower. She added a touch of glamour with the beautiful lighting and cabinet hardware.
Each master takes on an individual character. The dark blue accent wall is the perfect focal point for the distinctive furnishings. Hollywood touches are injected into the design with everything from the oval night stands to the luxe bedding and the restored plantation shutters. They maintained this original detail by changing out the hardware right down to the hinges. No detail was overlooked.
This ensuite bath is perhaps the most glamourous of them all. From the perfectly chosen artwork to the mirrored vanity with the Venetian-style mirror and crystal light fixture, Melinda stayed true to her quest to maintain the original Hollywood feel while also giving the space a modern facelift.
In their master suite she created a cocoon like feel by wrapping the room in a dark grey color. The furnishings are dripping with detail from the bed’s Greek key design and upholstered elements with nail head features and the bench at the foot of the bed with Lucite legs, this room is shear luxe. In this ensuite, Melinda made sure that she gave a nod to the past while infusing present design trends. The original architecture of the home is still recognized because she saved original elements from the past and found ways to give them a current feel.
On the lower level, you get a ‘rat pack’ vibe. From the moody lighting of the glass block to the totally luxe furniture choices, Melinda created a vacation-style home with spaces that feel design-forward and inviting. She worked to create a space that sets the mood for kicking back and enjoying lake time by choosing sultry furnishings and a dreamy palette layered with pops of color. Simple neutral grey tones leave plenty of opportunity to add pops of color. The original curved fireplace also deserves attention. The skillful masonry details are impeccable. The original stone was redone with paint, so it fits in with the new color scheme.
Who says durable and functional furnishings can’t cultivate a modern vibe for the adults to enjoy, while being practical for the kids. This space is meant to be enjoyed by all. Taking center stage is the deco style pool table. The crystal light fixture shimmers overhead, and the gloss tile brings a reflective quality to the entire space.
The bunk room was most certainly designed with children in mind. It features colorful, fun and kid-friendly elements like the bunks, which can easily sleep six. And, she couldn’t resist adding a mirror ball over the large sectional…Just for FUN!
The decks are where it’s at, and Melinda and Brent went to great lengths to make sure that everything was brought up to new standards. Every bit of railing was sanded down and repainted. Every floor was redone with beautiful porcelain tile. The circular staircase was completely redone. They added patterned concrete tile as an accent border on one of the decks. Whether you are entertaining a large group on one of the decks, seeking a quiet place to relax on the screen deck, or enjoying a glass of wine on one of the intimate circular decks, the connection with the lake is never ending. No matter which direction you look, the view is breathtaking!
For the furnishings, style, durability and comfort were major considerations. They invested in superior quality furnishings that will stand up to the variety of weather patterns they experience at the lake, and it can easily be maintained. The dense foam cushions were custom upholstered with a wide stripped fabric which complements the black and white awnings.
The outdoor experience designed into the original structure of this home is unrivaled. It is perfectly unique and there is nothing that even comes close to this iconic style at the Lake. The construction quality and craftsmanship revealed itself to them as they renovated every bit of the outdoor structure. They achieved perfection of design with their choices, from the lighting to the flooring to the furniture.
She and her husband share the vacation home with their family and friends as often as possible. When they bought the house, they were drawn to strike a balance between formality and relaxation, as they intended to use their home for family time and to decompress. Her solutions were a sensitive renovation that contrasts light, bright communal spaces with moodier private zones. They wanted to honor the homes original architectural details. The renovation marries a respect for the original deco features of the property with a love of pushing the boundaries of design.
From the first time they saw the home, they knew it deserved to be brought back from years of neglect. Melinda had extensive architectural and design experience and skillfully took on the largest complete renovation of her career. Paying respect to the original bones of the home, they invested the time and budget necessary to get it right. After all, this special iconic home deserves it!
Melinda’s 30-year career has led her to work for major design firms in California, Texas and Colorado. Currently she manages Christensen Capital and takes on projects that she likes and enjoys.
Photography by: Studio V Hypermedia Entertainment. Che Valentino, Owner www.studiovhypermediaent.com
This property is currently listed for sale with Lisa McKinzie, McKinzie Group of Keller Williams.