Luxurious Lake Lifestyle

Entering the community of Lake Lotawana, visitors are transported to another time where lazy afternoons are spent with friends on the dock or taking the boat out for a spin as the sun sets. Here, summer vacation lingers and the creature comforts of the city are hardly missed—for time stands still.

Lake Lotawana’s attraction is intoxicating. Its Lees Summit location is accessible for urban dwellers to escape to and its community is welcoming and boasts luxurious lifestyles. All of this rings true for one pair of homeowners who, in the process of building their dream retirement home, decided instead to make it their “right now” home.

“This has been really nice,” says one of the homeowners. “It was supposed to be where we retire but we’re moving it up.”

Purchasing two adjoining lots, the couple began a project that would come to fruition via the capable hands of architect Scott Bickford, builder Gary Brown of Gary Brown Homes and interior designer Amber Brown of Muse Furniture and Lifestyle Designs.

The stunning four-bedroom, six-bathroom lake home’s sensational interior and exterior style stemmed from the creative collaboration between the homeowners and husband-and-wife duo builder Gary and designer Amber Brown.

“It’s been great working with them,” says Amber. “It’s not every client with whom you feel like you can connect with and form a friendship.”


Flowing inspiration

The reverse two-story home is perched on a steep hill overlooking the eastern side of Lake Lotawana. From the front, the home appears modest in size with rustic stone details. However at first entrance, the bank of windows offers a welcoming experience to the home where a view of the lake is simply awe-inspiring.

“We tried to build the house around basically whenever you walk into the entry it just has this grand view,” says Gary.

Underfoot, a custom rug, which was one of the first interior purchases, was made to emulate the water as it punctuates a minimalist great room, and above the mantle, a joyful painting of sunflowers introduces color to the room. Visitors will quickly gather that art plays a significant role in the home, allowing Amber to style rooms around the owners’ extensive collection that bursts with a bounty of color.

“We had to really look at the pieces she had and work them in,” says Amber. “That’s why I wanted more neutrals on the wall, the cabinetry and everywhere else because I didn’t want to fight color.” This “new neutral” consists of muted grays, ivories and a soft color palette throughout the home.

The dance between color and art is especially evident in the spacious kitchen.

Designed with entertaining in mind, the large brushed granite island features a lowered, wooden bar where grandchildren will one day enjoy a bowl of ice cream after a dip in the lake. The magnificent etched glass-tile backsplash is flanked with custom ironwork and throughout the room, pre-finished cabinetry disguises appliances.

What appears as a wall of cabinetry is actually a three-door refrigerator and freezer, complete with knobs and pulls. This modern appliance and brilliant design keeps the kitchen clear of clutter and instead invites and encourages visitors to gather in the kitchen.

“We made it look like a piece of furniture and that’s definitely the focal point,” says Amber.

Tucked behind the kitchen is a large pantry boasting a pink ceiling. Mixing style and function, the space includes plenty of storage, more artwork and two more ovens rounding out a total of three. Because entertaining is important to the homeowners, careful consideration was given to such items.

“At first we just had this bigger floor plan that was much more square footage and then as it started getting down to pricing and in doing all of that [the homeowners] looked at it and said, ‘Ok, I’d rather have smaller square footage and put more money into the finishes,’” says Amber. “But it’s still big enough for entertaining.”


Lavish loos

When asked what her favorite room is in the house, the homeowner chuckles a bit and points to the powder room: “I guess I am into bathrooms,” she says.

What makes the room so special is the hand-painted, metallic wallpaper from Italy. To save on cost but maximize its effect, one wall was papered and the others were given mirrors to reflect the delicate paper. Granite

underneath the mirrors balances the space and petite chandeliers dance above the marble vanity and glass sink.

Downstairs, the guest bath showcases a sense of humor. Inspired by items found in Gary’s office, the homeowner asked for two illustrations to be incorporated into the tile in the shower. By silk-screening tiles from KC Tile, the vintage cartoon of a young lady is seen fishing with the words “Fish Naked” and “Show off your Bobbers”—this tongue-in-cheek design seems more than fitting for this lake home with personality.

“It’s kind of got a little twist and it’s kind of naughty,” says the homeowner with a laugh.

Upstairs, the master suite is complete with an ornate master bath featuring white marble countertops shimmering with specks of crystal to keep the lake feel. Two crystal chandeliers dangle above and four sconces are placed directly on the mirror around a colorful oil painting.

“I wanted to do something different in here with lighting too so we did this more art deco,” says Amber.

To the other side of the suite, a small den offers the opportunity to enjoy gorgeous views of the lake or curl up with a good book—all adding to the homeowners’ new-found love of living at the lake.


Lakeside living

Off the kitchen on the upper level an outdoor living room outfitted with a stone fireplace, plush furniture for relaxing and a large round table for a late night game of bridge promise plenty of alfresco fun to come. The deck was built with Epay flooring which requires no staining and has a life expectancy of up to 26 years before needing repair.

“Our goal was to create a maintenance-free home for the homeowners,” says Gary. This notion continues outside with the stucco siding and grass-free landscaping, allowing the homeowners more time to … play.

Pièce de résistance

The staircase of this Lake Lotawana home became a passionate project for the homeowner as she envisioned something whimsical and inventive. Enlisting artist Mike Keller, a weeping willow tree was designed and incorporated as the iron railing. What resulted was a work of art that shines among beautiful details in the spiraling space.

“We wanted to make this whole stairway a focus,” says Amber. “The Murano glass light fixture and high-end wool carpet are key elements.”

Tapping into her own creative side, the homeowner made the leaded glass windows placed at the top.

“She spent hours; she wanted to contribute something,” says Amber.

The iron railing took almost eight weeks to create, from concept to execution. It separates into five different pieces and with its intricate arms and branches, it required multiple men to tow it in, according to builder Gary Brown.

As Amber confirms, “It’s truly incredible to see.”

The lower level of the home hosts three bedrooms and two bathrooms while an elevator provides optimal function for events and on the case of the Fourth of July, a means for the musician to set up his gig on the patio. A pool table and brushed granite bar beckon visitors to stop and stay awhile, and the large patio overlooking the lake serves as a picturesque setting for lounging.

“I explained to [the homeowners] this is a reverse and this is the main area where you hang out with your family,” says Amber. “You’re on a lake—you’re going to be down here more than you’re going to be up there.”

Tile was chosen for the floor and laid in a captivating French Versailles pattern; an elaborate tile fireplace balances the room and displays another large painting of red blooms. Complete with surround sound, a TV projection screen can descend from the ceiling for an afternoon of movies on a rainy day.

Incorporating the area’s history, a vintage door was hung in the basement paying homage to the original cabin. While the property where the door originated was well known for its prominent spot on the garden tour, its dilapidated cabin was far from salvageable.

“That’s one of the reasons we decided to put so much into the landscaping, to bring that back and make it fit in,” says Gary.

The downstairs bedrooms share common features such as bold colors, statement art and beautiful furnishings. Rooms were mostly styled around a piece of art that set the tone for a particular color scheme.
In one room a large yellow flower painting on the wall sends an electrifying jolt of energy into the room.

“She found this from a European website and wanted the mural so we did that and the window treatments,” says Amber. The impressive collection of embroidered Manuel Canovas linen window treatments hail from France and were custom-made by The Purple Door.


Sail away

Outside, the state-of-the-art cement dock was piered into the water with an adjoining floating dock. Above the boat and other water toys, lounge chairs await a gaggle of sunbathers.

Looking up from the dock, the Lake Lotawana home stands in magnificent harmony with well-conceived landscaping, a tiered stone walkway and flowing waterfall and selections of art peppered among the floral and fauna.

Strolling up to the stately house from the water, the notion of “It’s five o’clock somewhere” begins to ring a little louder and it’s easy to see why waiting for retirement to enjoy this exceptional lakeside escape seems an impossible notion.