Finding your way home from a friend’s house normally isn’t much of a challenge for kids old enough to navigate a neighborhood without adult accompaniment. That doesn’t change the fact that things were, at least for a brief time about a year ago, a little iffy for the Walvoord children; Ava (6), Jackson (8), and Olivia (10).
After the family’s move last July, parents Timmery and Brandon joked that their kids were in danger of paying an unexpected visit on the neighbors by inadvertently stumbling through the wrong front door some evening. It just goes with the territory when a family relocates by moving literally right next door.
No lumbering moving trucks for this clan. It was an old fashioned bucket brigade of friends and neighbors who schlepped the family’s belongings a few paces to the South to get them situated in their new place, one that offers a dramatic view of the waters of Mallard Landing, a lakeside development near Valley.
“We were looking at other lake-living places around the area,” explains Timmery, “but the kids really made the decision for us because they didn’t want to switch schools.”
While the move may have been an easy one, what led up to it was anything but. A true labor of love for the Walvoords, the home was designed and constructed by Brandon with the help of Timmery’s father, a builder.
“You learn a lot of things when you build your own home,” says Brandon in declining to single out any given project task as having been a particularly vexing obstacle. “Of course there was the…” he adds as his voice trails off before yielding to a chuckle. “No, let’s just leave it at you learn a lot of things.”
The lake itself is at the heart of the design for this 5,700 square foot home, one inspired by a French-Country-meets-modern motif rendered in neutral shades and outfitted in casual/contemporary furnishings. From the sandy stretch of private beach up to the house it is a zig-zagging, one-two-three-level ascent past handsome landscaping interrupted midway by a gurgling water feature. An expansive, wrap-around patio area, the site of countless “dining out” evenings, is partially nestled below a first-floor deck topped by another above. The elevated orientation of the lot and home in relation to the water tricks the eye into perceiving the lake-facing facade to be even more imposing, more towering than its three levels would otherwise suggest.
“The upper deck is amazing for watching fireworks, and they seem to go on forever,” Timmery says in gesturing to the sweeping vista far in the distance that forms the ridge line looming over the Elkhorn River Valley.
Back inside, Olivia appears to have gone missing. She is discovered in what might be Brandon’s crowning achievement in the home’s design—a room hidden behind
“I want to be a teacher someday,” Olivia explains as she conducts lessons for Ava in their double-super-secret, straight-outa-Hogwarts space. “This is my favorite room in the house.”
Not to be outdone, Ava begins a tour of her room (the site of the occasional giggle-infested slumber party) with what is an entirely self-evident declaration.“Pink,” she says of the space that is a veritable explosion of lavender, mauve, fuchsia, and everything in between, “is my favorite color. Isn’t is just beautiful?”
As dusk approaches in dappling the lake with a kaleidoscope of shimmering reflections, the boing-boing-boing of basketballs echo throughout the neighborhood in competing with the boing-boing-boing of Ava and Olivia bouncing on a trampoline down on the beach, both sounds now competing with Jackson as he drains 3-pointers into an electronic, arcade-style hoops set-up. “Thirty,” he proudly replies when asked what his record is for consecutively made shots. “C’mon,” he beckons as we head downstairs to his first-floor bedroom. “Let me show you
my drum set.”
Hey, isn’t lake living supposed to be the picture of placid serenity? How about a little peace and quiet?
“Things can get a little noisy around here with the kids,” Brandon says with a smile. Or was that a grimace?
“Just wait until we get the boat out” if you want more noise, adds Timmery in nodding to the dock that is the launching point for a you-name-it array of splashy aquatic fun.
An oversized work of art made by Timmery hangs in the kitchen. She constructed it of discarded palate pieces and painted it in a wash to achieve a weathered, rustic vibe before then printing big, bold letters that spell out what could easily be the Walvoord family motto.
“Life at the Lake,” Timmery reads from the words on her creation, “is Better!”