July 31, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Standard windows just will not do for Ed and Diane Foral. Their home’s view demands to let the outside in. 

Nestled on quiet Cottonwood Lane, which wraps around Villa Springs in Springfield, their south-facing home features a wide view of the Platte River designed to draw you outdoors. “We love the house so much because of all the windows,” says Diane.

Forals2Upon entering the couple’s home, guests’ first impression is impactful: An 18-foot tall wall of windows in a barreled ceiling room offers the initial view at the river. It is breathtaking.

That view is all part of the Forals’ thoughtful design that reflects where the couple is in life. They knew it would be their last custom-built home. Things had to be ideal, and the home had to suit their needs.

They had lived in Villa Springs for more than two decades, and they were not about to move from the lake community. Instead, they found a lot near the quiet piers of the lake.

Settling on a ranch-like blueprint with zero step entry, the Forals built on their own schedule. It is the third home they’ve built themselves, and they knew what they wanted: from the geothermal heat pumps, to walnut woodwork throughout, to the cabinets.

They also wanted an easily accessible living space, so the comfortable master bedroom is just steps from the front door. The master bathroom has heated tile floors and a walk-in shower, whirlpool, and walk-in closet.

Forals1Design changes were made to suit their life now—their kids no longer live at home so they didn’t need as many bedrooms upstairs. What they needed was more room for entertaining during the holidays. On the first floor, the majority of space was already perfectly designed for hosting parties. One part of the first floor that did change was a winding stairwell that blocked the view of the river. That was moved to the side.

Diane and Ed’s grown children, and their families, return for the holidays. On the ground floor, the kitchen—spacious with an island that invites gathering around—is a natural entertaining space. The servery between the kitchen and entry room invites people to linger, too; the bar area has a rustic winery feel to it.

The Forals designed two more spaces for their friends and family: the home’s second floor—with a rec room, playroom, and guest bedroom—and the detached three-car garage. The rec room was originally two bedrooms, but the Forals knocked down the dividing wall and put in a wet bar and home theater seating. The playroom’s movie theme is regularly used to entertain a younger set of guests: the Forals’ five grandchildren.

Forals4The heated garage is what Diane describes as a “bar-like” setting complete with an 80-inch TV and a full kitchen with a fryer, smoker, and charbroiler. With all the space, the house easily accommodates dozens, even up to a hundred, as they found with a family reunion last year. Just lift the garage door, Ed points out, and the party can spread out more.

Between the view and the inviting space for guests, it is no wonder their son’s wedding was held there. This home is where family and friends gather. OmahaHome