A vacation home at the Lake of the Ozarks flaunts fresh design elements and ample entertaining space.

Vacation homes often have many roles to fill. They must be simultaneously functional, fun, and entertaining. When a Jefferson City couple unexpectedly found their home at the Lake of the Ozarks, they could not pass up the promise of fulfilling each one of those vacation home goals.

“We weren’t even really looking. It just sort of fell into us,” says the homeowner. “Somebody saw it and recommended it. We loved the location and the floor plan so much, we decided it was worth it to go through the mess of renovating.”

Overlooking the living room from the entry balcony.

The house is full of adventurous details that echo the beauty of the Ozarks while bringing a modern liveliness through unparalleled color combinations and sharp, clean lines.

Seeing Pink

The house, constructed in the early 1980s, was a complete gut job.

“A lot of people who walked in the front door will be wowed,” says Dan Heckman of Dan Heckman Construction. “You walk inside, and it’s completely different than what you would suspect from the outside.”

Dan, who had a prior working relationship with the homeowners, served as the general contractor for the renovation work. However, this assignment went out of his usual realm of small, one-room interior remodels.

The interior work included scraping 18- to 22-foot tall popcorn ceilings, which required tossing an entire floor plan’s worth of pink tile. As the construction team made progress through the remodel, inspiration would strike, and Dan ended up adding additional projects, including an outdoor kitchen and a balcony.

All of the home renovation projects had to be done in tandem to meet the homeowner’s tight timeline. Otto Construction, based in the Lake of the Ozarks, was called in to lend support on the exterior work with new black metal windows and doors.

“We took an early 1980s house with golden oak, pink tile, acoustic popcorn ceiling, and no lights on the ceiling and turned it into a 2020 house with a modern look,” says Dan.

Reflecting on the project, Dan says it was the collaboration between the homeowners, himself, the interior designer, and Otto Construction that made the remodel a success. 

Pushing For Something Bold

The home’s interior was all about letting loose and experimenting for the homeowner. There is not one dull spot in the house. Even the shower, with its contrasting, angular tile, is intriguing.

“It’s a vacation house, so I wanted it to be a little different. I wanted it to be bright and fun. It’s definitely not our regular house,” says the homeowner.

“The first feeling I had when I walked in was that it took me back to the Brady Bunch days,” says Theresa Heckman of Theresa Heckman Interiors. Theresa is responsible for the punches of color and bold lines throughout the home. Theresa and the homeowner’s prior working relationship helped the homeowner push herself outside her design box.

“I’ve worked with her for years. I totally trust her suggestions. She knows what I like and what I don’t like,” says the homeowner. “She’ll pull something out, and it sometimes scares me a little bit, but it’s always so good.”

The homeowners wanted to keep some of the 1980s flair that is evident in the sunken living room. The first piece bought for the home was a green velvet sectional, which seats ten people, to put in the room. The sectional influenced the surrounding space, from the pillows to the walls.

“We wanted it modern, but not so modern that it was uncomfortable,” says the homeowner.

One of Theresa’s more impactful choices was the black-and-white diamond wallpaper in the kitchen.

“People typically won’t do large prints like that, especially in an open floor plan. They try to contain it in a bathroom,” says Theresa. 

Natural elements and clean lines throughout the house ground the design and keep it from being overwhelming to the eye.

“Greens and yellows bring nature into a house whether it’s spring, summer, or fall,” says Theresa.

Natural elements call to the lake, such as their clear granite top bar, which mimics the lake itself, and the burnt orange bar stools that warm the bar’s neutral backdrop.

While Theresa pulls references from online sources such as Pinterest for homeowners, the finished product is all her inspiration. Theresa is a details person. She played off every element of the space, including the angles of windows.

“I’m not a trendy decorator. I create in my mind, and that’s always how I’ve done things,” she says.

Layers of textures, including wallpapers and fabrics that trended back to the ’70s, and furniture finishings such as a buttery soft, deep brown leather chair in the master bedroom give the home a dynamic look.

The last pieces purchased were the big swivel chairs, which allow people to socialize in a 360-degree style around the open concept room.

Functional Funk

The two homeowners and their sons, plus their 4-year-old Chesapeake bay retriever, usually stay at the house for extended weekends. It’s an escape where the family has enough space to bond together or explore their own interests.

“The house fits our family. It’s not too big, but definitely big enough,” says the homeowner.

Theresa worked with Craftmasters for the custom made bunk beds in the boys’ room. The idea in all the bedrooms was to maximize sleeping space without sacrificing style. Upon the insistence of one of the sons, the dated kitchen lights were repurposed under the bunk beds for a hip accent.

The fabrics throughout the house were also tested for water and stain resistance, and the floors were chosen for their durability. These small details ensure peace of mind for the homeowners by dismissing worries about spills or floor dents during rowdy sleepovers. Instead, the family can focus on lake living.

Leisurely Lake Lifestyle

At the lake, mornings begin with breakfast as a family. However, by noon, the two teenage sons take out the paddle boards and WaveRunner to hit the lake. The homeowners spend their day relaxing and unwinding by the pool or dock and meeting up with nearby friends. Their evening concludes at the expanded screened-in porch and outdoor kitchen area, entertaining and grilling. Since the homeowners love to entertain, their vacation gateway is quickly becoming the place for gathering friends and family.

“With everyone living in Jeff City, it’s easy to have people come down for the day or for the night,” says the homeowner.

During the recent months, the family has stayed at their lake house for up to three weeks at a time to ride out quarantine. The family passed the time by indulging in takeout, watching action films on Netflix, and playing cards.

Resource List

General Contractor
Dan Heckman Construction
 joint venture with
Tony Otto Construction 

Interior Designer
Theresa Heckman Interiors 

Studio Home
Schaefer House
John Elliott Interiors 

Major Interiors 

Cabinets & Lighting
LaBelle Cabinetry & Lighting 

Carved in Stone 

Custom Cabinetry
Craftmasters Cabinets 

Custom Drapes
Theresa Heckman Interiors

Custom Florals
Theresa Heckman Interiors

Curt Stockman Drywall 

Thomas Electric

The Entertainer 

Exterior Cabinets
Ragan Cabinets 

Exterior Railings
All American Railings

Exterior Stain and Paint
Marsh Paint & Drywall, Inc 

Exterior Stone
Artistic Stucco 

Scruggs Lumber

Garage Doors
Capital Installers Inc. 

Glass Features
Brady’s Glass 

Home Furnishings
Studio Home 

Capital City Air 

Interior Railings
Mike Saucier 

Scruggs Lumber
Meeks Lumber 

Outdoor Living Furniture
Studio Home
Major Interiors  

Lend A Brush by Rita Lindenbusch

Hayes Plumbing

Spiral Stairway
Atlas Docks

Tile Setter
Rob Deppe Construction 

Kathy Schanzmeyer

Bonus Images