"Live a good life, and in the end, it's not the years in the life, it's the life in the years."

BIG house, big IDEAS

By on June 28, 2017 in Featured Homes with 0 Comments

Story By Susan Lagsdin

Photos by Nathan Coons

Kelly Chambers anticipates delighting her sibling’s several kids (she calls them “the littles”): keep ’em in the top-floor bunkhouse together and feed them well — mascarpone-stuffed French toast with blackberry syrup, anyone? — when they all come clambering down early in the morning.

A faux-stone façade on the fireplace and ornamental beams add warmth and texture to the high-ceilinged and sunny central living room, a must-have feature from the start.

While the parent-couples sleep in late, the kids can enjoy prime cousin time at the pool just as the sun hits their south-facing slope above Lake Chelan.

Jeff and Kelly Chambers had one main motive in mind when they built Quail Run, their vacation house: make it big enough for family. But some old and precious dreams played a part in their plans, too.

Jeff’s ancestors are from Nebraska; the eventual sale of his grandparents’ farm allowed him to choose this semi-agricultural slope in Manson and put in wine grapes, with plans for more in the future.

“I think they’d be proud of me,” he said. “I’ve grown trees and raised alpacas in Oregon, and I intend to keep my hands in the dirt somehow.”

Kelly is frank about her delight in the home. “I grew up poor. Really poor… sometimes we didn’t have enough food. But I kept a scrapbook with magazine pictures of things I liked — just to inspire me. It’s kind of like the idea book I kept for this place.”

Later in life, she’d been able to vacation on Lake Chelan – renting in the same neighborhood as this new vacation house, with the same knockout mountain/water view.

Boating with her brother a few years ago, she said, “I showed him my very favorite house on the lake shore. It was a big square Dutch Colonial, just like this one. I called it a ‘Hamptons House,’ and he said it was his favorite, too.”

The same brother helped with special construction in the higher-up new house last year.

When Kelly and Jeff married a dozen years ago after meeting at a corporate function in Phoenix, they blended their businesses (now three Visiting Angel home assistance franchises) and their children (they have three between them) They also work hard for the larger community: he’s active with Kid’s Town International and she’s on the board of Honor Flight. They continue to exponentially expand their all-important family and friend circle.

A dreamy vacation place made for sharing was their shared dream; Bob Stotko of Chelan Valley Builders and his right-on reference, architect Robin Anderson (coincidentally, a neighbor in their home town of Sumner), helped make it reality. The 7,700-square foot, three level home — yes, they know it’s big — is just what the couple wanted, on an above-the-lake site with the same wide-angle views they’ve grown to love over years.

Assuredly, a big-ticket item, they economized in other ways.

Interior choices are simple but stylish; Kelly has a knack for bargains and alternative uses and a good eye for coordinating disparate items. Target and Pottery Barn yielded a few good pieces, but she especially enjoyed cross-state treks picking up want-ad specials and Craig’s List finds, like the glass bar carts for end tables and antique twin bed frames.

They expect this home to serve several families over many years, and already the lake’s north shore has become the summer fun touchstone. (Kelly said her youngest relatives get: “If you’re good you get to go to Chelan…” in lieu of Santa goodies — or heaven? An apt analogy, perhaps.)

Retirement is way off — Jeff just turned 50 — but they keep their eye on the prize. Like many part-time north central Washington residents, the Chambers love the contrast of the sunshine and desert growth with their moist westside terrain and can envision this as their full-time home.

For now, the house is helping to pay its own way — it’s part private, part available to other sun lovers. They’ve booked it with Vacasa, a well-regarded vacation home rental service, but Kelly was savvy about scheduling.

“I reserved two weeks every month just for us — we can let more weeks out if we want to, but I was careful to block out our own time in advance.” Should schedules ever overlap, they’ve designed a two-bedroom upstairs apartment for themselves with a separate entrance.

Kelly and Jeff both cited some unexpectedly satisfying features, blueprinted but still a pleasant surprise.

The big kitchen pantry is a favorite spot — filling it was a feast of organization, a task Kelly admits is a bit addictive for her. She loves to feed people well (pulled pork with a paprika rub is already lined up for the big holiday) and knows that everything she needs is at hand and findable.

Jeff was adamant about wanting an unconventional staircase. “Heck, it was so complicated I couldn’t quite understand Robin’s drawings,” he said. “But it is unique.” The winding stairs lead to a loft space, apartment, bunkhouse room and guest bedrooms.

Way down at pool and patio level is the big (35 linear foot) marble bar for entertaining that he admits is just a bit bigger than he’d envisioned, but a gracious complement to the downstairs living and sleeping areas.

They both love the 23-foot cathedral ceiling with its massive carved beams above the main floor living area but are glad they chose lower box-coved ceilings for the dining and kitchen end.

Upstairs, a balcony off the bunkroom is fully enclosed with a short south-facing wall, a nice tuck-away space on pretty, windy days. Skylights, Kelly’s idea, open the top level to the “light and bright” look she’d hoped for.

The house is finished but not “complete.”

The couple is taking their time adding decorative art, choosing some favorite pieces carefully, and they’ve put the pool house interior on hold for a while: pool-level interior floors are synthetic, so wet feet are no problem.

A small downstairs non-bedroom might become an exercise area, and Jeff can see a cubby near the bar holding a ’60s era pinball machine.

In the few months since they signed off on the new house, Jeff and Kelly have occasionally had people visit in small batches, but the upcoming Big Event for them is the first-ever 22-person sleepover weekend, featuring extended family and friends, on July 4.

That long holiday will bring together all their loved ones in a space they hope will become the epicenter of family tradition. “We’re hoping the guests who stay here will come back with their families over the years, too!” Jeff said, “It would be great if their kids have the same great memories we have.”

The second milestone they look forward to is an open house: Quail Run is part of the annual Lake Chelan Home Tour and Art Show on Sept. 16. That weekend, with a few more months of happy house-holding under their belts, they’ll be pleased to show the public what a dream come true really looks and feels like.

Photographer Nathan Coons works with You Impression of Sumner, WA.

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