Hanging out, lakeside-style

Anyone whose second home is on the lakefront expects to play host to plenty of weekend guests. Who can resist the idea of summer days on the water spent boating, fishing or waterskiing, or the simple life of kicking back on a lounge chair to soak up some rays?

Late spring and summers are especially busy for owners of this Lake Ponderosa vacation home. “We have a big family, and we love entertaining, so we have a lot of coming-and-going,” she says. “We’re on the main channel of the lake, and the view is just awesome.”

At night, there are grill-outs and a party atmosphere on their double-decker barge just down the hill from the home, or family and friends head out for pub food and live music at the marina, Jumpin’ Jimmys, the Frost Bar or other lively hang-out.

Lake Ponderosa, west of Montezuma, is a private lake with seven miles of shoreline surrounded by about 700 homes. Some residents live at the lake year-round, while others are frequent vacationers who appreciate the setting and family-friendly atmosphere.

These owners have vacationed here for about six years. This is the second home they’ve owned at Lake Ponderosa, and after three years, decided to do some renovations, particularly the kitchen. They enlisted interior designer Jennifer Ferson’s expertise in making it happen.

“The kitchen didn’t take advantage of the lake view at all. There was a window above the kitchen sink but it was so high you couldn’t see the lake. What’s the point of being at the lake if you can’t see it? We wanted to lighten up the kitchen and let in the view,” says Ferson, owner of Ferson Kitchen & Bath Design in Cedar Falls.

What once was a dark and drab kitchen with flat 8-foot ceilings is now a crisp white kitchen with a nautical air. The ceiling was opened up and vaulted – “without having to alter the roof,” Ferson says, and clerestory windows added for natural light.

Above the Elkay composite sink, the window was enlarged to offer the spectacular view. Dated oak cabinetry was replaced with Dura Supreme white cabinets and a Viking suite of appliances is professional chef-quality gear. Countertops and peninsula are dressed in HanStone quartz in “Blackburn,” a speckled blend of black, gray and white, while the backsplash is Carrera marble. Underfoot is an easy-care, durable luxury vinyl tile that can handle the traffic. .

“The shape of the peninsula mimics the octagonal shape of the breakfast nook and allows for easy movement in the kitchen. We also added French doors to visually open up the kitchen even more to the lakefront view,” Ferson notes.

In the dining space, a soaring stone fireplace adds natural drama and complements the custom-built corner wine-bar cabinet. The two-sided fireplace introduces interest in the living room, as well.

“We wanted to open up and brighten up, and now our home is so bright and cheerful. It’s exactly what I wanted to accomplish,” the owner says. In four or five years, she expects the vacation home to become their full-time residence.