A travelling couple finally finds roots in a custom built North Idaho home
Kansas City 28 years ago—a man works his southern charm on a farm girl from Ritzville, Washington. They meet and marry in the same year and the journey begins. It’s an adventure, propelled by careers, that drifts the couple (and their entourage of four-legged friends) through Kansas, Georgia, Florida, Colorado and even a stint in Caracas, Venezuela, over the next couple of decades.
They’ve most recently landed in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Although this time chosen might be a better word, as the latest move—though still tied to career—allowed the family to live anywhere, though preferably west of the Mississippi.
The West Coast appealed, with Tri Cities, Liberty Lake, Gig Harbor and Woodinville making the top list. However, one visit to Coeur d’Alene in January 2015 and the couple says they never looked back. After living in nine houses throughout the past 28 years, the Hayses might finally be home.
They just had to build it.
They are Ron and Lisa Hays, along with their adoring three white rescue pups Scooter, Shelby and Shaylee.
Taken by the impressive views of Lake Coeur d’Alene sweeping across to the resort at the far end of the water, the Hayses purchased a lot on the Cougar Bay hillside in July of 2015. Fast forward to September the following year when the Hays completed the final walk-through of the finished home, and had it photograph ready for this article just a little over a month later.
Ron and Lisa worked with Hayden-based MB Builders, who have built custom homes in North Idaho since the early seventies. The Hayses have become fast friends with owners Rich and Mary Boettcher.
“Everyone who works for Rich is exceptional. It’s just bottom line they do great work,” says Ron, a veteran of building new homes. “The fact we love our builder today is a great endorsement.”
Finalizing home plans with MB Builders in September 2015, the Hayses received county approval the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Excavation coincided with the first snowfall, yet construction primarily stayed right on schedule, despite a few snow hangups.
A rented apartment in the Spokane Valley served as a temporary base during the building, yet home was always the work in progress on their lot.
“From day one this felt like home. We would come out when Wayne [Rich’s brother] was framing and didn’t want to go back to the apartment,” says Ron.
Lending expertise from a professional background in interior design, Lisa planned the 4,300 square foot layout around the furniture and decor that would fill the home. The decorator says she falls in love with pieces and they become part of the family. Thus, nearly 300 boxes and pieces of furniture pack two trailers as the Hayses move from place to place.
Floorings, paints and patterns were also chosen by Lisa, sourcing from specialty boutiques in Florida and local vendors, among others.
Lisa describes her interior decor style as traditional with a twist of the unexpected. “I tend to buy for life and am drawn to warm rich colors,” says Lisa. “I like using fabrics and furnishings you aren’t afraid to touch and use. You’ll always see lots of color, and hopefully it welcomes you and is a warm environment to be a part of.”
Ample fireplaces and plush furniture choices beckon visitors to put up their feet in each room, echoing Lisa’s decor sentiments, while unexpected pops of whimsy add a twist to traditional patterns. A collection of Luna Bella lamps, each handcrafted in Florida, playfully accents space throughout the home.
“Good lighting is a lot like accessorizing your outfit with jewelry,” says Lisa.
Western conchos further accessorize cupboards and countertop edges, artfully designed by Lisa who says she is not afraid of bling. Surrounding nature echoes the cozy within, as the pine-filled Donovan’s Point tucks the home into Cougar Bay.
The custom-framed timbers play well to the view, with floor-to-ceiling windows extending out to a covered porch hovering above the hillside overlooking the lake. The lower level boasts similar views, with French sliding glass doors and windows providing a portal to the great outdoors. Even the smaller windows, artfully placed, send a constant picture-perfect Idaho postcard to the one looking out.
The great room, upon entry, extends to a wall of windows proclaiming the majesty of Northern Idaho. Bold floral arrangements mirror the greatness outdoors, alongside an array of plush furniture inviting fireside conversation. Exposed timbers in the great room, and several others, mimic the scenery outside.
The adjacent kitchen continues the bold tones, anchored by a strong island and chandelier, one of many in the home.
“The kitchen is the heart of the home,” says Lisa. “It was the one area I wasn’t willing to compromise on.”
And she didn’t. A Sub-Zero refrigerator and dishwasher lay hidden behind aged off-white custom cabinetry by Freeze Furniture in Spokane. Walker Zanger tile provides a vibrant backdrop to the Wolf cooktop, and a Wolf double oven and Sub-Zero wine cooler on the adjacent wall echo luxurious vibes.
Lisa says the couple loves to stay in, a believable statement when viewing the walk-in pantry just off the kitchen, with its own fridge and ample storage space for stocking up.
And who wouldn’t want to stay in, when even the simplest of spaces, like the laundry room, has taken up a luxurious and beautiful tone.
A hand-painted light fixture, adopted when Lisa was shopping with a client in Florida, sets the green tones for the laundry room. A solid wood center table serves as an island for folding clothes. Line drying is made easy with a hidden pull-out mantle that converts to a hanging bar above the washer and dryer, a piece designed in conjunction with Freeze Furniture for functionality without sacrificing design.
Bedrosian tile, a last-minute find in what Lisa refers to as one “tile emergency” during the build, illuminates the space with a bold clean pattern. The tile runs up against cupboards supporting counterspace and a full sink for bathing the pups, who also have their own den, a walk-in closet complete with plush beds for relaxing when their human parents are away.
But when the Hayses are home, the pups are always close in tow. The plush sofa, floating in front of the desk in Lisa’s downstairs office, is usually accessorized by the three pups watching their mom at work.
When not working on others’ designs, Lisa enjoys crafting pieces to star in her own space. She points out handmade pillows and a summer-time project mosaic side table on the porch. Inside, a repurposed family heirloom mirror antiqued, cut and framed flanks the hallway.
In fact, family heirlooms and relics of adventures past surround the Hayses in their new home. A Venezuelan glass collection melds with pottery pieces from an aunt on shelves in the great room. Ceiling fans overhead in several rooms came from Florida, allowing the couple to incorporate sturdy souvenirs from a favorite location. Hand-picked furniture that has provided relaxation and conversations with friends in other homes across the country brings familiarity to each new room. Acrylics, photographs and oil paintings—a collection of palm tree art all purchased from original artists—grace the back wall of Lisa’s office.
The nod to adventures of the past years is especially symbolic this December, as the Hayses will toast anniversary 28.
Perhaps the Hayses will toast fireside, on the deck overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene, the glow of the resort alive at night, amplified over the holidays by the thousands of added celebratory lights. They can spy the boats bustling passengers embarking on the Journey to the North Pole Cruise.
Nature can help calm the senses, feasibly part of what drew Ron and Lisa to this lot after their whirlwind of adventures. Though nothing is for certain, the couple plans to make this a more permanent residence—a statement verified by the addition of an in-home elevator.
“We plan to grow old here,” says Lisa.
Well, cheers to the Hayses—to 28 years and to “growing old” together in your beautiful new home.
An avid traveler, Joni Elizabeth constantly snaps photos to document inspiring architecture and design. Writing about such spaces melds Joni’s love for design and decor with that of sharing an individual’s story, as she believes spaces are often a small reflection of the owner. She’s also convinced no space is complete without a dog.