Oct 30, 2015 02:32PM
By Leo Adam Biga
The French country-style house stands apart from conventional residences for its distinctive features. Start with the decorative 30-foot-high turret. Add the projections, peaks, gables, eyebrow windows, stone-stucco-brick finish, carriage-style garage doors, and sweeping flow of the home on a raised and curved lot.
Castle-like embellishments include lions-head door-knockers.
There's a secluded courtyard in front and a wrap-around deck and landscaped patio with water feature in back.
Inside are arches, alcoves, recesses, high ceilings, massive solid wood beams, two large fireplaces, built-in bookcases, and a spiral staircase.
This Princess Bride look comes from the Storybook Collection of Missouri-based Ron Hill's Euro World Designs. The couple worked closely with Hill in conceiving the home. Steve owned his own full-service realty company and developed many properties and spec homes. Bari's always taken an active role with him to get things just right in their own homes. They both have a good eye and know enough to tell designers and builders how things should be done.
"We just know how we wanted it," Bari says of their Legacy place. "It's not an intimidating thing to either one of us. We like the process and we like to see it completed. It's fun."
They fell in love with Hill's work after touring homes he designed at the lake near Branson where they have their second home.
Steve served as the project's general contractor. He built the courtyard and water feature himself.
Ever since the home began taking shape in 2011 it's provoked interest.
"It still does," Bari says. "People come by this house weekly—stop, take pictures, come to the door and ask, 'where did you get this?' or 'what color is that?' We have a lot of people comment on it, I think, because it's such a unique style.
"Now, did we ever think we would end up with this home? No. We've kind of been all over the place in terms of styles—we’ve had a two-story Tudor and a ranch—but every step moved us towards this."
The McCormicks met at then-Kearney State College and lived in Kearney, Nebraska, almost all their married lives. He ran his business; she taught public school and later taught physical education at the college, along with running its intramural sports program.
After retiring they moved to Omaha to be close to their three adult sons and four granddaughters.
They've always done special things with their residences.
"We did kind of trick them out," Steve says. "But this is probably the craziest we've gone. I wanted to do the things that kind of went over the top, not to the point of being showy, but just neat features."
A playground feature is the attached, double-high garage. It is Steve's man cave, rec space, and trophy room. He's added hydraulic lifts to facilitate storing his collection of classic Ford vehicles. He's decorated the space with racing posters, motor oil signs, a vintage gas pump, a parking meter, and all things combustible engine-related.
Just off the downstairs family room is a home movie theater that seats 10 in plush, fully reclinable chairs. A whimsical touch is a faux box office with a mannequin ticket-taker.
The family room includes a small bar backed by a distressed wall. Next to the bar is a tiny wine cellar fronted by an iron gate.
The McCormicks worked closely with subcontractors Dick Grace Construction, Timberlane Construction, and others to create certain touches.
Steve says visitors often "use the word ‘detail’ when they're at our house—and that's a compliment."
The home's two bedrooms are located on the lower level. The guest bedroom is outfitted with furniture and keepsakes the couple inherited from their respective families.
As large as the home appears on the outside, it's 2,200 square feet, just 400 feet less than today’s average size.
"I find it a very comforting home, a very warm home," Bari says.
A color scheme of earth and jewel tones offers subtle contrasts to the dark woodwork, pale plaster walls, and hickory floor.
Most of the interior wood is stained alder, including the kitchen cabinets and doors. The kitchen, formal dining room, and living room walls are done in Venetian plaster. The kitchen island, countertops, and backsplashes feature granite.
The beams transecting the vaulted living room ceiling naturally split, lending them even more character.
"I like the fact that the beams come down and cozy it up," Bari says. "They are massive, but that's a lot of space so it needed some weight up there to kind of balance the room."
Like Cary Grant and Myrna Loy in the old movie Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, the couple spent more than they originally planned, but who can put a price on storybook and heart?
Steve says, "My attitude is why not enjoy it?" Besides, Bari adds, "It's our last roundup."