Who doesn’t love sunflowers? From Georgia O’Keeffe, to the huge fields that draw visitors searching for the next Christmas photo, sunflowers have been a staple of the garden.
What began as weekly tradition for Merle and Jan Whitehead evolved into a 9,000-square-foot contemporary lakeside retreat for themselves, children, grandchildren, and everyone’s friends.
From Here to There
“Over 30 years ago we rented a friend’s Keuka Lake cottage for a week,” recalls Merle Whitehead. “It became an annual tradition.”
Later, the Whiteheads purchased a small cottage. Years passed and their kids married. Considering grandchildren, they decided they needed a bigger place. They asked Lin Hough of Hough Custom Homes if his architect, Patrick Morabito, could design an addition. “But we realized the lot wasn’t great,” says Whitehead.
They found a larger home with some deferred maintenance. Originally, they wanted to remodel but Hough pointed out some insurmountable structural issues. Then the home next door went on the market. Whitehead purchased it with the intent of having two separate family homes.
Whitehead says, “Hough told me, ‘you won’t be happy with this arrangement.’ Soon one thing led to another and we decided to have one big main house on a four-acre property!”
Blueprint of a Remodel
The original scope of the remodel was to keep the bedrooms, bathrooms, living room and dining room. But when Whitehead saw Morabito’s plans he was hooked. In the end, only the living and dining rooms were left unchanged.
Design, Details, & Fun
The kitchen, living room, and sun room are filled with earthy textures and soothing neutrals. A white, oversized ceramic sink is a statement to farmhouse elegance while contrasting with sleek, black granite countertops. A stone wall and fireplace, made of stacked ledgestone with fieldstone highlights, anchor the open floor plan with rugged sophistication. A wood plank floor provides dimension underfoot.
While these elements command the living space, overhead curves tempt you from one room to another. Dark wood posts and beams arc over the living and sun rooms.
An eyebrow window above the fireplace mantle (Whitehead’s idea) draws your attention upward. To maintain proportion, the fireplace stonework meets the outer edges of the ceiling beams adding 16 inches of width.
The bunk room has a built-in playhouse made from a converted closet complete with a façade and matching stone “foundation.” A restaurant booth table in the basement is popular with the grandkids. The kitchen, in combi-nation with the bar, can seat up to 24 people. “I’ve lived in twenty homes. We built the last six,” says Whitehead. “I love this house! It was a great collaboration.”
Crawford Doors & Windows
Travis industries/Fireplace Fashions
New Energy Works/Timberframers
Patrick J. Morabito A.I.A Architects, P.C.
Pella Windows & Doors
Solid Surfaces, Inc