Summer comes late for Roxanne and David Peterschmidt, but not without compensation.
Each year, it kicks off with a bash, a blast, and a brilliance of fireworks. “Our summer officially begins the Fourth of July, when we arrive at McCall [Idaho] and open up the house for the season,” says Roxanne, who remains in the vacation house, with frequent visits from David, until early fall. Then both head back, spent but smiling, to their permanent home in Saratoga, California.
The Peterschmidts aren’t the only ones who feel summer isn’t properly inaugurated until the Idaho retreat—whimsically named “Bearly There”—reopens for another season. Joining them for their annual flurry of July 4th festivities are Roxanne’s parents from the Texas Hill Country, her brother and sister-in-law, who now also own a home in McCall, and “various and sundry friends. All that’s missing are young children. We’re in between generations right now, with grown children but no grandkids,” Roxanne explains.
She pares down prep time for the holiday bash to keep the living easy. “This is a vacation house, and it’s all about relaxing—even when we’re entertaining.” David swags patriotic bunting across the front porch railing and hoists the flag, while Roxanne and her mom cook a summer feast that always concludes with Roxanne’s signature star-studded apple pie.
For years, the Peterschmidts had dreamed of a second-home getaway like the 1930s log house they eventually found on pristine Payette Lake, deep in Idaho’s alpine mountains. They learned of the area from a California neighbor, visited, “and bought this house the same weekend,” says Roxanne.
That was 16 years ago. “It reminded us of the way Lake Tahoe must have been in the 1920s, when it was still unspoiled. It’s remote, but not too. There are 50 lakes within a one-hour drive of our house. And, you can take off on your mountain bike and ride to the top of the ski mountain and back with no problem.” In fact, each of the couple’s favorite sports can be accessed from the house. “Depending on the season, we fish, water-ski, mountain bike, cross-country ski, and downhill ski,” notes Roxanne. Roxanne and David lived in the old house for 11 years. Then, five years ago, they essentially rebuilt it from the ground up. They stayed faithful to the original footprint and recycled favorite “parts”—like the wonderful claw-foot bathtub.
“There were holes the size of an arm in the basement, and whole crops of mushrooms were growing there,” Roxanne recalls. In addition to the crumbling foundation, the house lacked insulation, making winters too cold for comfort. The overhaul not only smoothed out these rough edges, it provided another sort of user-friendly function. A new bump-out over the front portico meant the master bedroom now offers a lake view. And new room assignments also afforded lake views for every public space—all without diluting the appeal of the original house.
Interior designer Linda Floyd made sure of that. “I’m an old movie buff, and I’ve always been inspired by the subtle glamour found in the details of the sets—custom fringes, lampshades with bling, the use of draperies to divide rooms,” says Floyd. “This design was a combination of interiors found in Gene Tierney or Bette Davis movies, with a lake setting. The beautiful appointments, antiques, wonderful linen florals, and great seating areas were all inspired by the movies. However, my designs are classically scaled and detailed and, most important, have modern comfort.”
A Real Sense of Age
In the living room, the linen draperies suggest age. “I like a chintz in bedrooms,” explains Floyd, “but I like a linen in living areas, because it holds itself better with the scale of the furnishings. It’s heartier and weightier—a heavier texture to work with larger furniture.” Chenille gives a soft hand to the sofa, and “its wearability allows the family to lie around in their bare feet, hiking clothes, or ski things.” Practicality also dictated Floyd’s upholstery treatment for a comfy club chair. “I love the look of an old leather chair, but I want the comfort of fabric.” Leather on the outside and fabric on the inside give the custom chair the best of both.
Floyd’s fabric selections, along with her palette, were exactly what Roxanne had in mind. “I told Linda that I wanted warm, rich colors, that I wanted overstuffed, comfortable furniture, and that I wanted rooms where nobody would be afraid to plop down and throw their feet up on anything,” says the homeowner.
Floyd designed all of the finishes and refined the architectural features. “Local stone was a given for the living room fireplace,” she says. The mantel is similarly rugged. “It’s just a huge chunk of wood hand-hewn by the contractor.” Exposed beams at the ceiling are not only decorative but structural. “We used a golden glaze throughout the house on all the woodwork,” notes the designer. “I wanted this real sense of age—a finish so thick it appears it’s been painted repeatedly over the generations.”
The designer’s fascination with old films led to her storefront solution for separating the kitchen from the living room. The concept took shape as she was browsing in an antiques-shop basement and stumbled across a stack of glass-topped panels.
“I was told they were a room divider. I loved them, but it wasn’t until the next day, when I was in the shower, that I realized I could use this idea in the kitchen—a storefront window that you’re peeking through.
I could just see it from the old movies—the faces pressed against the glass in the old pastry shop. This was the solution I needed to separate the kitchen, but give it a lake view,” Floyd explains. Instead of using the antique divider, however, she sketched a design and commissioned the project to a woodworker.
Some custom work involved more hands- and feet-on help. Roxanne and contractor Kevin Muir helped Floyd customize the floral hooked staircase runner with a subtle bear-paw pattern by crawling up the stairs on all fours. “We rolled out butcher paper, taped it to the stairs, and crawled up, trying to determine where a bear’s paws should land. You should have seen us!” says Roxanne, still amused by their pigeon-toed posturing. Though the house is finished, the playful spirit is still at work. Come summer, “Bearly There” is the only place to be.