Happy Campers

For a Mis­souri cou­ple who built a Bi­ble camp and re­treat cen­ter, their rus­tic, bud­get-friendly di­rec­tor’s house is ic­ing on the cake.

Country Sampler - - Contents - Writ­ten by NANCY AN­DER­SON HEDBERG Pho­tographed by BILL MATHEWS Styled by GLO­RIA GALE u

Af­ter build­ing a Bi­ble camp and re­treat cen­ter, a Mis­souri cou­ple cap off the project with a care­fully con­structed di­rec­tor’s home that fea­tures hands-on de­tail­ing and de­sign with loads of out­doorsy ap­peal.

WWhen Carol and Bill An­der­son de­cided to build a home on the prop­erty of the Bi­ble camp and re­treat cen­ter they founded near Clin­ton, Mis­souri, Carol dove right into the project, de­spite her lack of ex­pe­ri­ence. “I did all the plans and blueprints and de­sign work,” she ex­plains. “I loved it, but it took me a year to get it ex­actly how I wanted it.”

She had years to con­sider just what she wanted in a home—the cou­ple, who started the LifeChange Camp and Re­treat Cen­ter in 2003, ini­tially lived in a one-bed­room apart­ment on the 80-acre site while they fo­cused on mak­ing their vi­sion for the cen­ter a re­al­ity. Bill, a for­mer pas­tor, and Carol worked with vol­un­teers to build the 120-plus-bed cen­ter, which serves as a chil­dren’s Bi­ble camp dur­ing the sum­mer and an adult and youth re­treat through­out the rest of the year.

By 2010, they were ready to start work on their home. Af­ter hir­ing a friend to su­per­vise the ini­tial con­struc­tion—in­clud­ing pour­ing the foundation, fram­ing, roof­ing and in­stalling win­dows—the An­der­sons re­lied on vol­un­teers (who, luck­ily, included re­tired plumbers and elec­tri­cians) to help fin­ish it.

How­ever, as with many new home builds or re­mod­el­ing jobs, the best­laid plans can some­times take a home­owner off course. Un­daunted by chal­lenges that come her way, Carol has a can-do at­ti­tude that ap­plies to more than just the de­sign of her and Bill’s home. When the vol­un­teer who was lay­ing the stone for the chim­ney had to leave the project, Carol didn’t hes­i­tate to roll up her sleeves. “I said, ‘Show me how to do it,’ ” she re­calls. “I fin­ished it and did the stonework on the [porch] posts, too.” Flo­ral fab­ric on diner-style stools adds a re­fresh­ing, un­ex­pected touch to Carol and Bill An­der­son’s wel­com­ing kitchen, which fea­tures an open cor­ner hutch Carol built out of two-by-eights and bead­board to lend a cus­tom look to the “big-box store” cab­i­nets the cou­ple painted in a rich red.

She was hands-on when it came to the in­te­rior de­tails as well, cus­tomiz­ing and paint­ing the kitchen cab­i­netry and fin­ish­ing the floors. Af­ter choos­ing rough-sawn pine floor­ing in vary­ing board widths, the cou­ple sanded them just enough to get the rough­ness off and stained them, coat­ing them with an oil­based fin­ish that dark­ens over time. “As it’s aged for the last eight years, I see a nice patina com­ing out,” Carol ob­serves.

When con­struc­tion ended, Carol set her sights on fur­nish­ing her new abode. The handy cou­ple even con­structed sev­eral pieces them­selves, in­clud­ing some of the porch fur­ni­ture. “It’s a lit­tle bit twig and a lit­tle bit Adiron­dack—it’s called ‘use what you’ve got!’ ” Carol says with a laugh.

The cou­ple also pull out all the stops when cre­at­ing a wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment. For most hosts, mak­ing up a guest bed in­volves dress­ing it in fresh li­nens, but the An­der­sons lit­er­ally made their vis­i­tors a cot­tagestyle bed from left­over fenc­ing. “We had guests com­ing in a cou­ple hours,” says Carol, who re­calls ask­ing Bill, “Don’t we have some­thing we can use to make a bed?”

Al­though the An­der­sons ex­cel at work­ing within a bud­get, they re­fused to cut cor­ners when cre­at­ing their re­treat. “We wanted to do this camp with ex­cel­lence,” Carol ex­plains. “We wanted to make sure it would still be rel­e­vant 20 years from now and not fall­ing down.” The same ap­plies to their home and its built-to-last crafts­man­ship. “It will be a good fam­ily home for the next di­rec­tor when we re­tire,” Carol re­flects. Layers of tex­tures—in­clud­ing the stone hearth, the wood man­tel and fur­ni­ture, a metal fire screen and can­dle­hold­ers— and plenty of nat­u­ral fo­liage make the great room feel es­pe­cially cozy.

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