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