Spacious in Solon

Homeowners find comfort in nature

SOLON — On an inlet in the middle of Lake Macbride, just southwest of Solon, a small cluster of homes is nestled on a private road, surrounded by trees and water.

When Sharon and Mark Hollinrake came across the lakefront neighborhood, they were hooked. They’d been looking for a house near water for a long time. So when land on Cottage Reserve Road went on the market, they bought it the next day and set out to design and build their dream home.

The Hollinrakes said incorporating the lake into the design of their custom house was key. They wanted to have as many windows as possible, to let in natural light, fresh air and a view of the water. Almost the entire north side of the house is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Exposed brick, rock chimneys and a palette heavily reliant on earth tones, with splashes of red and green, are featured throughout the house.

“We wanted to try to be rustic, like the lake,” Mark says.

Rustic, but also comfortable and spacious. At about 5,000 square feet, the home has six bedrooms and four bathrooms spread over two stories, along with a finished basement, a home gym and two garages.

“We have five daughters, and we wanted space for all of them,” Sharon says. “Three live close by, and we have family dinners at least once a week.”

To accommodate those family dinners, along with frequent visits from friends and neighbors, plenty of seating fills the kitchen and dining room. A beverage bar in the dining area lets visitors grab what they need from a refrigerated drawer that blends in with the cabinetry. Other appliances, such as the refrigerator in the kitchen and the television in the living room, also are hidden behind cabinet doors, contributing to the rustic feel the couple ascribes to.

The main floor features an open floor plan — the kitchen, living and dining area are all one big, airy room. The space is designed so visitors and cooks in the kitchen can interact with ease.

The ceiling over the living area lofts to the second floor, where Sharon’s home office overlooks the lower level, allowing her to see out through the living room’s floor-to-ceiling windows as she works. A sunroom with windows on three walls extends off the dining area and provides access to a porch, which also can be accessed from the living room.

The house actually features three porches. The basement-level porch is accessible via French doors from a comfortable family room with bookshelf-lined walls. Another porch, on the second floor, opens off the Hollinrake’s master bedroom.

“You can come up with hot chocolate and watch the stars,” Mark says.

Porches aren’t the only thing the Hollinrakes incorporated on every level of their home. A gray stone chimney surrounding a gas fireplace dominates the living room’s west wall. Gas fireplaces also are found in the finished basement and in the master bedroom.

Another unique feature of the home is a geothermal heating system. Because the land the house sits on is not much bigger than the house itself, the geothermal system required 300-foot wells to be sunk deep under the house.

Mark, 58, has retired from a career in engineering. Sharon, 56, works for the state. The couple hired Paul Brundell of Hiawatha-based Allan Custom Homes to design the house. Getting all the details just as they wanted was a lengthy process. The Hollinrakes bought the lot in December 2009 and broke ground just more than a year later. They moved in to their finished home in the spring of 2012.

Together the lot and house have an assessed value of $789,600. There isn’t much yard, but that’s fine with the Hollinrakes. This house has an outdoor fire pit a few steps from their basement porch, and they say the sitting area around it is all the yard they need.

After all, if they want to enjoy the outdoors, it’s only a three-minute walk down to the dock, where their pontoon is moored. Mark says in warmer months they regularly take the boat out to eat dinner on the lake.

“It’s a little slice of heaven,” Sharon says.

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