After marrying in 1994, Dave Jacobs and Carolyn Goering purchased an architecturally unique home, with waterfront access to the private ninety-acre lake within Spring Arbor subdivision in Carbondale. It was the first home constructed in the subdivision, in 1962, and has provided many years of serene enjoyment for the couple and their family. With three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a den, a dining room that shares space with a music room, and a wrap-around deck on the upper level, it has been an idyllic place for the couple to live. Boasting flat planes, large windows that open onto the natural landscape of the property, and an open floor plan, the structure is a beautiful example of mid-century modern architecture. The building is partially earth-sheltered, being built into the hillside that faces the lake. Allowing for insulation, quietude, and shelter from storms, the lower level has large windows along the south wall of each of the three bedrooms, so that the first view in the morning is of the sparkling waters of Spring Arbor Lake.
”It’s great to wake up and be able to look out at the lake each morning,” said Goering.
The upper level of the home boasts an even more sweeping view of the lush landscape, with windows taking up the majority of wall space from one end of the south wall to the other, from the floor, nearly to the ceiling. The immense windows allow Jacobs and Goering to embrace an intimacy with the stunning views, but as with any home, in 2016 it came time to replace the windows. While discussing the repairs, the couple decided to take it a step further and extensively renovate the upper level. They wanted a shift from the intense color schemes and brightly colored artwork of the living area, while also preserving their breathtaking view.
“The hallway was yellow, the music room was green, and we had a lot of really bright artwork. One day when we started talking about replacing the windows I said, ‘I don’t love all these bright colors. It’s too much’,” remembered Goering.
Taking on the majority of the general contractor responsibilities, Jacobs did most of the work on the renovation.
“My father was an electrician so I was brought up in the building trade. He built a couple houses along the way so I was pretty well versed in that,” remarked Jacobs.
The renovation took a bit longer than expected, and while the couple planned on welcoming guests to their newly refinished home for the 2016 solar eclipse, they hosted on a particle board floor with a giant folding table, but thoroughly enjoyed the event nonetheless.
“When you try to be your own general contractor, that comes with it,” said Goering.
From bright walls to peaceful surroundings
Situated at the end of a cul-de-sac, the rear entrance of the house leads into a foyer where a bright red wall leads downstairs to the bedrooms. A short jaunt around the foyer leads into the heart of the home, where an immaculate kitchen awaits. With a dark gray slate tile floor and sueded granite countertops, the kitchen is a cook’s dream. Recessed lighting over the sink and hanging light fixtures over the countertop add ample light in the evening hours, while there is no lack of natural light during the day, with windows that span the entire wall.
A glass cooktop sits on the countertop facing the dining room and on the rear wall, double ovens and a stainless steel refrigerator sit on either side of the prep sink, that has a contrasting dark granite top and a stone backsplash. The points of contact in the U-shaped kitchen are perfectly spaced out, providing an enjoyable experience for any culinarian.
Light, almost silver, tile covers the wall around the bay window above the main sink, making for an ideal location to tidy up the dishes while gazing upon the ripples of Spring Arbor Lake. As the general contractors and designers of their own renovation, Jacobs and Goering were able to update the kitchen with their own specific needs in mind, such as making many of the cabinets in the kitchen drawers rather than doors to accommodate Jacobs’ tall stature.
“It just kind of came together. It’s a lot more comfortable,” said Goering.
Most importantly, the renovation of the kitchen included removing a wall that was even with the far countertop and ensuring that the new countertops were low enough to not obstruct the view to the outside. Even the bars on the deck outside were replaced with stainless steel wires so as to improve the view.
“We cook quite a bit and one thing that we like in this particular floorplan is that the level of the countertop is all the same. We wanted everything to be low,” remarked Jacobs.
The place to entertain
After all, the tall windows facing out onto the private lake are one of the most enjoyable year-round features of the home.
Stools are set up on the east side of the kitchen counter for a convenient breakfast setting, but the dining room on the opposite side of the west countertop is where the couple have a perfect spot for entertaining guests. The white oak table, with a strip of maple down the center, and matching bench, are one of a kind pieces handmade by an artist in North Carolina. The table can seat up to twelve diners with the addition of the low-back, cream-colored upholstered chairs. The bench allows for an uninterrupted view out the window when just Jacobs and Goering are dining. The light fixture above the dining room table is both low-profile and noteworthy. While it doesn’t stand out or detract from the flow of the space, the offset junction box, with seven separate corded lights hanging from the ceiling, looks as though it was made for the room. As with the custom table, the dough bowl atop the dining table was a find from the Nashville Flea Market that the couple frequent when visiting Jacobs’ daughter there. Connected to the dining room is a wood fireplace that has a galvanized pot for wood storage, also from the flea market. While Jacobs and Goering love searching for pieces in Nashville, they are also fond of local items in their decor. The fireplace, whose red bricks were replaced with ivory colored stonework, boasts a mantle piece from a wood mill in Murphysboro.
“We were looking online as we wanted white oak to match the table. But we found this for $45 and it’s a solid piece,” said Jacobs.
In front of the fireplace are a welcoming, shaggy white rug and a camel-colored loveseat where the pair relaxes and listen to music on the record player that sits on the wall opposite the windows. The entire dining area and music room have a cork floor and acoustics have greatly improved with the upgrade. The wall at the back of the music room was originally covered in mirrors but is now adorned with a distinctive design using wood recovered from a demolished local barn. The tradesman who installed the drywall, after removing the mirrors, took his time placing the pieces in a particular order, putting much thought into the final appearance. With so much character in the different boards of red, brown, and tan, the wall is a piece of artwork in itself. Two antique dry sinks complete the area, one salvaged from a home in Mount Vernon and the other an heirloom from Goering’s mother.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the home is the wide array of artwork and decor, from a plethora of different locations, all with a unique story. A large painting hanging between the dining room and kitchen is another find from the Nashville flea market and works perfectly with the neutral tones of the renovated area. Various cityscape watercolor paintings by New Orleans artist, Sean Friloux, hang at different points in the home. A massive round driftwood mirror, that would normally carry a price tag close to one thousand dollars, resides in the foyer. Goering made the piece by hand, using pieces of wood she recovered from the property. In the sitting room on the east side of the kitchen, a homey, Mission style couch and chair sit in the windowed corner of the room. Hanging on the wall in the intimate space are a handful of brilliantly colored needlework canvases from Panama, an impressive collection of Nemadji pottery, and over two dozen masks from the couple’s travels. Every shape, size, color and pattern imaginable is represented in the collection.
“They are from everywhere. Instead of a souvenir, we just buy a mask,” said Jacobs.
The mudroom at the rear of the house is Goering’s jewelry workshop where she works as a silversmith, creating extraordinary bracelets, rings, and pendants. The sunroom on the far end of the house, which was added after the home was built, has three skylights and a continuation of the large picture windows. From several points on the upper level, the family can access the expansive deck. Sunlight is abundant, and Jacobs and Goering enjoy the luxury of this space any time weather permits. A grill is just outside the kitchen door and a cheerful copper sun by local artist, Tom Horn, hangs on the exterior of the house. The deck on the lower level is perfect for rainy days or escaping the midday sun, and with a new ceiling installed during the renovation, it feels like a private, open-air room.
Looking out from the deck, a treehouse sits on the edge of the water and a stone water feature with a babbling brook stretches from the edge of the home down to the lake. Jacobs and Goering have always enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of the lake and say it’s perfect for peaceful boat excursions.
“We can go out on Memorial Day and maybe see one or two people out. The rest of the time we have it mostly to ourselves,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs and Goering enjoy the fashionable, contemporary design of their home, and have worked tirelessly to furnish it with fresh artwork, unique furniture, and statement pieces originating from Murphysboro to Mexico. Their focus on the big picture, as much as the details, in the interior design and renovation of their already impressive and beloved home resulted in a remarkable living space.