When University Park residents Tara and Blake Bozman were looking for a lake property, Tara—who grew up in Northern California—was particularly taken by Possum Kingdom. Located 140 miles west of Dallas, the sprawling lake is surrounded by rocky cliffs and scenic topography, which reminded Tara of her beloved home state. In 2006, the couple purchased a lot overlooking the water in the lake’s gated community The Ranch—and promptly learned they were pregnant with their third child, putting their plans on hold for a few years.
By 2009, they were ready to break ground. Blake interviewed builders in Dallas and Fort Worth but ultimately selected Dan Offield of Graford-based Clearview Construction, who was instrumental in the development of the neighboring Harbor community. The Bozmans tasked Dan with creating a calming sanctuary that would let the natural beauty of the lake take center stage. Priority one was an outdoor living and entertaining area, complete with a pool. “My husband kept saying, ‘We want to start from the outside and work our way in,’” Tara says.
Inside, they wanted space to accommodate lots of family and friends. That meant plenty of beds, of course, but also a large kitchen with abundant seating, a generously sized living area, and space for kids to play. As for the feel of the house, Tara returned to a familiar muse. “Mine was definitely more of a California-inspired home,” she says. “I wanted light and airy, which is very different from what’s out there. I think they thought I was a little crazy. They were like, ‘You want the walls to be white?’ And I was like, ‘Mhmm!’”
“I wanted to make sure it felt like a place that was made for fun and unwinding.”Tracy Hardenburg
Tara hired Dallas-based interior designer Tracy Hardenburg to translate her vision for a relaxing and inviting second home. “They wanted this to be a retreat for their family,” Tracy says. “I wanted to make sure it felt like a place that was made for fun and unwinding.”
Having collaborated previously on the Bozmans’ Dallas home, Tara and Tracy worked hand in hand on decor. “Tara was open to painted floors, hanging beds, colored doors, brick walls, fun tile, and great art,” Tracy says. “The only thing she really pushed for was a glass stair rail. I wasn’t sure at first, but it is definitely one of the prettiest things about the house.”
Aside from the boys’ and girls’ bunkrooms, which received vivid splashes of color, Tracy kept the palette soothing and neutral. “It feels calming and sophisticated but all the layers are still casual in themselves,” Tracy says. “I put more effort in the textures than lots of color.”
Once the Bozmans got to see the finished product, they were blown away. (They love it so much, in fact, that they were inspired to renovate their Dallas home shortly thereafter. “We’d come home from the lake and I’d be, like, ‘Our house just feels so dark…’” Tara laughs.)
The five-bedroom lake house comfortably sleeps 22—and has. The kitchen plays host to big breakfasts and group-prepared dinners. The pool is a favorite of the kids’ year round, and the adults can supervise from the comfort of a cabana, the outdoor bar, or the covered seating lounge.
“It feels calming and sophisticated but all the layers are still casual in themselves.”Tara Bozman
“There is not a corner left untouched or forgotten about,” Tracy says. Indeed, even the laundry room is thoughtfully appointed, lit by a pair of Visual Comfort chandeliers and featuring double washers and dryers to handle the copious linens and towels 22 people can produce in a weekend. Possibly the only thing the house doesn’t have in large quantities? TVs. “We purposely decided not to put TVs everywhere because we want people to unplug,” says Tara, who even collects the kids’ electronics to encourage offline fun.
While Tara and Blake appreciate being able to host a small army, they also love getting away with just their brood—children Ryan, 13; Landrie, 11; and Cannon, 8. In the end, that’s what the house was all about.
“People had told us having a lake house created great family memories, so that was really our reasoning for building it,” Tara says. “It was an investment in our family and friends.”