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The Simpler Life: Why One Editor Left Dallas for Lake House Living

D Home editorial director Jamie Laubhan-Oliver explains how her family's vacation home became their primary residence.
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Jamie Laubhan Oliver's Cedar Creek Lake Dome, Kitchen
In the kitchen of our Cedar Creek Lake house, we retained the natural wood and bottle-bottom glass cabinet fronts in keeping with the dome’s retro charm, D Home editorial director Jamie Laubhan-Oliver says. Elizabeth Lavin
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The Simpler Life: Why One Editor Left Dallas for Lake House Living

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I grew up in a town of 300 people in the Texas Panhandle, where my only sources of entertainment were checking on cattle and rearranging my bedroom. I was restless and wanted nothing more than to escape that town, that way of life. I left the moment I could. When I moved to Dallas in 2003, I marveled at the convenience of urban living. I devoured every inch of the city, with home being merely a quick pit stop for sleep before I ventured out again. 

As I got older, I began to enjoy those excursions less and less, preferring weekends spent making upgrades to my Oak Cliff home. Eventually, I ran out of things to do there and needed a new project. Enter: our 1980s geodesic dome at Cedar Creek Lake. 

The dome came with a vibe. It is a vibe. I felt it the moment we walked in the door. It wasn’t an aesthetic I was searching for or even particularly cared for—I never thought my mood board would include carpet, popcorn ceilings, and wood paneling—but we embraced the throwback charm. That’s part of what makes it magical: It’s a time capsule of nostalgia. With the help of some textured fabrics, terra-cotta tones, and a lot of incense, we made the dome a home. As opposed to our Dallas house, which is photoshoot ready at any given moment, the dome is a place where mistakes can happen and nothing is precious. What started out of necessity to fill an entirely new space with an entirely new style became a thrilling hunt for thrift store scores, fleamarket finds, and Facebook Marketplace discards. 

Moments of Zen: Helping to set the ’70s mood are an abundance of incense, candles, and my ever-present caftans. The gong gives us a symbolic way to start or end the day. It’s always fun to summon overnight guests to breakfast that way.

Each week, we’d wait impatiently for Friday, when we could escape to the lake. The thought of leaving on Sundays dampened our Zen like a snuffed stick of incense. When a career change landed my husband in Tyler, Texas, the dome became the middle ground between our jobs. It seemed natural to make it our main residence and flip Dallas to our second.

I was afraid making our retreat our primary residence would kill the allure, but that hasn’t been the case. Instead of an escape from the week, it’s now an escape from the day. I stay connected to Dallas, spend my days scouring showrooms, then get a vacation every evening. It’s the best of both worlds. And now, weekends in Dallas are a treat—we once again enjoy playing tourists in our own city. 

Thanks to this place, I’m seeing the beauty in a simpler way of life. We have a tiny grocery store and three restaurants, which is plenty. We don’t have traffic, which is lovely. I don’t wear makeup, which has done wonders for my skin. And I’m finding time to be creative again, experimenting with art and taking up cooking. My husband, meanwhile, has discovered a love for singing bowls. We’ve traded nightly movies on the couch for sound baths under the stars. (With a little help from a projector, the dome makes a great planetarium.) 

When we embarked on this project, I didn’t realize that the subject would actually be me. Through exploration, I’ve come into my own and learned what makes me truly happy. Turns out maybe I am a small-town girl at heart—and that’s not a bad thing after all.

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Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

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Jamie happily directs the show at all times and in all places. When she's not telling all of us what…

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