Interiorssneak peeks

An Oklahoma Lake Home Where Life Is Slower

by Liberty Lausterer

Rachel and Simon Shingleton met in first grade. They went to grade school and high school together and later fell in love while attending the same college. In 2008 they welcomed their son Jude into their Oklahoma City life. Rachel, a graphic designer, blogs about design, décor, and style at Pencil Shavings Studio and Simon works as a Realtor. In 2011 Rachel expanded her blog to include both a product line and an online shop. Then came a series of miscarriages. And with them the loss of hope of having another child. By this time Jude was six and Rachel had fallen in love with a vacation home on Lake Eufaula, a couple of hours from the city. A new build, it was a shell of a building, with walls and little else, but Rachel knew immediately the soaring ceilings and wide open floor plan would be perfect for hosting family gatherings. And she loved that the bedrooms were tucked away upstairs under the eaves. Though their family of three was not what Rachel and Simon had envisioned, they decided to buy the two-bedroom home. Then, the weekend the family moved in, Rachel noticed she felt funny.

On a whim she took a pregnancy test. It was positive. “I couldn’t believe that on the weekend we moved into a TWO-BEDROOM house it turned out we’d be adding another baby to the family,” Rachel shares. Now their family of four, with the addition of son Archer, enjoys weekends and summers at the lake in Carlton Landing. The cottage is located in a rural part of Oklahoma where the cell reception is spotty and there are no street lights, resulting in a night sky ablaze with stars. Rachel and family like swimming and kayaking and sharing meals with neighbors on the wooden boardwalk in front of their home until it’s too dark to see one’s fork and plate. But it’s the simple things they were craving when they bought the home that now mean the most, says Rachel: “the warmth of the sun on our backs at the lake, gently swinging on the porch in the breeze, the sound of the rain on the metal roof, and watching the way the water changes colors out on the lake.”

The family just finished their third summer on Lake Eufaula and Rachel says the house is only now starting to feel lived in. Though Rachel is quick to add she loves the gradual process of layering a home with authenticity. And why rush? The Shingleton vacation home is a place that invites one to move more slowly and with more intention. It may be that as Rachel takes her time transforming the home, it is in some way also transforming her. In 2015, after much introspection, Rachel decided to close her online shop. She did it to reduce her work hours, so she’d have more time with Archer. And because when she made a list of all the things that brought her joy, blogging and design were at the top, and running her online shop was at the bottom. Now in the midst of what she calls a creative sabbatical, Rachel is excited to see where her love of blogging, writing, designing, and interiors will take her. It’s what happens, writes poet Wendell Berry, when we “come into the peace of wild things…and into the presence of still water…For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” —Liberty 

Photography by Rachel Shingleton

Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
"Our happy place is on this swing," says Rachel, who commissioned local artisan Bert Scott to make the swing daybed based off of some photos she provided. "It was the best money I've ever spent." The pillows and rug are from Dash & Albert and the porch bar cart is Fermob by way of Annie Selke.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
There is no street in front of the Shingleton vacation home. Instead, all of the homes open up onto a wooden boardwalk (with designated parking areas in the back of the homes), so kids are safe to run and play without fear of cars. The boardwalk stretches from the lake all the way up past the community pool. "It's fun to hang out on the front porch and watch folks go back and forth to the lake or the pool," Rachel shares. The Shingleton's have not one, but two, front doors.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
As you enter the Shingleton vacation home you are greeted by a painting Rachel commissioned from her friend and artist Rita Ortloff. The farmhouse table is from West Elm and the bench from IKEA.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
Archer sits on the dining table in front of oars Rachel hand painted while she was pregnant with him. "He's a natural born climber, and sometimes the only way to keep the dog from eating whatever's in his hand is for him to get up on the table."
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
Rachel loves how the open floor plan of the main living space makes the 1,300-square-foot home live larger than it is. "So many of the houses that were available at the time featured tiny living rooms but large bedrooms, which didn't feel right for our family lifestyle. I wanted a place where we could all hang out together in the living room -- tiny bedrooms don't bother me!" Navy is Rachel's favorite neutral color. Here she paired a navy Jonathan Louis sofa with yellow Target barstools and a Fab.com pouf.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
The Shingleton's rent the house to vacationers when they're not there, so Rachel chose furnishings and accessories that would be durable but still pretty. "I wanted it to be more casual, but also kid-proof and stylish." The coffee table was made by a craftsman in Oklahoma City based on a photo Rachel gave to him. The Eames knock-off chair sits next to a vintage Henredon Campaign TV stand. The rug is from Williams-Sonoma Home.
The Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
Rachel made use of this little nook, between a side door and kitchen, by having custom shelves installed. She likes finding special objects that remind her of a family trip or offer inspiration in some way to make their new build feel lived in.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
A Mississippi stamp photo by Leslee Mitchell is seen alongside a Jill Rosenwald vase and wooden orb from Target.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
Rachel says designing the boys' room was the easiest and most fun to decorate and feels the most complete. "It's so happy and campy!" For a bright and whimsical room, Rachel chose Land of Nod beds, Serena & Lily and Land of Nod bedding, and Woolrich blankets.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
A vintage hutch from Craigslist was painted a fire engine red for the boys' room. It offers much needed storage since the bedrooms don't have closets. A Sharp Tooth Studio banner and Mapiful print of Carlton Landing are playful additions to the room.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
The master bedroom has been the hardest for Rachel to design. "The bed frame is mine from when I was a teenager and I think it makes me feel like a kid myself to still be sleeping in it. I want it to feel a little more grownup and refined." The Hudson's Bay point blanket was a Christmas gift from Simon who knows how much Rachel loves a good stripe.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
Rachel is thinking about painting the master bedroom a deep, moody matte navy. Room and Board side tables and pillows from Pottery Barn and Land of Nod offer more examples of how Rachel combines a simple, clean aesthetic with bold punches of color.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
Opposite the bed in the master bedroom is this little nook that was intended as a closet in the original floor plan. Rachel is refinishing a large vintage dresser to replace the white dresser shown here, which will allow for more storage. The lamps in the master bedroom are from Robert Abbey Delta and Lamps Plus.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
Rachel added the stripes using a roll of navy vinyl.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
The full-size bathroom at the end of the hallway is filled with shiplap and penny tile. "It gets a little crazy sometimes [with one full bath] when we've got a full house, but it's worked out beautifully thus far." As for the downstairs powder room, Rachel is thinking about wallpapering it. The colors of the Dash & Albert rug and Target star pop against Benjamin Moore's Decorator White paint (found throughout).
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
The Shingleton family needed the interior of the home to be durable and able to hold up to the rigors of lake life, not to mention the extremes of Oklahoma weather. Rachel routinely throws the upstairs rug into the wash and is a firm believer in the indoor/outdoor and stain-resistant fabrics she's incorporated. The weekend the family moved into their vacation home, Jude spilled bright red snow cone juice all over their beloved porch swing. Yikes! But it washed out beautifully. Between her two boys, and the family dog Nickels, Rachel says these fabrics are a must-have. Blue boat art from Ocean & Sea hangs on more shiplap. The basket is from Land of Nod.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
Between the front porch and boardwalk, the Shingletons have a lot more living space beyond their 1,300-square-foot home. "I really never realized how much I loved outdoor living until we bought this house. I know that sounds silly, but it's so dreamy," Rachel admits.
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
The Shingleton family likes to have picnics on their patio and to gather with neighbors on the boardwalk for a meal. Everyone brings a table, chairs, and a dish to share. "I'm thankful for community; we live close to our neighbors and it's close quarters. But the benefit is that we've become great friends with so many of them, and it's all the moms keeping tabs on all the kids. It makes you realize just how isolated you can be in the city."
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
One of the things Rachel loves most about her home is the enormous pantry. "We don't have one in Oklahoma City, so I love the storage!"
Shingleton family vacation home tour for Design*Sponge
"One of my favorite memories is the first weekend after we moved in. We had dinner with friends and stayed well after midnight. As we walked home to our house, it was totally dark and still and the most brilliant stars I’ve ever seen were twinkling above us. There are no streetlights in Carlton Landing, so it was really, REALLY dark. We held hands and said to each other 'I can’t believe we’re actually here!' It was really a dream come true."

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