Building a Beautiful, Custom Lakefront Home in Solon, Iowa

Was it Seymour the elk? The private dock and waterfront landscaping? The challenges of building on a narrow lot between two bodies of water?

It’s hard to say it was any one thing. That’s what a Corridor couple said when asked why they selected Advantage Signature Homes to build their dream retirement home.

For more than 20 years, the couple owned a second home — a cottage — on Lake Macbride in Solon, Iowa. It was filled with memories of their children and their children’s friends doing cannonballs off the dock and cooking smores by the fire.

Fastforward and their kids are grown and grandchildren are entering the picture. The couple is planning for their retirement after playing prominent roles in the healthcare field in Cedar Rapids.

Their primary home has been a condo along the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids. But as they move toward retirement, they wanted to build a new home where their family could gather– a place with more space and less maintenance. Their goal was to consolidate homes, ultimately making Lake Macbride their primary residence.

For years, the husband had had his eye on a beautiful piece of land that was nestled between two bodies of water. They bid on the land but didn’t get it. While pondering their next move, they started researching builders. Dreams were forming in their heads. Now they needed someone to bring them to life.

Driving through the Solon community one day, they spotted a home they could see was creating a challenging build because of its location. They kept an eye on the build out process and saw how much thought and care went into it. They started asking around to find out who built it. They learned it was Advantage and reached out to set up an appointment.

During the first conversation with the Advantage team, the couple realized one of their children had gone to school with Chad Keune, the owner. It was a small world. Now they felt they had found a reputable builder and someone they could build a trusted partnership with.

All of this was happening as they found out the property they had originally bid on was back on the market. This time they were ready. They entered a bid and secured the land.

“We were really excited, but we also knew the location was going to create some challenges,” the wife said. “It was a long, narrow plot. We needed someone who could work with our architect and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to deal with a number of special requirements related to their dock, the rocked landscaping on the shore, and the waterfront deck.”

The Advantage team had several meetings at the property with the Corp. “We couldn’t have done it without them,“ she said. “They represented us well.”

Back to Seymour.  As construction was nearing completion, the couple mentioned they had a mounted elk who had hung on their cottage wall for decades. Seymour was an essential part of the family culture and they wanted to find a way to bring him to the new home. For three years, while the couple pondered their next move, neighbors near their original cottage on Lake Macbride had been babysitting Seymour.

When the Advantage team heard how important Seymour was to the couple, they knew he had to find his way into the home design. The team set off in their truck to the neighbors house: loaded the elk into the back and drove it down the road to its new home.


“That was above and beyond the call of duty,” the wife said. “They helped us infuse a lot of the charm of our old home here. They refurbished Seymour and hung him in a prominent place in our living room. It generates some of the ambiance we had at the old house and that’s important to us. We wanted our space to be new but we also wanted it to feel like home for us and our children. We didn’t want it to be stuffy and formal.”

In June, the couple moved into their new home. The 3,500 square foot, two-level home has four bedrooms and three baths and sits directly on the water overlooking Lake Macbride. It also has two fireplaces, a screened porch, a custom deck with hot tub, a private dock, a two car garage, and more.

“Now we can wake up in the morning, look outside at the beautiful lake, take boat rides by sunset at night, and enjoy visits from our children and grandchildren,” the wife said. “We love the house. We love the custom touches. Everywhere we look we see something unique or special that we asked the Advantage team to do. They really came through for us.”

Want to learn more about how Advantage infused energy and structural innovation into this home and all of its homes? Read this blog.

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