Retreat. Rest. Relax.
By Meda Kessler
Photos by Ralph Lauer
Cozy. Compact. Architectural icon.
When we think of an A-frame home, images of a snow-covered mountain cabin or rustic waterside lodge come to mind. Big windows allow for mindless gazing; activities include a heavy rotation of R & R.
For Laura and Mike Kelly, a 978-square-foot A-frame on Lake Granbury turned out to be just such an idyllic, if compact, getaway. Trees frame their views of the water; afternoon activities include watching a gaggle of geese waddle out for a swim.
The Fort Worth couple, who married in November 2020, were casually looking for out-of-town property with some land. “We wanted a place where Mike could hunt and I could fix up a little country house,” says Laura, who has already renovated a couple of homes.
Laura, a real estate agent with Burt Ladner, found properties in surrounding counties that she and Mike would check out on weekend drives. They narrowed their search to Granbury and Glen Rose to avoid a long commute.
While the 1985 A-frame wasn’t the vacation home they had envisioned, they were smitten with the property on a tree-lined canal leading to the lake. “It had a little dock, and the canal was full of geese. We fell in love with it immediately,” says Laura.
Water frontage being a hot commodity in an already competitive real estate market, the Kellys didn’t get the house until several months later, after an initial offer from another bidder fell through. They closed in April 2021 and spent Easter in the A-frame for their inaugural stay. They also did a gender reveal on their dock with immediate family.
With the pandemic curtailing travel and Laura being pregnant, the Kellys spent last summer fixing up the two-bedroom, two-bathroom house. “Weekends started with blueberry pancakes on the square in Granbury, followed by trips to Home Depot for supplies,” says Laura. Mike owned a boat, so they could also enjoy the water along with their bird-watching along the canal.
Because she has an eye for design, Laura knew she wanted to keep the A-frame simple, casual and comfortable. “It was in good shape when we bought it, and the previous owner left several pieces of furniture, including a pair of bedside tables, which fit perfectly under the sloped walls. And I had two chairs in the living room slipcovered.”
They also added new countertops and tub and shower surrounds in the bathrooms, updated light fixtures throughout and repaired the back deck. Laura loved the Ralph Lauren-esque plaid carpet and was thrilled when she found someone local to stretch it back into shape. “The house turned out to be the perfect pandemic project,” says Laura.
A free-standing wood-burning fireplace in one corner of the living room offers a midcentury vibe along with heating the cabin and upping the cozy factor. You won’t find a European range, marble counters or a flatscreen TV; the Kellys want to keep things low-maintenance. For visitors who need to stay plugged in, there is Wi-Fi.
When baby Bo, their daughter, was born in October, they started offering the A-frame to Airbnb guests. It booked up quickly for weekends.
“It attracts couples, old and young, along with girlfriends looking for a low-key getaway,” says Laura.
For the Kellys, lake stays include trips to Granbury’s quaint square. Mike wants to teach Bo how to fish and wakeboard when she gets older.
They have enjoyed adjusting to the slower lifestyle. As Mike says, “I sleep better out here than I do in the city.”