The Lake House

Happy Wednesday friends! Hope you are having a great week! I often get lots of questions about the ‘lake house’ so I thought I would post about it and our reasoning behind it.   We celebrated 5 years last April of the Lake house.   Karl and I have always been big time planners both short and long term.  In our mid 40’s we were looking ahead to the future of our family especially Riley. As most know, he has a rare syndrome called Cornelia de Lange Syndrome cdls  I often get the question  “What will be his quality of life as he gets older?”  And our answer: We don’t know and we wish we had a crystal ball, but what we are preparing for is him to live with us in some capacity or another, but let me explain that in more detail. 

As a child I grew up spending many summers in Sarasota, Florida.  My grandparents were ‘snowbirds’ spending 6 months in Cleveland, Ohio, where I grew up, and then 6 months in Sarasota.  We would visit every July for a month.  I have many fond memories of my childhood visiting them at their summer home.  My parents kept that tradition every summer but after my grandparents passed they went farther south to Venice.  My uncle had a condo on the beach for many years and my parents would stay there.  Once he sold it, they still would vacation in Venice but at various other beach condo’s.  Once they both retired they moved there permanently.  We still visited Venice because it wasn’t commercialized and crowded and enjoyed the Venice beaches.  Back in November 2012 we went down for Thanksgiving and started looking for a condo to invest in. After many searches and conversations we decided not to buy. The main reason was how often we would get down there.  4 kids, all their activities, Karl’s work schedule, and how would this purchase fit in with Riley? So we nixed that idea.  We came home after that week and just decided to wait.   

Earlier that year, Karl’s mom had just retired from Kent State University.  She sold her house in Kent, Ohio and was literally living between our house and her daughters in Minnesota.  She really wanted to live here due to the weather but was still in between.  January 2013 rolls around and Karl asks me “how about a house on the lake?” “Maybe Mom would/could live there?”   After many discussions we decided to start looking.  Karl started searching Zillow and found a few on Lake Lanier.  With the help of our realtor family friend,  we went out on a Sunday that February to look at a few.  Not really being sure about all this, we pulled up to the first house.  6 minutes north of the outlet mall on GA 400 on the north end of the lake.  Cute little neighborhood with some large homes, some shacks, some not so nice houses (No HOA) and then this quaint little ‘lake’ house.  Not on the lake but right across the street.  It Looked small on the outside but spacious on the inside and so nice!  Kitchen was redone, tongue and groove ceilings throughout, bead board walls, a 3 min walk to the dock and just so darn cute.  It needed work on the outside but nothing we couldn’t fix. We saw several other houses that day that were not so nice. Like, bad!  Total renovations were needed on them and some even needed to be completely torn down and rebuilt.   I could see why people would do this and buy land on the lake but we were not ready to ‘build’ a house.

Relator listing picture 2013

We really liked that first house.  It was in our price range and didn’t need a lot of work.  We put an offer in the following week.  The house was vacant and the owners lived in Michigan so after back and forth negotiations, inspections, etc. We closed on April 2, 2013.   The rest was a whirlwind!  We were so excited to have this place but that meant we needed to get the place ready for Rosann to get her stuff out of storage in Kent, move it down here and outfit it with furniture, beds, décor and so on.  We had her moved in  3 weeks later and it came together nicely.   

Spring 2018
Spring 2018
Spring 2018
Spring 2018



We slowly but surely  got things done.  We did have to get a few big ticket items:   a new septic tank,  a new well, and new HVAC but we knew that going in.  So why do we call it The Rissland Adventure compound?  Well, my Uncle ended up buying the house next door so  “The Rissland Adventure Compound” was born!  The memories we have made at the lake have just been awesome!  The kids absolutely love running between the 2 houses and love having their friends come up to visit.  It is a place for us to get away, and relax with family and friends. 





Who knows what the future may hold but the plan is to retire up there in one of the houses (possibly rebuild one) and the other house will be for Riley and possibly a friend/s so he can be nearby in his adult years.  That will be another road to process but one we will tackle as it gets closer.


Until next time,



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