NORMAN — Worlds don't collide in Kurt and Megan Dinnes' house — they meld pleasantly.
Light walls and wooden floors lend the 25-year-old home a Tuscan feel while dark, heavy furniture throw in an Old World vibe. The mood is more playful in the upstairs theater room, where a toy lion guards an adjacent hallway, but the grand piano downstairs strikes a more elegant note.
Americans like to blend styles, Kurt Dinnes said. It's also a hallmark of Sun Custom Homes, the company he helped found in 2000.
“What we're doing is taking the best of all those things and redesigning them for our clients. It can be to their taste, what they like,” he said.
Kurt Dinnes was 29 years old, single and about a decade into his building career when he built this home in the Crystal Lakes neighborhood in west Norman. He and his wife, Megan, got married about five years later, and their children — Alexa-Lee Dinnes, 19, and Weston Dinnes, 17 — grew up there.
A tour of their home is also a tour of their lives together and the multiple remodels as the house grew along with the family.
Space that once housed the heating and air unit now contains a study, with skylights in the steeply slanted ceiling framing blue, blue sky.
The master bath was expanded at some point to make room for a breakfast bar and a steam shower: Shut the door, set preferences on the control panel inside, and steam immediately billows up, turning it into a sauna.
Steam showers are proving popular with his clients, Dinnes said. “You can sit in there and hide, try to relax,” he said.
Theater rooms also are popular among clients, though Dinnes tweaked his own with a fireplace, as well as art deco flourishes and velvet curtains surrounding the wall-mounted screen, to emulate the feel of an old movie house. It's become the heart of their home, he said.
“The sound system in here is as good as any theater you go to,” he said. “We just love it.”
A guest suite beyond the theater room offers privacy in a fine hotel-like setting, its window looking out on the natural beauty outside. A chaise lounge offers a comfortable place to relax while taking in the view. “I like to come up here and read sometimes,” Dinnes said.
But the real draw may lie outside. Terraced landscaping leads down from the patio and outdoor kitchen, past the pool and down to the water's edge. Beyond that stretches 60 acres of often-sparkling water that makes up the Crystal Lake Reservoir.
Dinnes said his company is including outdoor living spaces in a lot of the houses they build. Clients want them, “and they're willing to pay for them,” he said.
The backyard also offers a lesson on how to turn something utilitarian into something special. A small, stone-lined riverbed stretches from the back of the house to the water with a couple of miniature bridges spanning it. That's how Kurt Dinnes chose to address a water drainage and collection issue, by installing drains and then using stones to blends them into the landscape.
“I hauled in and handset all those myself,” he said.
Like a lot of families, though, the Dinnes clan is seeing their home empty out again. Daughter Alexa is a student at the University of Oklahoma, and son Weston will follow suit next year to pursue a degree in architecture. Weston Dinnes already has taken a huge step forward on his career path, though, designing and building a bungalow in Oklahoma City's Gatewood neighborhood.
Dinnes recalled the conversation with his son, who asked, “Dad, when did you build your first house?'”
Dinnes replied that he was 20.
“He said, ‘I'd like to beat that if I could,'” Kurt Dinnes recalled. “I said, ‘You need someone to finance you.' ”
Dinnes then chuckled. “He said, ‘That's what I wanted to talk to you about.' ”
His son was involved in every aspect of the home from design to building to finishing it out, even figuring out how to wedge a circular drive onto the tiny lot, Kurt Dinnes said. The finished home sold two days after they listed it on the Multiple Listing Service.
For Kurt Dinnes, it was validation.
“He asked if he could do it,” Dinnes said of his son, “and I believed in him.”
Editor's Note: This is one of an occasional series of features about homebuilders and their own homes.
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