Mid-Century Modern Gem on Lake Rowena

A cherished family home on the shores of Lake Rowena in Orlando gets a second chance to make new memories after a respectful restoration

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Architect Ray Scott and his wife Katherine have always relished their visits to her childhood home, a sprawling, 4,000-square-foot mid-century modern gem on the shores of Orlando’s Lake Rowena that was built back in 1961. There, Katherine’s parents raised four children, hosted dozens (if not hundreds) of holiday and birthday parties, and amassed countless memories. With such profound ties, the couple refused to move to a senior living community without assurance that the property would be kept in the family.  

“The other three siblings weren’t interested in it,” says Scott. “And although Katherine and I had a home we really liked, being the architect I am I rose to the challenge, so we sold our place in 2018 and embarked on a renovation.” 

The driving force behind the restoration’s design direction was Lake Rowena, which had been hidden from view from inside the structure for nearly 60 years. “I’d been coming to the house for family dinners for 20 years and [never noticed that the water view] was entirely blocked unless you were in the backyard,” says Scott. “We set out to remedy that.”

Since knocking down the structure and starting from scratch was not an option, Scott, a Nils Schweizer protégé, concentrated on revamping the house and capitalizing on its enviable, one-acre position on the water. At the same time, he began the search for an interior designer who shared his vision. After some research, he invited John McClain for a site visit. 

“The house had the most amazing energy, and I could see its potential from the moment I pulled into the driveway,” says McClain about that initial walkthrough. “It was a great trifecta of family, nostalgia, and location.”

With McClain on board, the two design professionals were quick to develop a synergy between the architecture and design as ideas were thrown around, and a vision emerged. “It was critical that we maintain the mid-century modern elements, and keep the clean lines and the connection to nature,” says McClain. “Our ultimate goal was to make every single aspect focus on the lake and the water view.”

To that end, they popped out the entryway and principal bedroom, relocated the kitchen that previously faced the driveway, refreshed the original exterior brick with paint, added cedar, zinc, and coarse Texas limestone to the front’s exterior, installed metal roofs and black iron doors, brought down unnecessary walls, and eliminated window transoms and non-view spaces to bring the exterior in and make the lake vistas the focal point they should have always been. 

In terms of the look inside, McClain and his team relied on the Scotts’ art collection for inspiration. “Ray and Katherine were totally decisive; they wanted color, vibrancy, and a lively home filled with their art and collectibles,” says McClain. “They were willing to take risks; every space had to have an element of exhilaration in relation to their artwork and its colors.”

This approach is particularly evident in the family room, where a striking Harold E. Larsen abstract of mostly red swirls is a teaser of the hues, styles, and patterns that one will encounter in the rest of the home. As expected, from living room to primary bedroom the furniture nods to mid-century modern’s clean lines and graphic shapes. “It’s very important for me to establish a mood from the moment one walks through the front door,” says McClain. “We were very strategic in where we placed color, so the eye could rest and take a break. We even questioned certain throw pillows.”

As the L.A.- and Orlando-based McClain sees it, the renovation was not only successful, but it infused the house with a touch of wonder. “You’re relaxed and at ease here, but also instantly intrigued,” he says. “You’re drawn to every room.” For Scott, who insists this is the last house he’ll ever design, it’s more about a full circle moment. “Every view from every room now is like a Norman Rockwell painting thanks to the lake views,” he says. “Now we’re ready for new memories.” 

Story Credits:

Interior Design by John McClain, Alice Mulcock, & Heather Rau, John McClain Design, Orlando, FL

Architecture by Raymond Scott, Scott + Cormia Architecture & Design, Orlando, FL

Text by Michelle Payer

Photography by Michael Pelzer, Orlando, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

Sources

Living Room

Sofa designed by John McClain Design, Orlando, FL, and fabricated by DRNC, Conover, NC

Yellow chaise designed by John McClain Design, Orlando, FL, and fabricated by DRNC, Conover, NC

Side chairs – Modloft, modloft.com

Cocktail table – Bludot, bludot.com

Fireplace designed by John McClain Design, Orlando, FL, and fabricated by Dandy Fabrications Inc., Orlando, FL

Floating cabinetry designed by John McClain Design, Orlando, FL, and fabricated by Feely Developments, Winter Park, FL

Artwork above cabinetry – Owner’s collection

Area rug – Royce Wool Carpets, Austin, TX

Kitchen

Cabinetry wall designed by John McClain Design, Orlando, FL, and Smithport Cabinetry, Smithville, TN, and fabricated by Cabinetry Creations, Orlando, FL

Island designed by John McClain Design, Orlando, FL, and Smithport Cabinetry, Smithville, TN, and fabricated by Cabinetry Creations, Orlando, FL

Stools – CB2, cb2.com

Hanging pendants – Kuzco Lighting, Light Bulbs Unlimited, Winter Park, FL

Dining table – Owner’s collection

Chairs – Scan Design, Orlando, FL

Family Room

Round table and chairs – Owner’s collection

Wall art – Area Environments, Jeffrey Michaels Showroom, SFDP, Hollywood, FL

Abstract metal art – Gold Leaf Design Group, Chicago, IL

Sofa designed by John McClain Design, Orlando, FL, and fabricated by DRNC, Conover, NC

Club chair – Four Hands LLC, Austin, TX

Cocktail table – Sunpan, sunpan.com

Floor lamp – Owner’s collection

Seating Area

Club chairs – Nuevo Living, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ottomans and drink table – Blu Dot, bludot.com

Black abstract sculpture in corner – Gold Leaf Design Group, Chicago, IL

Primary Bath

Cabinetry – Elmwood, Cabinetry Creations, Orlando, FL

Vessel sinks – MTI, Ferguson Enterprises, Orlando, FL

Tub – MTI, Ferguson Enterprises, Orlando, FL

Drink table – Blu Dot, bludot.com

Tiled wall – MIR Collections, Pro Source, Orlando, FL

Primary Bedroom

Bed and headboard – Modloft, modloft.com

Side tables – Modloft, modloft.com

Table lamps – Owner’s collection

Wall covering – Omexco, Romo, DCOTA, Dania Beach, FL, and fabricated by The Wallpaper Guy, Deltona, FL

Artwork on wall – Owner’s collection

Ceiling designed by John McClain Design, Orlando, FL, and fabricated by Feely Developments, Winter Park, FL

Area rug – Jaipur Living, jaipurliving.com

Exterior

Patio lounges – Brown Jordan, St. Augustine, FL

Fire pit and sconces – Owner’s collection

Throughout

Doors – Trustile Doors LLC, Denver, CO

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