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Winter Edition 2020

In s ide stories

Builders’ skills, creativity , attention to detail put on display Owners team up with area builders to build dream homes

Home for sale ideal for entertaining guests Local journaler uses art as method of therapy

Ezell offers methods to keep fitness motivation going

MUSKOGEE muskogeephoenix.com


DEDICATED TO WOMEN’S HEALTH.

With an experienced staff of physicians and a certified nurse midwife (CNM), Warren Clinic provides comprehensive care for women at any stage of their lives. Medical services include annual wellness exams, prenatal care, labor and delivery, pre- and postmenopausal care, gynecological surgery, breast health services and more. Labor and delivery services are provided at Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee, which offers the resources and expertise you and your baby need, including private birthing rooms and a board-certified lactation consultant.

Jonathan Baldwin, M.D.

Edwin Henslee, M.D.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the Warren Clinic OB/GYN office near you. Sarah Poplin, APRN-CNM

WARREN CLINIC MUSKOGEE 3504 West Okmulgee Street Muskogee, Oklahoma Jonathan Baldwin, M.D. 918-686-5399

101 Rockefeller Drive, Suite 203 Muskogee, Oklahoma Edwin Henslee, M.D. 918-683-1831

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WARREN CLINIC FORT GIBSON 108 Lone Oak Circle Fort Gibson, Oklahoma Sarah Poplin, APRN-CNM Jonathan Baldwin, M.D. 918-478-6005


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Winter Edition 2020 Issue 55

facebook.com/greencountryliving

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60 Featured Homes

Inside

6 Higgins

50 Beyond the Listing

Woods builds home with space for family to feel ‘at home.’

18 Simmons Williams builds lakeside home with Lake Eufaula Dam in mind.

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Rice Garrison builds Lake Tenkiller home with spectacular views.

40 Mackey Former Braggs residents entrust Slape to build farm house.

Publisher Ed Choate Editor Elizabeth Ridenour Contributing editor Angela Jackson Layout & Design Josh Cagle WRITERS Cathy Spaulding, Chesley Oxendine, Heather Ezell PHOTOGRAPHERS Kenton Brooks, Mandy Corbell, Heather Ezell, Chesley Oxendine, Shawn Raper ADVERTISING Director Marci Diaz Apple ADVERTISING SALES Angela Jackson, Therese Lewis, Krysta Aich, Kris Hight Green Country Living is published by the Muskogee Phoenix. Contents of the magazine are by the Muskogee Phoenix. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior consent of the Muskogee Phoenix. Green Country Living, P.O. Box 1968, Muskogee OK 74402. email eridenour@muskogeephoenix.com - Editorial: (918) 684-2929 Advertising and distribution: (918) 684-2804

On the Cover

Smith Ferry Road home features spacious room to entertain.

Winter Edition 2020

60 Art of the Matter Creating art journals is therapeutic for Sandy Wyatt.

Bob Rice entertains guests in his living room offering a sweeping lake view.

70 For your Health Author shares tips to improve, maintain fitness for 2020.

76 Scene & Be Seen Chat, hang out, relax and smile because you’re on camera.

In s Ide storIes

Builders’ skills, creativity , attention to detail put on display Owners team up with area builders to build dream homes

Home for sale ideal for entertaining guests Local journaler uses art as method of therapy

Ezell offers methods to keep fitness motivation going

Photo by Mandy Corbell

MUSKOGEE muskogeephoenix.com Green Country Living

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Higgins

Room to

relax

Higgins family settles into home built by Woods

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cott and Erica Higgins had no time to lose when they moved to Muskogee from Chandler, Arizona. “We had one day to look at houses,” Erica Higgins recalled. They settled on a fourbedroom house with a

three-car garage near Cobblestone Golf Club. Steven Woods of Lone Oak Ventures built the Higgins house about two years ago. He said he also built a couple of other spec homes in Cobblestone Estates. He built three or four other houses in the nearby subdivision, The Villas.

By Cathy Spaulding • Photos by Mandy Corbell

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Rock trim around the bottom of brick exterior, as well as atop the entrance, is one of the things Steve Woods adds to make each of his homes unique.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Higgins

The Higgins home offers a cozy dining area that opens onto the back porch.

The Higginses moved into their house in December 2018. Scott Higgins is a helicopter pilot for Air Evac. Erica Higgins is an environmental consultant who works at home. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Sloane, plus two dogs, Einstein and Amelia. The home’s exterior features a blend of red brick and gray stone. Stonework runs knee-high around the brick. “We try to put a few extras in like that, that are a little unusual,” Woods said. “Not every house on the block has one.” The Higgins’ high-pitched roof offers space for an upstairs

“We had one day to look at houses.” — Erica Higgins

bonus room and guest bedroom. Woods said he wants homeowners to feel comfortable and “at home” when they come in. “We just try to use a big, open inviting front door that’s not just squeezed out,” he said. “One that kind of opens the whole house up.” Earth tones, such as the beige carpeting and sandy walls enhance the comfortable feel of the Higgins home. Woods said he seeks to offer plenty of space in his homes. This usually comes through the open kitchen, dining room and living room floor plan, he said. “It makes the most sense for today’s interest and the way

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Erica Higgins and her 2-year-old daughter, Sloane, make themselves comfortable in their southern Muskogee home.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Higgins people live today,” he said. “We try to incorporate as much space as we can in open areas.” People like open floor plans because they don’t want to be sectioned off, Woods said. “The wife cooking dinner doesn’t like to be sectioned off by the family watching TV or doing homework.” The open plan also accommodates parties and get-togethers, he said. Erica Higgins said she liked their

We just try to use “a big, open inviting

front door that’s not just squeezed out. — Steven Woods

house’s open floor plan, “and the neighborhood is very nice.” The only new furniture the Higgins bought was the dining set from Pottery Barn. A high ceiling makes the living room seem especially open. Woods said he likes putting 9- or 10-foot ceilings in his homes. “In some of them, we might do beam work in the kitchen, living room

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LEFT: Windows from the living room, dining area, master bedroom and an upstairs bonus room open onto a backyard.

BOTTOM: The master bathroom features a soaking tub, plus his and hers sinks and cabinets.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Higgins

The Higgins kitchen features granite countertops and contrasting cabinetry, a trademark of a Steve Woods house.

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Sloane Higgins has a pink house in a play room. She also has her own bedroom.

or fireplace area,” he said. got a character of its own.” Wood beams, including one used as a mantle, frame Erica said she likes the walk-in pantry. “All the storage,” she said. “It’s convenient not to have the gas fireplace. New light fixtures in the kitchen and breakfast area all the appliances on the countertop.” are the only changes the Higginses The kitchen features black made to the house. Whirlpool appliances. Cabinets are in two colors. Those along the Erica said they got a lamp over We try to incorporate the kitchen island at Lowe’s and walls are a natural wood. Island as much space as we the other fixture online. cabinets are painted black and The kitchen features granite have matching black stools under can in open areas. countertops with a set-in stainless the counter. — Steven Woods steel double sink. The sink has a Woods said he tries to put difsprayer built into its faucet. ferent woodwork in his houses, Woods said all his spec homes feature granite maybe have the bar area a different color than the countertops. kitchen cabinets. He said he usually does accent col“It’s easy to take care of and you can get so many ors on the island cabinets and stains the other cabinets. colors and patterns with granite,” he said. “It’s kind of Sometimes he goes the other way.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Higgins

An open plan allows the living room, dining area and kitchen to blend into one roomy space.

It’s convenient not to have all the “appliances on the countertop. ” — Erica Higgins

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“We do most of our cabinetry in knotty alder,” Woods said. “Some of it, if it’s going to be painted, we’ll do in a paintgrade cabinet material.” A laundry room with cabinets and a counter is by the master bedroom. It leads right into a walk-in closet, which leads to the master bathroom. “It’s very convenient,” Erica said.

In some of them, we “might do beam work in

the kitchen, living room or fireplace area. — Steven Woods

A bay window and a multi-tiered ceiling make the master bedroom seem extra-spacious.

The master bath features a soaking tub in one corner and a walk-in tile shower with a rain faucet. The master bedroom’s bay windows face west, showing the backyard. Two other bedrooms are on the other side of the house. Sloane uses one room for a bedroom and the other for a play

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Higgins

room. The Higginses keep their books, computers, a record player and a telescope in the upstairs bonus room. Erica said she uses the bonus room for crafting and her home business. The guest bedroom features a dormer window. A bathroom leads to the attic. “We’ve had two groups of family stay with us since we

had two groups of family stay “We’ve with us since we moved here. ” — Erica Higgins

moved here,” Erica said. “And a niece stayed with us for a month.” Woods said each of his homes is laid out differently. “We don’t want somebody driving down the street saying ‘that house is the same as that house,’” he said. “We try to keep the shingles all the same color because that’s the one of popular things these days. But the exterior colors and features, such as the stone and brick colors, are different so not every house is the same brick color.”

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S m a l l To w n W e l c o m e

Fort Gibson

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Simmons

A porch wraps around the Simmons home, offering a panorama of Lake Eufaula and the surrounding countryside.

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Home of a lifetime Simmons’ entrusted Williams to build forever home

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tand in the middle of Angie and David Simmons’ living room and you’ll see why builder Mike Williams positioned their house the way he did. The peak of the vaulted ceiling and the massive living room window point like

an arrow to Lake Eufaula Dam, six miles across the water. “We actually stood right out here when there was just a pad,” Williams said, pointing straight up, then toward the dam. “We decided this needs to be the center of that window.”

By Cathy Spaulding • Photos by Mandy Corbell

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Simmons

Angie Simmons, and Oliver the kitten, find a cozy place to cuddle in their Lake Eufaula home.

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Wicker rockers let the Simmons savor the outdoors and the lake view.

All the east windows in the breakfast area, living room and the three bedrooms offer a broad view of the lake and dam. And not one window has a curtain. “You see everywhere,” Williams said. Angie Simmons said she and her husband chose the Lake Eufaula property for a retirement home. They used to live in Edmond. “We used to have summer place around Arrowhead, so we knew we

“You see everywhere.” — Angie Simmons

wanted to be up north,” she said. “Clear water.” Simmons said Mike Williams was referred by a friend, who said the builder was reputable and did good work. She said Williams built a shop by the lake.

“I knew how good he was going to build our house,” she said. Williams said Simmons wanted to build a farmhouse overlooking the lake. “She had a picture of a farmhouse that had a porch across it and three dormers on it,” he said. “She said ‘this is what I want the house to look like from the outside, but the inside we’re not really sure about,’ so we’d draw the outside and come up with an inside that fit into it.”

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Simmons

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Family heirlooms and agricultural decor make the Simmons home a real farm house. The pedal organ belonged to Angie Simmons’ great-grandmother.


The living room’s cathedral ceiling, and east-facing windows point like an arrow toward Lake Eufaula Dam.

Simmons said she was inspired by how much land the lot offered. “That meant animals and gardens,” she said. “You can call it a cottage farmhouse.” Williams said Simmons picked out all the colors and the flooring. “I just tried to suggest how to get that look,” he said. “I figured out the whole design, the layout.” Although the property slopes toward

had a picture of a farmhouse that had a “She porch across it and three dormers on it. ” — Mike Williams

the lake, Williams said he had little trouble with structural engineering. “The land was not bad, we were actually able to build a pad,” he said. “We

had to bring in some fill. David cleared it. He got a backhoe and cleared it, and I put the pad in.” The Simmons lived in a camper onsite

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Simmons for seven months while the house was being built. Angie Simmons said their Edmond house sold fast. “So there was a little pressure on Mike,” she said. They have lived in the house since July. Simmons said she planned the house around porches.

You can call it a “ cottage farmhouse. ” — Angie Simmons

Back porches wrap around the house and stretch across the front. Inside, the 2,300-square-foot house has ample space for the couple and their two kittens, fluffy Murphy and affectionate Oliver. Angie Simmons said the house’s open concept and tile

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The tile floor resembles wood, adding to the warmth of the front door and family heirlooms.


A cream-colored desk offers shelves and cabinetry to the Simmons’ living room.

ABOVE: A standalone tub and dark fixtures gives the master bath an old-fashioned appearance. LEFT: The Simmons’ master bath offers his and hers sinks. Green Country Living

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Simmons

The morning sun shining through east windows illuminates the Simmons kitchen and dining area.

Plain quartz countertops, cream-colored appliances and a porcelain farmhouse sink brighten the kitchen.

floors will accommodate them in their later years. “We did all our entryways for wheelchairs,” she said. “This is where we’ll spend the rest of our lives.” The window and high white pine ceiling add to the living room’s openness. Simmons said she loves to be in the living room when the sun rises. A built-in bench goes across most of the east window. A wood-burning stove heats the room.

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“It can go up 20 degrees in an hour and a half,” Simmons said. “It’s amazing.” The tile floor resembles light wood. The living room and breakfast area offer plenty of space for heirlooms and antiques. Simmons said a pedal organ belonged to her great-grandmother. The country house look continues into the kitchen. The lamp hanging over the island looks like a washtub.

The kitchen features a ceramic farmhouse sink with a view out a window. Cream-colored Whirlpool appliances match the cabinetry and shelves. “Very basic,” Simmons said. “I’m not an appliance person.” The kitchen has quartz countertops because Simmons said she did not want “all the colors” often found in granite counters. Shelves beside a kitchen sink display


RIGHT: The Simmons’ master bedroom offers sage advice on the wall: “Give it to God and go to sleep.”

BELOW: This bedroom indeed belongs in a farmhouse with its quilts and rocker.

ABOVE: Creamy headboards and drawers add elegance to this bedroom.

heirloom China, old style jugs and jars, plus other collectibles. One thing Simmons said she did not want in her kitchen were cabinets above the counters. Nearly all the cabinets, plus the microwave, are below the counters. “Everything that goes down, I wanted down,” she said. “I didn’t want to look at them.” A barn door opens onto the pantry. Williams said he ordered the pantry door

is where we’ll spend “This the rest of our lives. ” — Angie Simmons

and a master bedroom barn door from Montana. Simmons said the kitchen is her favorite part of the house because it is the gathering place.

“When I envisioned what it was going to look like, Michael did it,” she said. “It’s just openness and windows.” A laundry room has a folding counter and living space for the kitties. Angie Simmons has an office space by the entry. The master bedroom offers a massive view of the lake. Two white rockers sit on a private back porch. The master bathroom has a standalone

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Simmons

tub and a walk-in tile shower. A walk-in closet has no door. A stairway and separate entry in the garage leads to the two bedrooms for visiting family members. “They can come and go, and I don’t even know they’re in here,” she said. A full bathroom with a tub links the

When I envisioned “ what it was going to look like, Michael did it. ” — Angie Simmons

Family pictures galore, checkerboard wallpaper and a desktop candy dish add comfort to the office.

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bedrooms. Windows in both bedrooms face the lake. Simmons said she and her husband take four-wheelers down to their lakeside shed and dock. Simmons said Williams filled their expectations “more than ever imagined.”


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Fe at u r e d Hom e Rice

Lakeside

privacy

Garrison takes on challenge of building home on slopes of Tenkiller Lake

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ob Rice’s liv- Native American art. ing room Rice retired from opero f f e r s t w o ating Steel Supply Co. in spectacular Oklahoma City about three views. years ago. To the north, windows He built his three-bedshow sweeping views of room home near TenLake Tenkiller, fall foliage killer’s eastern shore, near colors and visiting wildlife. Snake Creek Marina, a Inside, the living room’s couple of years ago. He said cathedral ceiling allows he chose to live at Tenkiller ample wall space for his because of its beauty.

By Cathy Spaulding • Photos by Mandy Corbell

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A driveway sweeps toward Bob Rice’s home on the eastern shore of Lake Tenkiller. The front yard features rocks from the Illinois River.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Rice A back porch, featuring a durable Trex floor, overlooks Lake Tenkiller.

“You’ve got all the limestone, and the water is blue, like water is supposed to be,” he said. A neighbor had recommended Gore builder Gary Garrison as the home builder, Rice said. “He (the neighbor) said ‘if you’re going to build by the side of a mountain, then go with him,” Rice said, adding that Garrison built the house on a steep slope, digging deep into the rock for structural soundness. “It’s built up about 20 feet to the deck,” Rice said. Garrison said he worked to make the foundation sound. “We just did a huge footing and stem walls to get it level with the ground,” Garrison said. “Made sure I got that all in and did the drainage for it. We did a concrete driveway all the way from the entrance road.” Garrison said he seeks to get the foundation and framing right in all his homes. “My big deal is getting it built to where it will last and won’t have any problems,” he said. Those hills around Tenkiller pose

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A motorcycle is one of several modes of transportation Bob Rice keeps at his Lake Tenkiller home.

a challenge, but Garrison met that challenge several times. “I live at Gore and I’ve lived around Tenkiller all my life,” he said. “Tenkiller Lake is close and it’s always interesting to build there, those slopes. Another good thing about building on Tenkiller, while you’re working, you look out across the lake. It’s pretty calming to look out across a lake like that.” Garrison said homeowners usually choose home finishes. “A lot of times, they have a good idea of what they want,” he said. “But if they don’t, I have people I worked with over the years, and I can direct them to those people.”

got all the limestone, and the water “You’ve is blue, like water is supposed to be. ” — Bob Rice

The builder used stone for the exterior. High sloping roofs and light wooden trim over the garage and at the entrance hint at a French country style. The front yard has river rocks from the Illinois River. Rice said he found arrowheads and a well-worn Native axe head among the rocks. Garrison used the same stone for the living room fireplace. A granite bench

crosses the front of the fireplace. A thick Douglas fir mantle offers enough space for a Native painting. Rice has travertine floors all around the house. He has a Navajo rug in the entry, while the living room rug has a Navajo rug pattern. The kitchen opens onto the living room. It features dark granite countertops and deep wood drawers and

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Rice cabinets. Rice said kitchen amenities were designed by Oklahoma City decorator Ed Kurtz. The kitchen’s backsplash features the same travertine as the floors, only a rougher cut, Rice said. Stainless steel appliances include a Thermidor subzero refrigerator-freezer and stoves. A walk-in pantry is right off the kitchen. The laundry room features a utility sink and counter space. A three-quarter bathroom with a travertine shower is by the laundry room.

Another good thing about building on Tenkiller, while you’re working, you look out across the lake. It’s pretty calming to look out across a lake like that. — Gary Garrison The master bedroom looks extra-spacious with a tray ceiling and windows filling the north side. Rice keeps a viewing scope by his bedroom window. “You can see all kinds of wildlife or you can see boats out there,” Rice

said. “I’ll have an eagle fly right down low over my house, and it’s like ‘oh, my gosh.’ It’s amazing.” An air tub by a window turns the master bath into a spa. Air blows through tiny jets around the tub’s bottom.

Rice’s living room offers a sweeping lake view. A stacked stone fireplace has the same stone as the exterior.

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A travertine floor stretches from the entry through the living room of the Rice home.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Rice

The kitchen’s backsplash features the same travertine as the floors, but a rougher cut.

RIGHT: A walk-in pantry offers lots of space for food.

FAR RIGHT: Bob Rice keeps a viewing scope by his bedroom window to see birds fly over Lake Tenkiller.

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LEFT: A separate garage features space for games, get-togethers, kayak and neon signs.

BELOW: Rice’s master bathroom features shelving for his art collection, as well as a lake view.

One of three bedrooms in the Bob Rice home features lighting controlled with a dimmer.

The bathroom also features a shower, two sinks and a walk-in closet. Two other bedrooms are on the other side of the house. Each bedroom has light switches with dimmers and fan controls. The property slopes down to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land by the lake, he said. A back deck runs from Rice’s bedroom across the living room. Rice used

kinds of wildlife or “Youyoucancanseeseeallboats out there. ” — Bob Rice

environmentally-friendly Trex composite decking material. He keeps his kayaks, all-terrain vehicles and a motorcycle in a separate

garage. The garage also has space for family fun, including a shuffleboard table, dart board and corn hole games. A wood stove keeps the place warm.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Rice

Native art fills Bob Rice’s home overlooking Lake Tenkiller.

Custom cabinets and woodwork is seen throughout the Bob Rice house.

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“This is my forever home,” he said. “I’m not worthy of having a house this nice.” Rice said the best part of the house is the privacy. “It’s got a beautiful view and all kinds of wildlife,” he said. “Deer. There’s all kinds of squirrels, all kinds of birds. There’s a few quail, not very

many. You’ve got these pileated woodpeckers, flickers. All kinds of birds.” He said he has seen indigo buntings, painted buntings and a Baltimore oriole. Not long ago, a black bear plodded up to the east side of the house, and he took a picture of the bear on his phone. Bobcats also paid a visit.


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Fe at u r e d Hom e M ack e y

Sunshine splendors Mackeys enjoy light offered by Slape-built farm house

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ichele and Wesley Mackey had never planned to build a new home until a house fire forced their hand. The family had lived on their 30-acre farm southeast of Muskogee

for about 14 years when their home was destroyed in 2015, Michele Mackey recalled. However, Muskogee builder Louie Slape helped the Mackeys create a home with new amenities, as well as old memories.

By Cathy Spaulding • Photos by Mandy Corbell

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The Mackey family can watch the clouds roll by from all around their farm home southeast of Muskogee. The house replaces a home destroyed in a 2015 fire.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e M ack e y

Michele and Wesley Mackey’s kitchen features unique touches, including a cross over the stove, made with parts of the backsplash.

Michele Mackey said the family knew Slape well. “We all have Braggs roots,” she said. “And Louie has Braggs roots, too. He was the first one we called, and he actually gave us the best deal.” Slape said he seeks to go “above and beyond what everyone else is doing, as far as construction materials and how things are built.” Mackey said she wasn’t ready to build a new house, but Slape was

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We work with people from their ideas and what they wanted. — Louie Slape

with them every step of the way. She said Slape’s son worked on drafting house plans. Mackey recalled looking up ideas on the Pinterest social media

site and asking Slape about them. Slape said they can work with clients throughout the process, from drafting through cabinetry. “We work with people from their ideas and what they wanted,” he said. “We work it to where everything fits for them.” Mackey said the family wanted a farm house like the one lost in the fire. One difference was an open plan for the kitchen, living and


Chairs on the back porch line up for a broad vista of the Mackeys’ 30-acre farm. The Mackeys raise cattle and goats.

dining areas. “We moved our living room and kitchen down here on the end so we could put windows all around,” she said. “I didn’t want a formal living room and a formal dining room.” Sun can shine through the Mackey’ living and dining areas any time of day. Windows surround the east, south and west sides. “I don’t have any window coverings

I didn’t want a formal “living room and a formal dining room. ” — Michele Mackey

on, I don’t think I’ll put any window coverings on,” she said. “We get the sunrise in the mornings in the front and

the sunsets in the back.” A porch stretching across the front helps the Mackeys greet the morning sun. Chairs line up across the porch. Mackey said she loves the brick bordering the concrete stoop, a touch added by Slape. Inside, the home has wood-look tile floors through the kitchen and hall. Bedrooms and the living area have sandy-brown carpeting.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e M ack e y RIGHT: A bay window in the dining room offers a wide view.

BELOW: Countertops and backsplashes in multiple colors contrast with the creme brûléecolored cabinetry. ABOVE: Slape cabinets and drawers come in multiple varieties.

BELOW: Michele Mackey lovingly restored a family heirloom buffet.

“The reason I did a lot of things I did was to hide dirt,” Mackey said. The living area features a pelletburning stove resting on a stone fireplace bench. A wide screen TV hangs over the mantle. Mackey said she had wanted a fireplace, but her husband talked the family into a cleaner pellet-burning stove. “And I love it,” she said. “It’s cleaner.” The kitchen features a deep kitchen sink, plus a vegetable sink on the island. Another faucet over the stove allows the cook to fill pots. Slape also did the creme bruleecolored kitchen cabinetry. Mackey

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We get the sunrise in the “mornings in the front and the sunsets in the back. ” — Michele Mackey

appreciates the variety. Deep drawers store pots, pans and utensils. A shallow drawer stores spice bottles on their side. A cabinet stores a Kitchen Aid mixer on a movable shelf that rises to counter-level. A cutting board with a hole is built into a drawer above a drawer with trash and garbage bags. Cooks can scrape the

food into the bags. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Mackey said she wanted a cross in the kitchen, but could not find one. “One of Louie’s workers had taken pieces from the backsplash and created a cross” behind the stove, she said. “I was tickled to death, and that’s exactly what I wanted.” A walk-in corner pantry brims with food and appliances. Lights in the pantry and walk-in closets go on and off automatically. Dark gray patterned doors throughout the house look more like front doors than plain interior doors.


ABOVE: The open concept of the Mackey home allows ample space.

LEFT: Quilts fill a family heirloom curio cabinet. A pellet-burning stove at the fireplace, and earth-tone colors add warmth to the living area.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e M ack e y

The master bedroom features a tray ceiling with white crown molding, plus a custom barn door to the master bathroom.

“My husband and son come in from outside, and their hands are dirty,” she said. “So if you have white doors, they get dirty and show the dirt.” The master bedroom features a gray tray ceiling, accented with white crown molding. The master bathroom’s barn door was custom built by the same worker who did the kitchen cross, Mackey said. She said she especially enjoys the whirlpool bath. “I am a bath person. I take baths every single night,”

Louie’s workers had taken pieces “fromOnetheof backsplash and created a cross. ” — Michele Mackey

she said. “I told Louie I wanted a big bathtub.” The shower features a built-in shelf and bench, plus an overhead rain shower in addition to the side shower. “There’s so much storage,” she said. Each of the other two bedrooms has its own full bathroom. The laundry room doubles as a mud room and features a utility sink. There are cubbies for farm boots, a hanging

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ABOVE: Slape custom cabinets offer beauty, as well as lots of storage to the master bath. LEFT: A walk-in shower features a bench and shelf, as well as faucets from the side and from above.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e M ack e y The Mackeys’ laundry room features a utility sink, as well as plenty of space to fold, hang and store clothing, hats and farm boots.

rod for coveralls and ample shelves for folding and storage. The home also features a tornado safe room. “That was the very first thing they put in,” Mackey said. The Mackeys spend summer evenings on their back porch, which features a swimming pool. A shady space features chairs, a cooker and a dining set. The front and back porches allow the Mackeys to watch their cattle and show goats. Michele Mackey said the porches and kitchen are her favorite parts of the house. “Those are the two places we spend the most time,” she said.

YOUR GUIDE TO

Winter

HOME SERVICES

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YOUR GUIDE TO

Winter HOME HOME SERVICES

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Beyond The Listing

Warm, inviting Spacious home perfect for entertaining guests

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double-arch breezeway greets guests to the home at 1221 W. Smith Ferry Road, inviting visitors into a warm and welcoming atmosphere accented by rich colors, wide archways and plenty of room for guests. The spacious living area, currently inhabited by multiple couches and

tables arranged around a central carpet, feels inviting under the yellow glow of a chandelier. The area makes the home perfect for having guests over, said real estate agent Cindy Teel. “It would be a great home for entertaining, because it’s got a huge living area that could accommodate a lot of people at one time,” Teel said.

By Chesley Oxendine • Photos by Shawn Raper


FEATURES »» ADDRESS: 1221 W. Smith Ferry Road, Muskogee. »» ASKING PRICE: $699,000. »» SQUARE FOOTAGE: 5,999 square feet. »» PROPERTY SIZE: 12 acres. »» BEDROOMS: 4. »» BATHROOMS: 4 and one-half. »» HEATING AND COOLING: Electric, Central, 3+ units. »» APPLIANCES: Dishwasher, range/oven, refrigerator, disposal, microwave. »» FLOORS: Wood, carpet, tile. »» OTHER FEATURES: Two fireplaces, in-ground pool, shop, garage, storage building. »» INFORMATION: Cindy Teel, C.S. Raper & Son Realtors, (918) 683-1710.

This Smith Ferry Road home will serve as a comfortable place for a family to grow or as the perfect destination for family holiday gatherings.

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Beyond The Listing

This double arched breezeway greets visitors just before they step inside.

As a matter of fact, the home is suited to entertaining guests — between the aforementioned spacious living area, an in-ground pool, and outdoor patio, the home’s new owners shouldn’t have any trouble hosting largescale parties. “It’s just a great place for entertaining people,” Teel said. It’s not just space for parties, either: the four bedrooms are

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spacious, with a master bedroom closet that features more floor space than most bedrooms. With shelves and hanging racks throughout as well as a central island, the master closet could home an entire boutique’s worth of clothes. “That’s either one of the biggest closets or the biggest closet of any house I’ve listed,” Teel said. “It’s a very nice master


An outdoor patio — TV equipped — and an in-ground pool ensure there will always be room for guests.

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Beyond The Listing

“Spacious� is the name of the game, from the closets to the bathrooms.

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Bathrooms feature elegant tile and stylish cabinets in addition to their spacious size.

suite.” That spaciousness extends to the three and a half bathrooms. The master bathroom continues the trend of islands within the home by featuring one right in the middle of an expansive shower with three shower heads in oil-rubbed bronze fixtures. Another island can be found in the fully equipped kitchen, along with marble countertops, and deep brown cabinets that pair well with the earthy, rich colors throughout the home. The home would serve as a great place to raise a family, too, Teel noted, with a proximity to multiple schools. “It’s just down the road from Hilldale, so this is great for

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Beyond The Listing Rich, earthy colors help give the home a pleasantly warm atmosphere.

somebody with kids,” she said. The property sits less than a mile from Hilldale middle and high schools, and just under 1 and 1/2 miles from Hilldale Elementary School.

just a great place for “It’s entertaining people. ” — Cindy Teel

Additionally, multiple buildings grace the closed-in acreage on which the property sits — a shop, garage, and storage building all come with the home. The garage has a feature that makes the home even more suitable for large families, Teel said.

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ABOVE: The master bedroom has splashes of vivid red to complement the soft colors of the rest of the house.

LEFT: Multiple chandelier fixtures give an even, warm glow to the living room.

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Beyond The Listing

The appliances in this roomy kitchen come with the house.

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The chandelier treatment continues into a spacious and welcoming dining room.

That’s either one of the biggest closets or the biggest closet of any house I’ve listed. — Cindy Teel

“It’d be great for an extended family because it’s got a living area over the garage,” Teel said. At 5,999 square feet of living space on 12 acres of land, a family would find plenty of room to comfortably live and grow, settling into a comfortable life just on the edge of Muskogee.

With multiple areas for entertaining guests, one could see the house as future home of family holiday events, while incredibly spacious living quarters ensure new owners will never run out of room. “The owner has put a lot of work into it,” Teel said. “The property is just very nicely done.”

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A r t o f T h e M a tt e r

Therapy by way of

creation Art journaler utilizes creative works as ‘healthy distraction’

F

or Muskogee-based art journaler Sandy Wyatt, art is therapy above all else. “I had to find a healthy way to distract myself and let my brain do whatever my brain was going to do, but allow me to focus my attention elsewhere,” Wyatt said. “Art is my greatest and best

distraction.” Wyatt — who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder — shows her therapy in her work, which is primarily comprised of art journals. The books range from the size of a pocket Bible to thick, notebook-sized tomes, all of them full of collages, drawings, and writing.

By Chesley Oxendine • Photos by Mandy Corbell

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Sandy Wyatt begins work on a greeting card, preparing materials to be composited.

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A r t Of t he M at t e r

Wyatt says her artwork — journals and greeting cards — serve a therapeutic purpose.

On some pages, the writing spirals close and tight, filling the page amid collections of vintage photos and clipped out magazine pictures. On others, just a few letters have been cut and pasted to form brief quotes. The content ranges from personal thoughts to inspirational mantras to a gratitude chart. “I wanted to think about the things I was grateful for. I think gratitude is important,” Wyatt said. In the smaller, pocket-sized journal, Wyatt has tied objects such as feathers and leaves to the pages using gold thread,

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alongside phrases like “Inhale. Exhale. Again.” Some pages feature busy networks of intricate details alongside others with broader, simpler compositions. “Art jour naling is my favorite medium,” Wyatt said. “This is all just intuitive to me — I didn’t go to art school to be an artist, but art has always been a part of my life. It’s just over a matter of time, I took the art I was making and morphed it into something different.” While Wyatt considers herself an art journaler first and foremost, she’s earned a small following by way of making

greeting cards. A box of the cards range from “sincere” to “love” to “quirky,” according to the dividers. Most of the cards are comprised of a vintage photo cut out and pasted to colorful background paper alongside a caption cut from a magazine or book. In one of the “quirky” examples, Wyatt has pasted a photo of a little girl with a hat and tricycle, with a little plastic gem appended to the hat. The caption reads “Bliss-ninny: an overly optimistic person.” “I’m a little bit irreverent,” Wyatt said.


Wyatt’s collection of vintage artwork extends to items in her home, like this typewriter.

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A r t Of t he M at t e r “I get into the magazines and I find captions that might mean something totally different when next to a different image. And I love vintage photos, too.” Wyatt sells her greeting cards on craft shop site Etsy under the handle SandySueAltered, where she’s cultivated a community of people who enjoy her work. “Our sensibilities are the same, they

my greatest and “Artbestis distraction. ” — Sandy Wyatt

like my weird stuff,” Wyatt said. “This year, I made more money than I ever did. I do it as therapy and then I share it other people. It’s exciting that there are people out there that like what I do.” Another series of greeting cards feature various astrological signs. That same sense of humor is in these cards, too: an Aquarius card features a photo of a smug-looking young man with the

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Art journaling has become Wyatt’s primary method of selfexpression, she said. The journals feature composite work such as collages and found items glued to many of the pages.


Wyatt’s journals help her express everything from her fandom to her gratitude to dealing with her bipolar disorder.

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A r t Of t he M at t e r

Wyatt’s greeting cards, which she sells on Etsy.com under the handle SandySueAltered, are comprised of vintage photographs alongside captions or phrases cut out from other sources. The cards often feature intricate details such as patterned backgrounds and even plastic or metal items glued onto the paper.

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caption, “He can deliver opinions like a volcano delivers lava.” The cards are part of over 600 pieces Wyatt created in the last year. That output was prompted by her sadness at leaving her native Iowa after she moved to Muskogee to be nearer her sister. “I’ve lived here about a year and a half. It was a big transition,” she said. “I was so sad when I moved here.”

I get into the magazines “and I find captions that

Wyatt’s collections of objects include everything from cut out captions and photographs to colorful shawls and clothing.

might mean something totally different when next to a different image. And I love vintage photos, too. — Sandy Wyatt

But that’s what the art has always been for Wyatt, she said — a way to heal and manage and cope with changes both internal and external. “The art is there for me and it makes me laugh, and that’s what I need, so the rest is just gravy,” Wyatt said. “It’s about finding your voice and accepting what you are and who you are, and that’s part of me.”

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Guide To Area Restaurants

On The Menu


On The Menu Guide To Area Restaurants

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L i f e S t y l e F o r Yo u r He a lt h

ways to gain, maintain fitness motivation

H

appy 2020! Now it's time to address it; but getting is a good time to started or staying motivated can review often be the first real chalyour lenge. If, like so many resolutions since we are people who set a new just getting into the new year's resolution only to year. In particular, those find a few weeks later that related to your health and you have already given up wellness. Weight or never really began, loss, exercise and don't despair, it hapFor your Health eating habits are at pens. It is never too the top of most lists. late to make a difHeather Ezell Maintaining good ference in your wellhealth is ideal, so if one (or more) being and to start a routine that of these areas needs some work, benefits you.

Photos by Heather Ezell

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Buchanan Davis on a stand-up paddleboard.

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L i f e S t y l e F o r Yo u r He a lt h

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One day or day one. Climbing a mountain, running a marathon or just simply making it to the gym, ultimately requires taking the first step. Movement. Essential for daily and long-term energy. The belief that you have to grind out a workout for hours in the gym is false. As little as 15 minutes a day is of benefit. Every little bit helps. So take the stairs, park at the far end of the parking lot, walk around the block. These seemingly inconsequential acts DO add up. No matter the amount of time, whether a few minutes or an hour, make it a priority to get some kind of movement in each and every day. Accountability partner. Being obliged to someone other than yourself helps to keep you on track and is great way to keep up the momentum. If one person needs encouragement, the other can be the cheerleader. As well, celebrating your victories is all the sweeter when shared with a friend. Minute adjustments amount to notable results. What can you add or omit from your daily routine to make a healthier you? Giving up soda is one of the biggest "small" changes with the largest impact. More energy, weight loss and better sleep are just a few of the often experienced side effects. Drinking eight glasses of water each day also delivers significant outcome. Pinpoint your weakness and overcome it. YOU have the power.

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A swimmer gets in some laps at Northeastern State University.

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Megan White loves to lift weights.

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Prog ress over perfection. Life happens. If you have cake at your kid's birthday party, don't lose hope. All headway is not lost. Be mindful and get back on track. Realize it's time to savor a few more fruits and veggies. Celebrate nonscale victories. Go all week without eating fast food? Clothes fit more loosely. More overall energy? Super! Measure improvement in other ways besides numbers on the scale. Have fun! Choose activities that work for you. Maybe even try something new. Detest running? Try walking.

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Better yet, volunteer at the animal shelter. It's a win/ win. While getting some movement, you get to do some good in your community. Take a yoga, pilates, dance or spin class. Go for a bike ride, swim or a hike. Lift weights, stand-up paddleboard, rollerblade. A ny t h i n g p l e a s u r a b l e encourages you to continue your fitness journey. If it hurts, STOP! The whole mindset of, "no pain, no gain" is absolute nonsense! Many of us have physical limitations. Your body is the only one you have. Listen to it. Be kind to it. And do ONLY what YOU can do. If it causes physical suffering, find an alternative.

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Lori Enlow is on the treadmill when she can't run outside.

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Listen to your body and don't overdo it when exercising.

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Find inspiration. Is it a number on the scale? An event? A certain size? A vacation? Allow your enthusiasm to propel you to the goal. Commit to the most important person — You! You owe it to and deserve to put yourself and your health first. It's easier to keep your health than to try to get it back. Converting your new year's resolutions into reality takes time, preparation, commitment, willingness to change and action. It's also difficult, but it can be done. Achieve your fitness goals by creating healthy habits one day at a time. The 21/90 rule goes like this. Twenty-one days or three weeks creates a habit. Ninety days or three months creates a lifestyle. Fitness and health is part of a lifestyle. Simply put, there is no quick fix. Committing to the mindset that fitness is a way of life will allow you to attain better overall health.

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Scene & Be Seen

Exchange Club of Muskogee party Exchange Club members took time out from raising funds to help local children to celebrate Christmas together. Photos by Kenton Brooks

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Scene & Be Seen

Barney Home Christmas Sean Barney and Kevin Igert opened their home to guests to celebrate Christmas. Photos by Kenton Brooks

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Kids’ Space hosts charity auction Funds raised during event to help provide services to children who have been sexually assaulted, abused or are drug-endangered. Photos by Chesley Oxendine

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Scene & Be Seen

Save the USS Batfish Trivia Night Event draws community support and featured Remember the Fallen exhibit detailing the lives and sacrifices of late Oklahoma soldiers. Photos by Chesley Oxendine

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Scene & Be Seen

Tri-County Arts Show Reception Artists from Cherokee, Wagoner and Muskogee counties honored at the Muskogee Art Guild. Photos by Chesley Oxendine

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Profile for muskogeephoenix

Green Country Living — Winter Edition 2020  

Builders’ skills, creativity, attention to detail put on display Owners team up with area builders to build dream homes Home for sale ideal...

Green Country Living — Winter Edition 2020  

Builders’ skills, creativity, attention to detail put on display Owners team up with area builders to build dream homes Home for sale ideal...

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