Wave of the future
A contemporary Jack Arnold-designed home resides on the shores of Grand Lake.
When Karen and John Woolman decided it was time to build a new home on Grand Lake, they turned to their friend of more than 30 years, architect Jack Arnold.
“He can design anything,” says John Woolman. “Tulsa is lucky to have someone like Jack.” The Woolmans essentially gave Arnold free rein, laying out only a few priorities: They wanted a single-level design that was maintenance-free and captured the property’s stellar lake views.
To say Arnold is known for his Old World and Country French styles is an understatement. He has been recognized in countless national publications and garners attention with the completion of each new project.
What many might not know about the Tulsa native is that Arnold began his career in contemporary design and shifted his focus as more clientele were interested in European design. Designing the Woolman home was like coming back to his modernist roots. “This was a real fun project for me to get into,” Arnold says. “To get to do this with John and Karen made it even more fun. When the client gets excited and gives you energy, it just builds up and makes a better project.”
John was Jack’s loan officer at one time. Ever since that initial loan, the Tulsans have called each other friends and even business partners over the years. “There’s no one else I would have design our home,” Woolman says.
Nestled in the gated community of The Points, the Woolman home overlooks south Grand Lake. “He had a good site location with a great view, which we wanted to take advantage of — that was paramount,” Arnold says.
Walking through the home’s front courtyard, one is immediately introduced to the water, thanks to the main structure’s 15-foot glass walls that provide a clear view to the lakefront. The glass, along with concrete and steel features, set a modern, minimalistic tone. Even with the glass expanses, energy management was never a concern because of the home’s insulation in the ceiling and walls.
John Woolman has owned a home at Grand since 1981, so he has learned that traditional lake living requires some elbow grease. “When I would get to the lake, I would spend three to four hours sweeping up, hosing down the patios and wiping away cobwebs,” he says of the couple’s previous lake homes.
With that in mind, Arnold chose easy-to-care-for concrete floors and grass-laden courtyard spaces. The home’s exterior is made from masonry stucco that will never need to be painted, and the slate roof is guaranteed to last decades. Landscape architect Diane Cagle chose landscaping for its natural beauty and minimal upkeep.
Although many lake homes have wood decks that must be regularly cleaned and stained to keep them looking nice, the home’s deep concrete foundation solves the property’s severe slope and provides a platform from which the home could grow. The patio has retractable glass doors, which creates a space that can be used year-round. That room, along with its adjacent cantilevered porch, are where the Woolmans spend most of their time.
The home features a master suite with an adjacent sitting room perfect for getting out of the sun. The kitchen, dining and family room are encased in glass and flanked by the home’s dual courtyards. Opposite the master wing, the two guest rooms each have their own patio and waterfront view.
The home’s interior design, created by Jack’s wife, Susan Arnold, with guidance from Karen, allows the architecture to shine while allowing the Woolmans to relax in comfort.
Throughout the project, Arnold routinely returned to the concept of easy living. “It’s kind of a mantra of mine: Keep things simple,” Arnold says.