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The living is easy
By Diane Schlindwein

Doug and Sue Reynolds' home is both regal and inviting. From the spectacular brick-fronted arched entryway to the lovely but simple back patio and everywhere in between, it offers both the elegance and comfort people expect from homes in Springfield's Panther Creek subdivision.

Each of the three levels is equally well-appointed, points out Betty Grady, the agent who has the house listed through Grady Realtors Inc. Save the ample storage areas, every square inch of the more than 5,100-square-foot domain at 4816 Bears Paw is finished to look lovely and livable.

With four (possibly five) bedrooms and 31⁄2 baths, it has plenty of room for a good-sized family - or it can be a fine home for a couple like the current owners, said Grady.

"This place has been great for us because it lives like a ranch (house) and has a very livable floor plan," said Sue Reynolds. She explained that she and her husband have pretty much been empty-nesters since moving to Springfield.

"The master bedroom and office are here on the main floor, so it's perfect for the two of us, but we have the extra space if we need it," she said. "We have the three bedrooms and bath upstairs that we use when the kids are home or if we have guests."

Although the Panther Creek home was built about eight years ago, it looks like an exquisitely furnished new dwelling. 

"This house was originally a spec house that was being built by Bob McCurley," Sue said. "We bought it when it was under construction and changed some things to suit us. We've been very pleased with it."

Plenty of sunlightThe interior is spacious and bright, with a mostly open floor plan that makes the space seem endless. In the entertaining areas of the main floor, stately columns help set off rooms while keeping the space open and airy. The dining room, with its tray ceiling, is especially regal.

Neutral colors and an abundance of light, wood-planked floors will work well for the next owners, Sue said. The great room probably is the most impressive area of the home; it features windows that soar from floor to ceiling as well as a lovely fireplace. Attractive built-in bookshelves line the wall between the master bedroom and Doug's home office.

Although the office, with its own beautiful built-ins, has served Doug well, Sue prefers the bright sunroom or the great room. 

"Obviously, we like natural sunlight," she said. "These are wonderful rooms to sit and read a book. And the back rooms all look out on the golf course, so the view is lovely all year round. It even looks pretty covered in snow." 

Sue is particularly fond of the way her kitchen is set up, with the granite-topped island separating the cooking surfaces from the informal eating area. 

"You can be working here in the kitchen and talk to the people who are at the table or in the great room. They are over there and you are right here, separated by this island," she said. "And with some kitchens you are running back and forth while you are cooking. Not here.

"This kitchen is so well-designed. The island even has two layers, so it gives you twice the cooking space," she said. "And I have always liked the way it looks, with the contrast between the maple cabinets and the dark granite. I wish our new house had a kitchen like this."

Sue has only to step out of her kitchen to take a leisurely look out the windows at Panther Creek's well-manicured golf course. When you live on the eighth green, your view is all about the course, she says. The master bedroom, which features a spacious and well-appointed master bath and plenty of closet space, also has a fine view. 

There's much to like about living on a golf course, and Sue admitted to spending time improving her game. 

"That's the real advantage to living here," she said. "The course is right here, so you can play any time. But at home, it's also just so nice to look out on the greens, the pond and the fountain. It's like having your own private park, only you don't have to take care of it."

Standout lower levelGrady said the home is lovely in every respect, from top to bottom.

"I will say that this home has one of the prettiest finished lower levels I've ever seen," she said. "They put just as much into that area as they did the rest of the house. That isn't usually the case."  

Sue and Doug decorated the lower level with entertaining in mind. One area features an array of couches and a big-screen TV, while a nearby wet bar, finished in cherry and granite, makes it easy to grab a refreshment.

Doug's walk-in wine cellar scores points with fellow wine connoisseurs. Tiffany-style lights add character to both the bar and billiard area. Finally, a fifth bedroom - currently used as an exercise room - features an expansive closet and another full bath. 

"We use this lower level all the time," Sue said, stopping to pet her yellow Lab, Bentley. "We've had parties down here, and Doug and I often come down here to watch movies or a football game. It is really very comfortable."

Grady noted that the house sits in an area where each house is unique and beautiful. The neighborhood looks well-established, and lawns are as well-landscaped as the golf course that runs up against the backyards.   "I know Panther Creek because I live there, too. It is a fine, friendly neighborhood," Grady said. "Bears Paw is a great cul-de-sac. It's kind of tucked away, so there is not a lot of traffic. It's very quiet back there. And this is a great place because it's located on the No. 8 green that gets a lot of attention during the LPGA tour."

As a golfer and outgoing person, Sue said she appreciates the neighborhood, but as a wife and mother, she has great affection for the house that she'll soon leave behind. 

"This is just been a great place for us to live," she said. "We've loved Springfield and we've loved Panther Creek. But Doug's new job opportunity is taking us out of the area. We really are going to miss this place."



Story published Friday, March 4, 2011 ( Volume 6, Number 2 )

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