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HOMEOWNERS — Brenda and Robert Oglesby

LOCATION — Seabrook, Texas

BUILT — 1998

ACQUIRED — 1999

PROPERTY — Two acres in a lakefront community

INTERIOR — Five-and-a-half baths and six bedrooms

LIVING AREA — 7,000 square feet (12,000 total including seven-car garage which houses the boat and two-seater jet ski)

HER FAVORITE SPOTS — Her prayer room, which is accessed from the master suite via circular staircase ("I'm there at 5:00 a.m. every morning—it's very relaxing")

HIS FAVORITE SPOTS — The kitchen and the "green room" (a 1,500 square-foot entertainment center with 60" TV, PacMan and Space Invaders arcade games, and specialty table for chess, checkers, and backgammon)

HIS FAVORITE ACTIVITIES — "Helping others brings joy to my life, whether it's interpreting a patient's brain scan, participating in outside charity work, or just making people laugh." Alisa also loves pets — or anything pertaining to animals.

HER FAVORITE PASTIME — "She reads quite a bit — I hardly know she's here"

HIS FAVORITE PASTIME — "Working with his hands, from cutting grass and trimming bushes to repairing things in his workshop

WHY FRONTGATE? — "We like the uniqueness of Frontgate products. They look good, and they're well made. Our friends always admire them."
—Brenda Oglesby

Kitchen

Master Bath

Seabrook, Texas — As far as Brenda and Robert Oglesby are concerned, their home is a gift from God.

The two of them had been in the market for a house for years but never found what they were looking for. They eventually made up their minds to build and even purchased some land, but the architect backed out of the project at the last minute.

Then, one Saturday, when they were once again driving around looking at houses, they decided to revisit a burgeoning lakefront community they'd first seen four years earlier when there were only two houses under roof.

"We saw this house on the corner with a For Sale sign out front," Brenda explains. "It was so beautiful! I turned to Robert and said, 'If it's this beautiful inside, we're going to buy this house!'" They immediately made an appointment to come by the next day after church.

When Brenda and Robert stepped onto the porch Sunday afternoon, they could hear Christian music emanating from the outdoor speakers. "It was so relaxing," says Brenda. They entered the foyer and stood looking around. "Robert," Brenda whispered, "this is a blessing from God!"

"EVERYTHING WE WANTED"—AND MORE

The house was as good as new. Although the owners had already taken up occupancy and the grounds were fully landscaped, construction was just reaching completion.

Recalling her first impressions, Brenda says, "There was a warmth in this house. Everything I had been praying about was already here." Slate, granite, and marble floors, a six-burner kitchen range, a shower with multiple spray heads, a swimming pool and spa, even a built-in aquarium. "It was as if they'd been building the house for Robert and me." And then there were the extras: built-in TVs in virtually every room, an indoor-outdoor music system, Hawaiian landscaping that "looks like paradise", a boat dock and waterways leading to the Gulf of Mexico.

"There was a warmth in this house. Everything I had been praying about was already here."

Marble and granite flooring ran throughout the entire first floor, and the kitchen was paved in slate that extended out onto the patio. There was also a slate stairway leading from the porte-cochère to the front door.

Robert is the cook in the family, and he got not only his six-burner range but a built-in grill, two double ovens, and a warming drawer to boot.

"Even my shower was exactly what I wanted," says Brenda. "Six shower heads and a spa you can step into."

Looking for all the world like a Hawaiian lagoon, the swimming pool and spa were more lush and exotic than anything they'd ever imagined for themselves. The volcanic rock forming the bridge and cavern had been shipped from Hawaii, and a recirculating waterfall spilled from atop the cavern into the water below. Behind the waterfall, the entrance to the cavern led to a wet bar and kitchenette equipped with ice machine, refrigerator, and two granite counters with four in-water barstools. (A small staircase behind the cavern provides access from land.) More amazing still, the cavern could also function as a diminutive volcano with smoke and lava-like light pouring out the top.

But it was the aquarium that took them most by surprise. Built into the wall dividing the living room and study, it was just what they'd been wishing for all these years.


A slate stairway leads from the porte-cochère to the front entry; there's a second porte-cochère off the family room. Shop Outdoor Living.

GETTING SETTLED

"When we saw this house, we knew it was ours—the house God wanted us to have," says Brenda. "We had been looking and waiting a long time."

Before moving in, she and Robert gave away every piece of furniture they owned. "We didn't want to bring in our old things," she said. "We wanted to start all over. We had had nothing but our clothes and a 12,000-square-foot house."

That first week, Brenda says, "I just ran through the house thanking and praising God."

They were in no rush to get the place furnished and decorated, preferring instead to take their time and do it right. The second floor was carpeted, and the window treatments had been left behind, but other than that they started from scratch.

Their taste runs to African statuary, modern art, and tropical plants that bring the Hawaiian theme indoors. "We worked with a decorator," Brenda explains. "She took our plans, looked at the property, and made suggestions, but we had the final say-so. We've been at it five years, and we're still trying to purchase the finishing touches."

THE PLEASURES OF HOME

Brenda is content here. She delights in the whole-house sound system that allows her to listen to praise music wherever she happens to be: "I can hear it in every room and all over the grounds." At 5:00 in the morning, she climbs the circular staircase leading from the master bedroom to her prayer room and spends time alone with God. "It's relaxing," she says. "I can talk to God and hear from him."

Most days find her at home reading religious literature, working on her master's thesis in child development, or taking care of paperwork for their business. "She's a homebody," says Robert. "I hardly know she's here."

Robert, on the other hand, prefers a more active lifestyle. "If I'm not doing anything, I get bored," he says. "I like working outside, mowing the lawn, trimming, anything that involves working with my hands." He and Brenda own and operate a series of day-care centers, and Robert brings home anything that needs fixing and does all the repairs in his garage-based workshop. "I'm like a utility man," he says.

"When you go outside, it's like you're in Hawaii... tropical plants are everywhere you look, and we have over a hundred palm trees."

When he needs a little down time, Robert retreats to the second-story game room, also known as the green room (though "the sofa is the only thing in here that's green," Robert says). It's 1500 square feet of entertainment and relaxation, ranging from a 60" TV and arcade-style video games such as PacMan and Invaders to a specialty table for chess, backgammon, and checkers as well as a recliner where Robert can sit and take a snooze. "It's real quiet. Nobody knows you're here."

The kitchen is another favorite hang-out of his. "I like to cook. We've been married 22 years, and I decided to do all the cooking." He's especially partial to grilling—steaks, strips, crab, crawfish, shrimp, oysters, vegetables, anything that can take the heat. "Brenda likes smothered stuff—fried shrimp, chicken, anything I can put gravy on."

"Whatever he comes up with," Brenda adds with pride and satisfaction, "I really enjoy." Robert also invites family over for a crawfish boil now and then. Afterwards, everybody unwinds with a soak in the spa.

Lakeside living brings added pleasure. Brenda and Robert sometimes take their 21-1/2-foot motorboat out for an early-morning cruise, running across the lake into Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico beyond. The lake is well stocked with fish, and Brenda's mother and her friends come by now and then to drop a line in the water. What's more, "there's always a nice breeze."


The 100-gallon fresh-water aquarium built into the wall separating the living room
and study is home to colorful African cichlides. Shop Furnishings & Décor.

Brenda and Robert are as enamored as of their outdoor surroundings as they were the day they arrived. "When you go outside, it's like you're in Hawaii," they say. "The oleanders bloom in red, tropical plants are everywhere you look, and we have over a hundred palm trees. It looks like paradise! We don't have to go to a resort—we already have a resort. Everything we could possibly want is right here. We're very blessed."

Morning prayer and Bible study give direction to their day. "We work together," says Robert, "and we communicate well. That's what makes our relationship good." They read the Bible independently, then talk with each other about what God has said. "Whatever we have to do, we ask God first," says Robert, "then follow the instructions we get." It's a way of life that works well for them. "Everything we need," adds Brenda, "God has put at our feet."

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