Retreat to Nature

By Emily Ober

Enjoy the outdoors in these modern Scandinavian cabins

Tucked away on five acres of land in Lacy Lakeview is a seven-cabin retreat that invites guests to get away and enjoy the beautiful nature of Central Texas. Isaac French was inspired by the modern Scandinavian style of the Pacific Northwest where he spent a decade of his childhood after moving there from Waco. “I was heavily influenced by the architecture and the design there. I wanted to be an architect when I was younger, so I’ve always taken an interest in design and wanted to recreate that style and the overall vibe here in Texas. Generally speaking, the whole modern Scandinavian interior design I haven’t really seen much of [here.] Obviously, Chip and Joanna influence the modern farmhouse look. But there isn’t much that I would really call Nordic or modern Scandinavian, so incorporating some of these textures and patterns and such through those accent pieces is a really great way to simply show off this style.”

In March 2021, French found the perfect area of raw land to build the retreat on. With the massive live oak trees “hence the name” and the pond, he was able to recreate that PNW vibe right here in Texas. “Without the trees, it would be a totally different feeling and landscape.” Each cabin is around 600 square feet, nestled around the small pond that French expanded when he bought the property. The cabins are situated in a way to give privacy but are connected by a network of trails. The commons area includes a pergola, grilling area, patio, dock and the newly added shipping container turned above-ground pool. French said he wanted the retreat “To feel like you’re in a small village. You’re balancing that village feel with the lost in nature feeling and it’s a really cool experience. At night, you look out across the water, and you can see the lights of the other cabins reflecting and it’s really charming.”

The cabins are designed in a cohesive but unique style, but the main feature across all the cabins are the massive glass windows across the whole front. “The idea in simple terms is we wanted to bring the outdoors inside. We wanted to create a very highly nature immersive experience for our guests.” Roller shades are installed for full privacy, but the views are the mainstay of the property. “Texas is a beautiful place. It’s unique. We wanted to be able to show what Central Texas has to offer to guests from all over the world.”

The large windows also dictated the interior design of the cabins. “We are very intentional about minimalism,” French said. Minimalism also ensures that the outside beauty is highlighted. “But we do have a beautiful fiddle leaf fig tree in each cabin. We have some very minimal wall art, some hangings, a map of Waco and a map of the state of Texas. When we say modern Scandinavian, there are elements in terms of textures and patterns, the rugs, the throws, the pillows, etc. that would be reminiscent of that.”

Keeping to the “less is more” motto, the drywall is smooth and earthy tones are utilized throughout the cabins. “That translates through all the way to the finishes in the kitchen. We have white oak cabinetry, and all our appliances are panel ready so basically the fronts of the dishwasher, the refrigerator, all blends right in with the rest of the cabinetry. So, it’s all very hidden and simple and peaceful and calming to look at.”

Live Oak Lake is the perfect place for large gatherings such as family reunions, corporate events and even weddings or for those home away from home staycations to enjoy the outdoors. “It really feels like you’re going into a different world when you enter the property. I love Waco of course but it doesn’t feel like what you’re used to.”

Bottom left: White Bluffs Construction built the large windows in the cabins, allowing the beauty of nature to be the focus of the property. Majestic Flooring installed the wood flooring and tile in the earthy tones for that modern Scandinavian style.

Top right: Gardens Unlimited and Synergy Landscapes created this inviting outdoors space for guests to enjoy. The trails connecting the seven cabins were placed by Argyle Contractors.
Bottom right: String lights illuminate the commons area where guests can gather together. Streamline Services provided electrical service to the raw land turned modern retreat.