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Columbia couple creates a country estate

Columbia couple creates a country estate

  • Photos by Laura Rowe
  • This story originally appeared in the March 2023 issue of COMO Magazine.
Russ Anderson Home
Exterior Of Backdoor
Entryway Bench Cabinets And Built In Dog Crate
Stairs With Metal Railing And Runner
Coffee Table With Eucalyptes In Vase +8
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Exterior Of Backdoor

What happens when a professional home builder builds his own home?

When Russ Anderson and his wife, Andrea, decided to build a house, they wanted room to spread out. They bought a 15-acre lot on the southeast side of Columbia and built a gorgeous, 4,000-square-foot European cottage-style farmhouse on the land, located on S. Rustic Road. 

The house looks like it could have been decorated by HGTV’s Joanna Gaines. The Andersons live there with their two teenage sons and a dog who enjoys the luxury of a custom-built-in dog crate. They do not farm or hunt on those acres; they just want country life, while remaining close to town.

As president and CEO of Anderson Homes, a mid-Missouri builder, Russ was just the right expert to show how a professional homebuilder pursues the construction of his own home. It might disappoint you to learn that he built his own home the way he builds all of his homes — and that he really had no stops to pull out. Andrea, a lighting designer for Anderson Homes, played a key role in the interior design, and her influence is especially evident in the light fixtures throughout the property.

Russ, 45, is a Columbia native who has built more than 400 homes in the mid-Missouri area since opening Anderson Homes in 1997. If you’re familiar with the properties at Old Hawthorne and Copperstone, Anderson Homes built many of those. 

“We try to build in subdivisions that have a lot of value, where our builds achieve larger-than-normal equity,” Russ explains.

After high school, Russ was ready for his own home, but after talking to some builders and seeing how expensive it would be, he decided to build it himself and was able to put an incredible $150,000 of equity into that home; this inspired him to open Anderson Homes. He learned the trade by doing; he had a roofing job in high school, as well as some remodeling and excavation work.

An entrepreneur at heart, Russ also previously was involved in real estate development, owning a Century21 branch that is now Iron Gate Real Estate.

“We wanted a country home, but we wanted an elevated look,” Russ says. He says he and Andrea call the style “organic farmhouse,” but the European cottage influence is unmistakable. 

The front of the white, vinyl-sided farmhouse feels warm and inviting with accents of stone and wood. The rich wood corbels that adorn the front patio’s pillars and window awnings, and the arch in the roofline over a large, double-hung window evoke a distinctive European sensibility. The trim, from the windows and front doors to the gutters, is black. Black tin roofing tops the window awnings and a dormer over the front patio, calling out the modern farmhouse feel. 

The clean white theme with black metal, wood, and stone accents continues inside.

A country kitchen

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and it certainly is in this house. A large, white island, topped with a butcher block, offers cabinet storage on one side, and seating on the other. Two large, tall black lanterns hang above the island. Across from the island is a large, commercial-grade, stainless steel gas oven and stove. 

“My favorite part of the house is the kitchen,” Russ says. “I love our stove hood, which was custom-made by local artist and fabricator, Emmett Russell.”

The cabinets are a clean white with black pulls and knobs. The white, marble countertops add interest with their beautiful gray veining. The marble continues up the walls to the upper cabinets. The stone is show-stopping on the wall behind the white porcelain apron sink, where it frames two large windows looking out onto the property, before meeting a row of small cabinets with glass panel doors that run along the top of the sink station. These cabinets are the perfect place to store–and display–pieces that are used only occasionally. And they add an antique farmhouse touch that you often don’t find in new builds. 

“The calling card of our business is aesthetics. We build more attractive homes than our competition,” Russ says. It’s easy to see the craftsmanship in his own home.

Wood floors in the kitchen round out the country kitchen feel, and they run throughout the open-concept home. 

Comfort and style throughout

A short hallway off the kitchen leads to an all-white bedroom that is bathed liberally in sunlight from two, tall windows on either side of the bed. The three-panel doors on the bedrooms, along with the ceiling fan blades, are a dark walnut, adding contrast and a traditional touch. Small touches of texture add warmth in the bedroom: burlap lamp shades top modern glass lamps on each bedside table; and the dark walnut bed frame has linen panels edged by upholstery tacks.

The breathtaking marble of the kitchen continues in the all-white ensuite bathroom, where white subway tile with gray veining runs floor-to-ceiling in the large walk-in shower. As the front of the house indicates, it is not short on windows, and even the bathroom enjoys ample natural light without sacrificing privacy.

The open-concept living-dining space offers a warm, rustic respite, with its limestone fireplace adorned with a salvaged wood beam for a mantle, and its large leather club chairs. A pair of enormous two-tiered, round black chandeliers hang side-by-side, drawing the eye up to the high ceilings. A rustic rectangular dining table sits beyond the leather chairs, just off the kitchen. Natural touches like thickly woven baskets, pottery, and sprigs of dried eucalyptus keep the look simple and rustic in the living area.

Some other areas of the house that stand out include the mudroom, complete with the built-in dog crate, lots of storage, and a touch of shiplap; and the stairs to the second floor, which are white with dark walnut rises and run, and feature a black steel railing. Dark walnut beams run across the tops of door casings throughout the house.

Russ says there isn’t really anything he’d have done differently when building his home. After building more than 400 homes in about 25 years, he had the experience to nail his personal home build. 

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