A Place To Play


Take a tour of George and Gayleen Ousley’s spacious home in the Old Hawthorne subdivision, and you’ll realize there’s one thing this couple takes very seriously: their playtime.

The home exudes the couple’s playful nature, from the jukebox and pool table in the comfy basement den to the horsepower-packed five-car garage to George’s secret lair of a collector’s room, replete with autographed jerseys and an in-home putting green.

When the Ousleys went searching for a place to build their dream home, these golf-lovers found much to appreciate about Old Hawthorne. They chose a lot overlooking the 11th fairway of the golf course. It was a piece of land others had overlooked because of the wooded gully in the back, but that feature appealed to the Ousleys.

“It’s beautiful,” Gayleen says of the scenic stand of trees. “The deer run across the fairway all the time and come up through this area right next to our house.”

They called upon Gary Thomas of Rosewood Homes to turn their dream home into reality. Thomas has worked with the Ousleys for years doing construction work at their Jay Ousley Plaza office development, which was recently renamed the Woodridge Center. Thomas loaded the house with all the features on the couple’s wish list, including a five-car garage that looks like a three-car bay from the outside, a kitchen with a roomy hidden pantry, four bedrooms, one of which George claimed as a home office, and an elevator that Gayleen especially loves at Christmastime when she can roll her already-decorated Christmas tree out of its basement storage room and transport it upstairs without so much as a piece of tinsel falling out of place.

The couple turned to friend and designer Suzanne Roberts to handle the home’s warm interior scheme.

Much of what makes the Ousley’s home special, though, are the personal touches that represent their passions and their 25-year relationship. George can’t wait to show off the sports memorabilia he has amassed in his “man cave.”

“This is the best room of all. We’ve got baseball, we’ve got football, we’ve got golf. This is a real putting green,” he says as he points out the room’s most notable feature. “I put sand under it, so that once you get proficient, all you have to do is walk on it and it changes the contour of it.”

But the interior is just part of the story of the Ousley home. The exterior, which includes a deck that stretches across the width of the second floor, with patios and gardens beneath, is a landscaped paradise. A waterfall, installed by Lake of the Ozarks-area landscaper Scott Nelson, runs along the side of the house from front to back, ending near a rose garden that the Ousleys planted in memory of their late son, Jay.

Back inside, Willie Nelson croons “Always on My Mind” from the restored 1970s jukebox and George takes the cover off the pool table to get ready for a game. The Ousleys’ penchant for fun and their appreciation for comfortable surroundings have turned a well-designed house into a much-loved home. And if they had it to build all over again, they said, they wouldn’t change a thing.