Bill & Vickie Toalson’s home is a resort paradise with amenities for all sports enthusiasts.
Have you ever dreamed of designing and building a house with every cool feature imaginable? That’s what Bill and Vickie Toalson did in 1987 when they built their 8,200 square foot home at 7273 South Hidden Pond, off Route K and just south of the Thornbrook Terrace neighborhood. It was here that the couple raised three children – Jodi and David Rowe from Vickie and Charlie Toalson’s previous marriage – while creating a million memories.
Now, after 35 years in their dream home, these sports fans/retirees are ready to downsize. Vickie, 73, is a St. Louis native and retired travel agent, while Bill, 75, is from Centralia with a background in construction and general. They lived in Racine, Wisconsin for a few years, but always intended to return to COMO.
During this time, they kept a binder of all their design ideas. Whenever one of them said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have X, Y, or Z?” they added it to the binder. It was the mid-1980s, so pot fillers and smart fridges weren’t in the binder. But an indoor court to play basketball, racquetball and volleyball? You bet. A swimming pool and a lake? Check, check. Room for a gym, pool table and card room? Absolutely. Anyone buying the Toalson property will have to love the sport and be as active as Bill and Vickie have been.
“I think a few things stand out [about this property], although I could choose more than one,” says the Toalsons’ real estate agent, Barbara Schlemeier of House of Brokers, INC. “One of them would be the fact that it would be like living in a complex. I’ve been in real estate for a very, very long time, and I can’t remember any property that had a more beautiful backdrop worthy of that gorgeous pool! The house has such an impressive floor plan that would lend itself to almost anyone’s lifestyle.
Go big or go… home?
The Toalsons’ huge 5-bedroom, 7-bathroom estate isn’t big to be big. Vickie says the sufficient square footage happened naturally when planning the home. Vickie is one of eight children and she wanted each of their three children to have their own room. And she wanted a big kitchen.
“We’re just very family oriented,” says Vickie. “My father’s philosophy was – he bought the biggest piece of land on the street – he preferred to have all the children in his garden so he knew where they were.”
And that’s how it was at the Toalson residence for years. Their three children grew up playing sports. In fact, David Rowe played football at MU before opening D. Rowe’s restaurant and bar.
“When David was playing soccer at United, he and his teammates came after practice to jump in the pool,” Vickie explains. “It was always great fun with the kids here. Jodi’s soccer team camped out in the backyard. Many children from out of town have felt at home here.
The house also had a fraternity party here and an engagement party there, and it’s easy to see why.
Owner of AST Construction, now defunct, Bill was the general contractor for the house, which took 14 months to build.
Something for everyone
The brick home sits on a 10-acre wooded lot that offers great hiking opportunities. The Toalsons previously owned much more acreage, but over the past two years they have divided it into smaller lots and sold them, saving 5 acres of land for their future smaller home.
The front of the house is well maintained and lush. A large entrance, with a spiral staircase, precedes the luxury of the house. To either side are the formal living and dining rooms, which Bill says are only used during holidays; neither will the little house.
Beyond the foyer is a large kitchen (which has a dumbwaiter on the lower level) and a huge living room with a vaulted ceiling that opens to the second floor. A stone fireplace adorns a wall that rises to the end. This living room is Vickie’s favorite room because it’s where she spends all her time. Off the living room is one of several terraces overlooking an L-shaped swimming pool, which was installed by Vaughan Pools & Spas in 1997, complete with underwater stools for in-pool bar service. Just beyond the pool is a 3-acre lake, where Bill enjoys fishing and the couple enjoy canoeing. A large three-season room and a secondary master bedroom complete the ground floor. The stairs aren’t easy on Vickie’s knees, so having two master bedroom suites offered some flexibility depending on age.
Downstairs, there’s plenty of space for every hobby and game. As a general contractor, Bill’s must-have list in 1987 included dedicated workshop space. There’s a gym, room for a pool table, a small poker room, and a bar, all of which open into a large family room, which is Bill’s favorite area of the house. Vintage arcade games have found their place among other games. The wood cabinets on either side of the fire pit open to the outside for easy loading which is another custom feature. The lower floor heads towards the pool and the lake.
The second floor houses the master master suite, three other bedrooms and an office to which Bill added a very custom feature: two golf holes recessed into the floor for him to practice his putt.
“It was a process of finding a mat that the ball would roll straight on. They had to roll out the mat so I could hit balls on it,” Bill recalled with a laugh.
A quick golf cart ride through the woods to an adjacent building reveals a 4-car garage, in the back of which is the racquetball-basketball-volleyball court built in 1993. Bill was an avid player racquetball when he was younger.
The Toalsons haven’t done much to update their home over the years other than repainting and stripping wallpaper, although Vickie plans to replace the dated bar before the house is sold.
End of season
“It was a great home to raise kids and entertain their friends through college,” Bill says. “And that’s more home than two people need.”
The Toalsons are in no rush to build the smallest house they will move into when their large estate is sold. They plan to travel in their RV for a while while they design and build it, enjoying their retirement. And staying somewhere on the property that has housed it for 35 years, near the lake, neighbors who have become good friends, and even two of their children who live on adjacent land, will ensure happiness and comfort for years to come.