Longtime PK couple builds dream home with stunning views

Story by Steve Nussbaum | Photos by Erika Carter

A person and person sitting in chairs in a pool

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Our early summer edition architectural featured home is in The Cliffs and owned by David and Nancy Upshaw

David and Nancy Upshaw have owned three homes on the same street in The Cliffs, but it’s their most recent dwelling that’s the featured architectural home in this issue of PK Magazine.

The stunning views from this gorgeous home compete with the best perspectives of any other structure on the lake.

Nancy Upshaw grew up in Colleyville, Texas, and has been coming to PK since the 1980s, while her husband grew up in Irving, Texas, and always went to other lakes surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He never made it out to PK until he met his wife.

The couple started their weekend lake trips by buying a boat in 2009 and keeping it at The Cliffs Marina. They said they loved the lake so much that they had local builder, and long-time family friend, Mike Sartain construct their first home in The Cliffs in 2010.

Even though they said they loved their home, they always kept an eye on three lots at the corner of their street. The lots were owned by three different families, but they also were situated in the most prime location in The Cliffs. The lots sit on a point looking north, with expansive views of the dam, The Cliffs, The Ranch and the main part of the southernmost part of Possum Kingdom Lake. They offered an incredible view while also being keenly positioned for PK sunrises and sunsets.

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The Upshaws said they knew that if they could buy all three of them, they could build the home they envisioned. They knew the home would need to be a one-story dwelling, and this would require all three lots that stretched across the entire point on the cliff line. Local real estate agent Jan Johanson worked diligently with all four parties to help the Upshaws realize their dream.

In 2020, the couple put their first home on the market, and it sold quickly. Knowing the new house would take more than a year to build, they bought another home on the same street and immediately remodeled it, with the intention of selling it once their dream house was complete.

Building a home takes patience, however, and sometimes the construction doesn’t finish within the original time frame. For almost a year, the only sign of progress was the huge wall that could be seen from the lakeside. The wall was a complicated and a critical piece of the project, and the lot required specialized engineering to ensure that the home was secure.

The result of that construction is a 20-foot wall from the foundation that is 2 feet thick all the way up.

“The wall is now holding up the cliff,” David Upshaw jokingly said.

For the home’s construction, the couple once again enlisted the expertise of local builder, and friend, Sartain. They appreciated his professionalism and constant communication that a project such as theirs required. The result of their combined efforts is a timeless PK lake property stretching more than 5,700 square feet, with four bedrooms, six baths, two living areas, a fitness space and an outdoor living space that is second to none.

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Other local contractors, such as Let us Do it Landscaping and J. Caldwell Custom Pools, contributed to the success of the Upshaws’ project.

Guests who walk up to the home’s two large metal doors will immediately start to see the view through the glass. Once inside, the panoramic view of the entire home commands more attention as visitors enter a wide-open great room, dining room and kitchen space with soaring ceilings and contemporary styling. The space is anchored by the wood beams on the ceiling and a huge gas fireplace.

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Nancy Upshaw said the kitchen is one of her favorite parts of the house, because it’s there that she’s not only in the middle of everything, but also in prime position to admire the great view that never gets old.

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Adjacent to the kitchen is a large prep kitchen and butler’s pantry. There’s also an oversized laundry, with its two sets of washer and dryers, to accommodate friends and family who come visiting on the weekends.

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Off the kitchen, with access to the outdoor living space, is David Upshaw’s favorite space: the wine storage and bar area. This space looks like something out of a five-star restaurant in Dallas, with the bar counter and back wall made from a translucent stone and LED lights behind them, resulting in a very chic and sophisticated bar space.

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The couple loves to entertain, and the bar design was his idea to match their lifestyle.

The home features a large master bedroom and bathroom, and the master bath is another of Nancy Upshaw’s favorite parts of the structure. The bedroom has stunning views of the lake, with its own outdoor space for early morning relaxation, while the master bath has a huge glassed-in shower and soaker tub with a view of the lake.

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The couple plans to be at PK full time at some point, so a large master closet also was incorporated into the design.

The home features a large safe and a safe room, too, and the lower level has a fitness and bonus room space tucked below the main part of the house. Added features such as a generator system and water filtration system ensure that the couple has electricity and water during extreme weather events in North Texas.

As impressive as the inside of the home is, though, the star of the show is the outdoor living space. 

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The entire back of the home features several comfortable outdoor spaces, as well as a gourmet outdoor kitchen next to the bar. The massive outdoor space has sliding-glass doors that can be lowered or raised to accommodate personal comfort levels, and the doors roll up into the ceiling so no door tracks are visible within the space. The space also features an extensive misting system and outdoor heaters, and the “infinity edge” pool presents the illusion that it flows into the beautiful lake on the edge of the cliff.

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The Upshaws currently split their time between the DFW metropolitan area and PK Lake. David Upshaw is the operating partner for Corvette World, which has locations in Dallas and Houston, so he’s stuck in the city for several days each week. The couple has four adult children and nine grandchildren, and the families love to come out to the lake and stay in the new house.

The Upshaws’ journey to build their dream home has taken a lot of time, but they said it’s been worth it. For now, they’re enjoying living at PK and wouldn’t trade the lifestyle it offers for anything else.

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