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Leave Your Worries Behind



The growing Carlton Landing Academy is an easy walk - or bike - from any home in the community.

Photo by Elaine Warner

It's Not Often You Get to Meet a Town Founder You might expect a venerable graybeard, but you won’t find that in Carlton Landing founder Grant Humphreys. Well, maybe a bit venerable and maybe a touch of gray
in his beard, but throw in young and good-looking with a beautiful wife and five cute kids.

Humphreys came by his interest naturally – perhaps even genetically. His grandfather Jack Carlton Humphreys (for whom the community is named) was active in real estate development in Oklahoma and Texas in the ’60s. His father Kirk – mayor of Oklahoma City from 1998 to 2003 – invested and developed projects in eight states in the ’80s and ’90s. Grant began developing and operating commercial properties in the OKC area in 2000 and, in 2006, he and his dad united to form the Humphreys Company.



Overlooking Lake Eufaula. Photo by Elaine Warner

Creating a Community

Fifteen years ago, Grant proposed to his wife Jenifer on a beach in Destin, Florida. On that and subsequent trips to the area, he became well-acquainted with the planned communities of Seaside and Rosemary Beach. Somewhere along the line, the idea of transplanting this concept to Lake Eufaula, where his family had spent many happy days, took root.

Kirk started buying land along the lake in 2007 and in 2008 Grant contacted the architectural firm of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, town planners of Seaside, to consult on the creation of an Oklahoma community. The DPZ team organized a charette, an intense planning session, with a number of leading architects to create a master plan.

An underlying theme was Traditional Neighborhood Design, taking the best elements of pre-1940s neighborhoods. These features included smaller lots with more room for shared parks, pools and gardens, homes with front porches to encourage a culture of community and promoting a slower, simpler lifestyle.

Pool house and entrance. Photo by Randy Fischer Photography

To try to begin to understand the complexity of the project, I read the 164-page design code. The document is an education in history and design rationale. My eyes began to glaze over as I got into the details, but Grant gave me a quick and easy summary. “We’re creating an inclusive community with a carefully orchestrated mix of residences, businesses and civic uses all integrated in a walkable framework,” he said. “Our core questions are, ‘Does this bring people together? Is this a life of simplicity? Does this reconnect people with nature and creative arts?’ What sets this new urban community apart from traditional neighborhoods is that the public realm is managed like a resort.”

This is no cookie-cutter community. Though the master plan has an architectural theme, it is executed with variations. Steve Winner, director of marketing and sales, explained that they looked for an Oklahoma architectural vernacular – something that represented the history and heritage of the state. Because of the unique way the state was settled with land runs and lotteries he says, “Almost all Oklahoma stories have a farm somewhere in their timeline.” Many of the houses are representative of farmhouses – two stories, wood construction, simple lines. But that’s not the only style. Interspersed are what the design plan calls major and minor “spice” styles, including Arts and Crafts, Rural Gothic, even some Victorian and Italianate homes. The key is not conformity, but harmony.

Warmly lit homes beckon. Photo by Randy Fischer Photography

The Danger of Visiting

To really get the feel of what Carlton Landing is – and will become – you have to visit. I could feel my stress level dropping as my husband Jack and I drove through the entrance towers, down a winding drive and into a shady oak forest. Coming to the top of a ridge, we spotted the lake from a lovely overlook. The road continued its curve through the trees when we spotted a green park with a peaked pavilion.

Ahead on the right were two pristine white buildings – the school – and a two-story brick structure, the Meeting House. Houses, finished and unfinished, lined the divided boulevard. Two blocks ahead, an open-steepled structure provided an elegant entrance to the community pool.

This is no cookie-cutter community. Though the master plan has an architectural theme, it is executed with variations. Steve Winner, director of marketing and sales, explained that they looked for an Oklahoma architectural vernacular – something that represented the history and heritage of the state. Because of the unique way the state was settled with land runs and lotteries he says, “Almost all Oklahoma stories have a farm somewhere in their timeline.” Many of the houses are representative of farmhouses – two stories, wood construction, simple lines. But that’s not the only style. Interspersed are what the design plan calls major and minor “spice” styles, including Arts and Crafts, Rural Gothic, even some Victorian and Italianate homes. The key is not conformity, but harmony.

Spectacular sunsets. Photo by Randy Fischer Photography

Home or Home Away From Home

The nascent community is growing slowly and carefully. Fifteen homes have been completed; 16 more are under construction. Carlton Landing Academy, a public magnet school, serves grades pre-K through fourth and the fifth grade is being added in the fall. Thirty-five youngsters attended in the ’12-’13 school year. A picture-book community garden includes raised beds, a water feature and a chicken chateau where the neighborhood children can collect and share fresh eggs. The pool and hot tub provide a popular gathering spot while the Boat Club offers access to luxury Cobalt ski boats and Harris FloteBote pontoons without the hassle of boat ownership.

Homeowners are divided between full-time and part-time residents. Some of those second homes will be available for vacation rentals. Boat Club membership is not limited to residents, but membership is required for individual use of these water crafts. Boats with drivers and ski instruction, canoes and kayaks will be available to weekend guests.

 Boating on the lake. Photo by Randy Fischer Photography

I must admit I was a bit skeptical when I visited Carlton Landing. I’m very familiar with Rosemary Beach and I wasn’t sure the concept would travel – after all, they have an ocean. I came away dreaming of a Carlton cottage. While being a perfect spot for a quiet getaway, it’s more than that. It really is a place I’d like to live.

Carlton Landing has great “bones” and as, over the years, more amenities like restaurants and shops are added, it’s only going to get better. Congratulations to the Humphreys for vision and patience. Comparing Carlton Landing to wine – today it’s a delightful beaujolais. In the future, look for a full-bodied Bordeaux. Santé! 

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Calendar

November 2017

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

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A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday cartoons aren’t just for the children anymore. Share the classics with your crew every Saturday on an Oklahoma River Cruise. Kids 6 and under ride free.

Cost: $15 (free for kids 6 and under)

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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