A Legacy of Quality
Third generation homebuilder creates a modern oasis for his family
By Nancy Peevy | Photos by Bob Coleman
Oliver Kiesel grew up cleaning job sites and working for a homebuilding company that his father and grandfather had established. “I can remember as a young kid walking through Bella Vista trying to find pins and laying out lots before GPS was even a thought,” says Oliver. “That’s my earliest memory of working with my dad and granddad, when I was 6 or 7.”
Originally from Moberly, Missouri, Oliver’s family frequently vacationed at Beaver Lake and fell in love with the area. In 1977, Oliver’s grandfather and father founded O.A.K. Homes with a mission to help people build their dream homes.
They built homes at Lost Bridge Village during the early stages of Beaver Lake’s development. As business grew, they transitioned to custom homebuilding in Bella Vista. “My dad and grandpa built thousands of houses in Bella Vista,” Oliver says. “My dad bought a lot of land on Loch Lomond and built over 350 houses.”
Oliver learned every aspect of the homebuilding process from his father and grandfather. After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a business management degree, Oliver joined the family business.
“I never really thought of doing anything different,” Oliver says. “I had a couple of job offers in Texas to work for a large homebuilding company, but I’m glad I stayed here. It was the right place and the right time, because of the growth.”
When his father retired about 10 years ago, Oliver took over the business. Today, the family enterprise encompasses homebuilding as well as its landscaping and pool companies.
“What sets O.A.K. Homes apart from other homebuilders is that we can do it all in one,” says Oliver. “We can design the house, build a pool and do the landscaping; we’re a true custom homebuilder. People come to us with land, then we help them design and build a house that fits their lot and their needs.”
Oliver and his wife, Katherine, have three sons, Oliver Jr. (14), Owen (12) and Oakley (9). A few years ago, they built a family house in the St. Valery Downs subdivision in Bentonville to be close to friends.
“We moved here for the family atmosphere,” Oliver says. “Our baseball and basketball teams are here, and the neighborhood is really connected with a lot of great families in it.”
When a larger lot in the same subdivision became available, they decided to build again because the 1.8-acre flat lot meant the Kiesel family could arrange the house and pool to be more functional.
While the family enjoyed aspects of their previous home, Oliver knew there needed to be a few changes. He moved the home movie theater to the first floor, off the beautiful bar area, creating an open living, kitchen and dining area. Large garage doors along one wall also open to create a seamless extension of the indoor space with access to the pool and outdoor entertaining area.
“With our boys, we always have our baseball team here,” Oliver adds. “I wanted the pool big enough so that we could have pool parties for them. I also wanted a large entertaining area so we could have friends and family over without being cramped.”
To create the transitional-modern look of the 7,400-square-foot home, Oliver used a combination of concrete, HardieBacker and stucco on the exterior, with an all-black metal roof. Chris Goddard of Goddard Design Group also helped with exterior colors and materials for the facade.
“We already knew what we wanted, but turning it over to Chris Goddard to do the finishing touches and colors put us more at ease, because that is the hardest part of the process.”
Goddard suggested using “shou sugi ban” around the 22-foot fireplace in the great room, on the front door and second level exteriors. Shou sugi ban is a Japanese technique that is used to preserve cedar wood by charring it with fire, giving it a deep charcoal black appearance.
The modern staircase from UDI Inc. in Rogers and the addition of glass throughout the house contribute to the modern feel. Lots of Pella windows and doors help bring the beauty of Arkansas inside the house.
After the Kiesels moved into their home in February 2020, the porte-cochère quickly became one of their favorite features. “I don’t know what it is about the porte-cochère, but there’s a comfort to it when you can pull your car up and you don’t have to go into the garage. It feels like an inviting space to come in and out of the house,” Oliver says.
Building his own home was no different than building for someone else, Oliver says, and he wakes up every day feeling blessed that he gets to do something that he loves. He sees the same love for building houses in middle son, Owen.
“He’s going to work with me just like I did with my dad and grandpa,” Oliver says. “He loves it and he’s a hard worker. He’s had the drive since he was very little.” Oliver is teaching his son to build every home as if it were his own, and that quality is always number one.
From father to son to grandson, and now, to great-grandson – the family’s tradition of quality and legacy of O.A.K. Homes continues on.
HOME PROS USED
Appliances: Metro Appliances & More
Builder, Architect, Concrete & Landscaping: O.A.K. Homes & Landscape
Cabinets: C&C Cabinets Inc.
Décor, Furnishings & Mirrors: Warrior Designs
Designer & Interior Decorator: Chris Goddard, Goddard Design Group
Doors & Windows: Pella
Electrician: Pruitt Electric
Exterior Stone: Diamond Petra Stone
Flooring: Matt Grogan
Granite, Marble & Tile: Corders Creative Granite; Pacific Shore Stones
Home Theater, Sound System, Wiring & Alarm: Complete Audio Visual Inc.
Insulation: Weatherguard Insulation Inc.
Painting: DRE Painting & Construction LLC
Plumber: Jesse’s Plumbing Inc.
Pool: Luxury Pools by O.A.K. Homes
Shower Doors: Precision Glass & Mirror Inc.