Island living

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

There's only one way to get to and from Cheryl and John Zeiger's summer cottage. And it's by boat. The leisurely ride from Fisher's Marina to the Zeigers' warm-weather getaway on Buckeye Lake takes less than 10 minutes but immediately sets the mood for relaxation. Visitors to the lake are enveloped in a light breeze that somehow makes ordinary life in Columbus seem far, far away. That's exactly what lured the Zeigers here.

John, an attorney for The Columbus Dispatch, and his wife, a retired teacher, sought an escape close to home in 1997 when they purchased the cottage and surrounding half-acre of land, known as Keller Island. They fell in love with the charm of the historic cottage, its picturesque setting and "the feeling of being totally secluded," Cheryl said.

"You get that sense of just being out in nature."

Though called a "cottage," the 2,800-square-foot home is by no means rugged or rustic.

The original structure, built in 1915, has been added onto over the years to include four bedrooms, three full baths and a resort-like outdoor living space with a pool, kitchen and screened-in porch.

The lushly landscaped island is self-contained and offers land-lovers all the necessary comforts-electricity, cell-phone service, satellite TV and wireless Internet.

When the Zeigers entertain family and friends on the weekends, everyone tends to gather on the outdoor patio, which offers a close-up view of the lake. Even when it's just the two of them, "Most of our time is spent outside," Cheryl said. In the evenings, she and her husband often settle into the Adirondack chairs on the front lawn and quietly enjoy the scenic lake. "We sit and watch the sunset and have a glass of wine."

After purchasing the home, Cheryl remodeled much of the interior with the help of decorator Sally McDonald of Interiorworks. A palette of cheerful colors-soft yellows, blues and whites-and classic patterns such as stripes and plaids in durable fabrics captured the easygoing lake theme Cheryl wanted for the couple's second home.

The Zeigers' two sons, Jeff and Matt, were teenagers when their parents purchased the cottage and used to invite high school and college friends to hang out at the lake. Now, they're both grown with families of their own and are making new memories there with their wives and young children.

"It's evolved into really being a family place," Cheryl said. "The kids love it."

Click for a slideshow of the Zeiglers' summer cottage.