The Petit family at home in Clever, MO.
Photo by Leah StiefermannThe Petits found their ideal home when they moved from Chicago to Clever, Missouri. Purchase Photo

Clever, Missouri is a sweet oasis just outside of Nixa, home to about 3,038 people, including Michael “Bud” and Lauren Petit and their two children. When the Petits relocated from Chicago to Nixa about 10 years ago, they were contemplating whether to move into the city of Springfield or go full-rural and move to Clever. “It was either a big city, no cars, or wide-open spaces,” Lauren says. Their family bought 220 acres of land in Clever in the ’90s, and Lauren’s brother and sister-in-law began building their home on the land, so the Petits decided to follow suit. “We have somewhat of a family compound,” Lauren says. Their kids ride four-wheelers back and forth between houses—the Petits live at the top of the farm and Lauren’s brother’s family lives at the bottom. “All the grandkids are super close,” she says.

The Petit children, ages 8 and 5, are very active in judo, soccer, dance, gymnastics and STEAM club. Letting the kids live country life and have the space to play outside was a major factor in building on the farm. “It feels like home because we’re out there with our family,” Lauren says. “It’s so peaceful, and it’s so quaint, and we’ve just built a life out there.” Everyone knows everyone, in the best way. “It’s like, ‘Oh, did you know you can go get eggs from this neighbor or you can get raspberries from this neighbor,’” she says. “We love it.” Almost four years ago, the Petits used 10 acres of their land to plant an elderberry hobby farm. The farm boasts about 9,000 elderberry plants. “We’re excited to see where it goes,” she says. “It’s a whole family affair.”

While constructing their home, they avoided building upper cabinets in their kitchen, choosing instead to fill the space with windows. Perched at the top of the farm, their house offers incredible views—especially during the fall when the Clever foliage is transforming. “I can have my outdoor fire going, the leaves are changing, the views are insane,” Lauren says. “It’s just so gorgeous to see that out the window as I’m cooking.”

Floating in Clever, Missouri

The James River is accessible for floating from the James River Delaware Access Point in Clever, Missouri.

Field in Clever, Missouri

Lavendar Falls Farm is a Clever community favorite.

Photos by Chuck Travers

What Residents Love About Clever, Missouri