Second homes out-of-state are one of our specialties! In fact, we have been enjoying our work in Wisconsin so much that I decided to establish a second studio at 304 Deerpath East, Suite E., Fontana, WI. (Same phone – 847-705-9569, and please continue to direct all mail to 130 S. Northwest Highway Barrington, IL 60010.)

Most recently, one of my Chicago-area clients elected to build a new home on a lake in lovely Delafield, Wis. She dreamed of building sand castles and making memories with her grown children, her grandchildren and everyone’s friends. The home is an easy drive from my client’s primary residence in the Chicago area, making it accessible for quick weekends or longer stays when possible. We created the interior design style she wanted, choosing all of the furnishings, fixtures and finishes throughout the home.

stone fireplace,. great room, leather sofas, cocktail table, side table, book cases, rug, console table, table lamp, arm chair, ottomans, pillows, accessories, lake view, chandelier

I believe that COVID confirmed for my client that this new home was the right decision, as she and her family could escape the city and everyone could enjoy the property and lake. But the home will be a joy for them long after COVID is behind us. All photos by David Bader Photography

Choosing Subtle Lake Home VibeAmong my client’s goals was to avoid a “themed” lake home vibe. We opted instead for subtle hints of the outdoors, such as the branchy chandelier centered over the space and the tall sculpture in the corner, made from a tree root and shell. Its height balances the “weight” of the stained cabinetry wall and the unbreakable wood is family friendly for kids and pets.

Remember the Little ones

Family togetherness was key my client. To accommodate everyone from kids to grandma (aka Gaga), we included a quartet of ottomans where the children can sit when they play at the table. They are perfect as foot rests for the grownups too, and when not in use, can be tucked neatly under the cocktail table.

great room, stone fireplace, cabinets, leather sofas, console table, table lamp, cocktail table, side table, ottomans, arm chair, rug, accessories, lake view

We revised the original blueprints to integrate the window wall with the built-ins flanking the fire place.

Think About Balance

Coming onboard before construction began allowed us to work with the architect and builder to revise the blueprints and integrate the window to the right of the fireplace with the built-in on that wall. We agreed to clad that window wall in stained wood to match the adjacent bookcases, and added a window seat in the same finish. Now the wall is well balanced, and as a bonus, there is another place to sit.

Choose Family-Friendly Fabrics and Finishes

We recommended long-wearing, cleanable, stain- and nick-resistant furnishings almost everywhere to take the worry out of family fun. In the family room, that includes:

  • A cocktail/children’s table with metal legs and naturally distressed top that disguises dings from children’s toys (and perhaps adults’ electronics!)
  • A hardwearing, wool blend rug
  • A side chair in durable, cleanable fabric
  • Organic accessories that won’t shatter

In the kitchen we chose durable quartzite countertops and island stools upholstered in an easy-to-clean fabric.

great room kitchen, white kitchen, beaned ceiling, wood floor, island stools, two islands, pendant lights, glass front cabinets, armchairs, stairway, ship lap, chandelier

A color palette in shades of soft white and browns unites the great room and kitchen.

Make an Open Floor Plan Work

Defining and blending spaces is always a priority in an open floor plan home. In this case, the family room and kitchen share the same space overlooking the lake. We defined the family room with a rug and established a “boundary” in the kitchen with the angled dining island, lined with ample stools for seating. Then we blended colors, textures and styles between the two spaces for a unified look that I call separate but equal!

white kitchen, lake house kitchen, two islands, island stools, pendant lights, glass front cabinets, wood floor

The family that eats together, stays together.

Maximize Your Seating

When the gang is all here, there is plenty of seating in the kitchen between the six counter stools and the four chairs at the table to the left. My client’s wish list included a big, open kitchen where she can cook to her heart’s content and still be part of the action, not to mention enjoy the view out to the lake. Two types of fixtures make the kitchen more interesting and help define the dining island from the work island. The open framework of the work island fixture, the glass-fronted cabinets and the soft white color palette give the kitchen an easy-breezy lake house look that is conducive to relaxing good times.

master bedroom, neutral palette, arm chairs, round ottoman, bench, window treatments, pillows, bedding, table lamp, accessories, carpet

Geometric window treatments bring a gentle burst of energy to this understated master bedroom.

Plan For Quiet Time

It’s great to get together with family, right? But we all need a little “me” time during the day to unwind. I know I do! This master bedroom is designed with that in mind. Quiet colors, subtle textures and patterns combine for a look that is luxurious yet calming, and it doesn’t distract from the gorgeous lake views through the windows. That’s a beautiful way to start or end the day, and perhaps for a midday nap!

master bath, freestanding tub, rectangular tub, stained wood cabinetry, vanity, beaded cahndelier, window treatment, geometric fabric, sconces, mirror, marble floor

For a smooth transition from the master bedroom to the adjoining bath, we chose the same window treatment fabric for both spaces.

Elegant Lake Home Bathroom? Why not!

Even though this is her lake home, our client wanted a master bathroom that was elegant but not pretentious. She loves the cascading white beads and hand-rubbed, antique brass finish of the chandelier, as well as the Carrara marble flooring. You can just see the corner of the mosaic tile inset we designed to accent the approach to the tub. It’s almost like another accessory in the room. You can find more photos on our website at Wisconsin Lake House.

Are you thinking of buying, building or updating a second home? We have worked with clients in Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, Texas and Colorado, and we would love to collaborate with you on your home-away-from-home, wherever it is! Contact me at 847-705-9569.