A lifelong dream of owning a weekend home on beautiful Lake Michigan was finally realized when Chicago owners purchased land on a natural sand dune high above the lake, complete with a private beach.
The new cabin by the lake, one of the the best houses in the world, merges and borrows from its beautiful lakeside setting. Its earthy, organic décor and furnishings ensure that the world inside and outside come together to create the perfect natural retreat from the busy everyday life.
The lake house is newly built and replaces a colonial style house that was not suitable for development. With the talented team of architects Booth Hansen and interior designer Bruce Fox involved, the new home soon began to take shape. We caught up with designer Bruce Fox, who walks us through the highlights, starting with the porch space, above.
“A summer house isn’t complete without a porch,” says Bruce. “Here we brought local vintage artifacts like the Old Hickory sofa and 1940s rocking chair to set the tone for this wonderful indoor-outdoor space. The concept was a desire to create a relaxed and relaxing space.”
A weathered teak Larkspur coffee table by Kingsley-Bate and a round teak dining table reflect the natural hues of the wooden planks and pillars, while vintage Tolix chairs complement the other antique furniture.
“This lower level entrance is the main entrance to the house,” explains designer Bruce, “from here you go up to the main level.” When the entrance is on a different level than the rest of the house, it is worth working hard to make a room out of it, rather than just an empty transitional space.
Bruce’s hallway ideas revolved around making this entryway cozy to set the tone for the home. “The early 19th century painted armoire was just the right fit for this space and grouped with a chair it offers a cozy respite when entering the house and doubles as a reading niche for the guest bedroom in the distance.” explains Bruce.
Living room – airy during the day
Living room ideas for this bright, bright space it had to work just as well on winter evenings, and the combination of vintage and natural wood furniture consolidates the space and helps it blend in with its magnificent setting.
“The client asked to bring the outside into the space – easy with all the great windows – but we wanted to do a little more,” explains Bruce. “At first they described the interior as having a bit of a cabin feel and here we used old American walnut and a reclaimed wood table to bring in the warmth of natural wood.”
Key pieces include a pair of mid-century rustic American walnut-style benches by Newel Seating, upholstered in Ralph Lauren’s Red Rock Blanket / Harvest fabric; 1920s French Lounge Chairs from Restoration Hardware; and a handmade Catalan cocktail table from Demiurge, NY.
Living room: cozy at night
“We wanted this cozy living room to feel as comfortable on a perfect August beach day as on a cold winter’s evening sitting by the fire. Being a year-round vacation, this home must be comfortable in all seasons. ‘says Bruce.
And with the sunset view over the lake, there’s definitely no space in the house to match it.
Dining room in the treetops
Ideas for the dining room as this central hub of the house is simple and organic – there’s no point trying to compete with the treetop views through floor-to-ceiling windows. The room is also positioned with the stairs behind it, so it is important that the furnishings do not obstruct the view from the stairs.
“Bringing the outdoors was the main focus of the design here,” says designer Bruce. ‘Choosing a locally sourced and handmade live edge dining table from solid black walnut was the right move. You can truly feel the soul of the tree with a live touch. Our client was very nostalgic for red and white gingham and here it is perfect for the seat cushions painted in the Windsor style. ‘
Galley style kitchen workspace
This is designer Bruce Fox’s favorite space. ‘I love that you can open the doors on each end and the breeze blows through. The green painted island in Farrow & Ball’s Lichen is perfect for the tree perch, ‘he says.
His ideas for the kitchen including creating a kitchen-style arrangement for the main work area with dark worktops and handles against white cabinets. “We wanted the cabinets to be neutral and calm, leaving us with the island to provide contrast in the paint color.”
A custom bench was hidden in an alcove at one end of the kitchen to keep things comfortable and sociable. “The orange of the flat-weave rug and stool provides a beautiful counterpoint and pop of color to the neutral space,” adds designer Bruce.
Anyone looking for ideas for the bedroom for a truly relaxing room you should consider this mix of earthy neutrals with a cool watery blue. Designer Bruce Fox explains the thinking behind the scheme: “Perched in the trees, this bedroom has an amazing view of Lake Michigan, which was the initial inspiration for the color palette. Blue is calm and soothing. as you might imagine a lake house should be. The live headboard brings the outdoors back into this peaceful space and the kilim rug continues the relaxed vibe. ‘
The long narrow main bathroom is perfectly set up with a shower on one end and a wonderful bathtub on the other.
Bruce explains his bathroom ideas for the space that cleverly bridges the gap between contemporary luxury and a more rustic vibe. “We took the opportunity to create warmth with a wonderful antique rug and twig chair that once again brings the outdoors and cabin aesthetic that our client likes,” she says.
The external view
“Outdoor spaces were vital for the client who wanted to make sure there was plenty of flexible space on the outside deck that overlooked the lake and the screened porch quickly became a favorite in the house,” says Bruce. “It’s a great place to stay in the summer with the cool lake breezes and soak up the sun shining from the lake into the trees.”
This idyllic retreat is the result of a perfect collaboration between architect, builder, designer and client. It has successfully translated the client’s wishes for indoor-outdoor living and marries cozy interior rooms with more rustic beach huts and cabin-style spaces. And the location of the new house, three flights above street level, offers the best of lake and treetop views.
Interior Design: Bruce Fox Design
Architecture: Stand Hansen
Construction: Scott Christopher Case
Landscape architecture: Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects