“We both love the porch and conservatory—that’s where we spend 80 percent of our time,” the homeowner adds. “And with COVID, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to entertain than the porch. It’s perfect because you don’t have people in the house, and if it’s nice out, we can have the screens up. If it’s cold, we can roll them down and bring out some heaters. It has been a real plus with this house.”
The location dictated more than just layout and window placement, too. “The clients wanted to make sure the color palette, fabric, and finishes fit with the light and coziness of living at the lake,” explains Stephanie Doering, interior designer at Martha O’Hara Interiors. “They were especially drawn to blues and greens, mirroring the water and landscape surrounding the home, with warm earth tones mixed in.”
Furnishings and art from the owners’ previous homes can be found throughout, such as the crystal chandelier in the entry and wildlife pictures that adorn the walls, along with hand-me-downs from family members. A guest room features furniture that belonged to a set of grandparents, and the dining room buffet is filled with old dishes inherited by the wife. “I love the little bits of history we brought into a brand-new house,” says MOI senior interior designer Krystal Kellermann. “The clients brought several family heirloom pieces, many of which we had refinished to fit the new style. I find satisfaction in repurposing old things and giving them a fresh place to land.”
Influences from the couple’s travels also played a significant role in the design, from the striking black-and-white checker-board floors (inspired by an outdoor space in Italy they visited) found in the entry, conservatory, and upstairs laundry room to the light fixtures, clawfoot bathtubs, and artwork ranging from black-and-white etchings from Budapest to golf pictures from Scotland.
Another favorite element is the living room bar. Tucked into the corner and the only piece of stained wood in the room, it is elegant, unassuming, and tailored specifically for the owners. “We spent a lot of time in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and the old hotels there had these little one-man bars in the lobby that they would open up for cocktail hour before guests would go to dinner, and we loved them,” says the homeowner. “It’s something we started in our other homes and knew we wanted here as well. It has a real social aspect—you can stand there and chat, or, if you’re having something catered or a party, you can hire a bartender and let them set up there.”
The lower level was inspired by one of the owners’ favorite California restaurants—the Plow & Angel in Santa Barbara—and is a cozy gathering space with exposed wooden beams, a fully stocked wine room and bar, a home theater (a late addition, but one very much appreciated by the husband), and, perhaps best of all, a unique garden room. “When I first looked at the floor plans, I was most excited about the garden room. This was the first, and so far only, project I’ve worked on that has one,” says Kellermann. “I immediately had this vision of an English cottage garden and wanted to evoke the spirit of that in a way that made sense in a Minnesota lake home.”
Characterized by earth tones, leathered countertops, and plenty of open shelving for holding flowerpots and vases, the room was designed to be extra durable to withstand years of use. “We decided on heavier and darker materials like concrete, granite, and oak so the homeowner didn’t have to worry about the day-to-day ‘dirt’ when working with her plants,” Doering adds.
With two guest suites upstairs and the thoughtful addition of another sizable suite located on the main level, the house is perfectly suited for visiting guests while ensuring the ease of potential one-level living for the future. And as for any other future building plans? “No, absolutely not,” the homeowner admits, laughing. “My husband said this is it, this is our last one, so we wanted it to be perfect.”