“This is a second home for a young family with 4 children,” Renee DiSanto of Park and Oak Interior Design tells us of this lakeside property. “Their primary residence is outside of Chicago, which is around a 3-hour drive away.” It’s a brand new construction; the homeowners contacted the Park and Oak team just as they were breaking ground. Both the husband and wife have large extended families and wanted to host guests for long weekends over the summer to enjoy the lake and also use the home as a relaxing retreat from their busy lifestyle. The entire design process took about a year and a half from start to finish, and the end result is an absolute oasis.

The clients were inspired by the signature style of the East Coast. “They often referenced homes in the Hamptons as we were in the beginning stages of the design process,” Renee says. “She loves white and bright, airy spaces, so we designed a space that nods to that area, while still highlighting the Wisconsin lakeside surroundings of the home itself.” Because the home is a new build, the designers wanted to ensure the home exuded warmth and character. “In the entry, we started with vertical wood board, ceiling detail and a stained wood door that gives a warm welcome and sets the tone for the rest of the space,” Renee explains. “Our client fell in love with a boat print by KT Merry, so that brought in a nod to the East Coast and served as a focal point of the entry.”

In the kitchen are white cabinets and a warm wood island, which is perfectly situated to enjoy the sweeping lake views while cooking. The breakfast nook is punctuated by a nautical Ralph Lauren light fixture, while a banquette and four chairs create a nice lounge area for morning coffee and conversation.

The family room has soaring ceilings with a grand stone fireplace and built-ins with wood shelves. “We painted the doors black leading out to the lake for contrast and played up the wood beams on the ceiling and wood cased openings,” the designer recalls. “We wanted to keep this space simple and light, so the lake views could really be the centerpiece.”

Of course, every lake house needs a mudroom. “The homeowners wanted an oversized mudroom that was functional and organized – a single space where guests could drop their things and easily put away a pair of shoes or hang up a coat,” Renee shares. “The room also functions as a wet room for the lake, which is much needed with 4 children (often more!) running in and out of the home during the summer. Cubbies were created to store towels, coolers and gear, while a stacked washer and dryer, wash sink, and ample cabinetry add to the functionality of the space.” The design initially began with a wood dresser that Park and Oak created to present as an antique, and then built the mudroom around it. The wide plank vertical board was carried through, while the hexagon Chicago brick floor is a nod to the family’s roots. 

Upstairs are the bedrooms and a cozy lounge. “With the space being so new, we wanted to incorporate more detail and character, so we designed a ceiling detail that added depth and texture to the room,” Renee says. “We then lined up 3 plush chaise lounges for additional seating/congregating space, perfect for curling up with a good book during rainy lake days.” This detail is one Renee admits is a bit unusual, but it looks very unique and has been quite functional for the family.

For the girls’ bedroom, which is quite large, the designers separated it into 2 areas – a lounge space with a rattan chaise and then 3 blue spindle beds to snuggle up at bedtime. “The muted, soft tones used in the girls’ room felt feminine, yet played well into the overall look and feel of the home,” Renee muses.

Though it’s meant to be a vacation home, we wouldn’t fault anyone for staying here year round. It’s restful and the perfect respite from a busy schedule in the city.