"Angela, as we settle in we cannot help but think of you and the beautiful and thoughtful work that we are enjoying! There are so many things that you did to make our home both livable and enjoyable!"

- Homeowner of Lake House Zen

PROJECT TYPE: Renovation + furnishings

LOCALE: The Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY

SIZE: 3,600 sq ft + outdoor

STORY: A Florida based client purchased this three-level lake house in Western New York specifically for generations of their family to get away and spend the summers together at the Chautauqua Institution, where they can enjoy performances, lectures, and nature while making lasting memories together.

The existing architecture of the home was Craftsman style, but the client’s desired aesthetic was more contemporary and chic, and they preferred an almost exclusively neutral color palette. Therefore our biggest design challenge was to marry their personal style with the home's existing Craftsman character- two quite disparate looks- in a way that would end up looking cohesive, beautiful, and intentional. We started out with some visual research of interiors in other Craftsman homes, all of which had either one of two stylistic approaches to the interior: rustic or midcentury. Since this client was neither of those, we knew we were going to have to create something brand new, a custom blend of design influences we had never quite seen before. We jumped at the creative challenge, and what fun we had!

Since the home is located on a steeply sloped lakefront lot, when you enter the front door you are high above the lake, looking directly out at treetops and an uninterrupted expanse of water. We knew that the visual spotlight needed to stay on those spectacular, treehouse-like views. We brought those natural influences into the interior with a slate wall treatment that became one of the home's new signatures, and mixed warm and cool tones in the soothing, all-neutral palette our client wished for.

In the kitchen the client desired a "from-scratch" remodel that would also include extending the existing windows all the way across the kitchen walls, to enjoy sunlight and treetop views all around. This presented another design challenge to integrate all the storage the family required without the use of any upper cabinetry. So the new design features custom cabinetry with a variety of clever, in-cabinet storage solutions, plus a peninsula and island for serving a crowd. We also decided to "clean up" the kitchen ceiling, which was dotted with 13(!) can lights and 3 pendant lights. We removed those, and designed a sleek upper soffit with linear lighting for a clean look, even illumination of the work surfaces, and a visually uncluttered ceiling.

Every room in the home was remodeled in some way, including extensive work in the kitchen and baths. This project is a great example of full-service interior design, where our team designed the remodel, produced the construction drawings, and provided all furnishings, finishes, and lighting throughout the home. During construction we stayed in close coordination with the excellent general contractor's team to help ensure all went according to plan and any potential hiccups were solved. Finally, our team flew back to New York once more to conduct the furnishing installation prior to our client's move-in. Before they arrived, we had even lined up their books on shelves, placed family photos, and arranged fresh flowers to greet them.

This project and client were a joy! We like to think of them at the start of each summer, heading up north to make memories as a family in a home designed with care just for them.