A Home that hugs Pewaukee Lake conjures up a certain vision, an aesthetic of the lakefront lifestyle. Outdoor dining areas. A light-and-bright interior. Windows framing the lake view. Major curb – or, in this case, dock – appeal.
But this house wasn’t it. Built during the 1980s, the 4,400-square-foot home hadn’t been updated at all. Rose-motif wallpaper clung to the walls in one bath, a wooden built-in made the dining room appear drab, and casement windows throughout blocked natural light. Worse, the beige exterior siding screamed “blah.”
“I wouldn’t call it a lake home per se,” says Matt Retzak, a project designer with remodeler Bartelt, about the “dated and dark” property pre-transformation. “You could find the house in any subdivision. It did not take advantage of what it could be.”
But it did have “good bones,” says Retzak, who teamed up with Bartelt interior designer Heather Scott to reimagine the home. Their No. 1 goal: make it look like a modern lake house. The two-year remodel added a screen porch, deck, dining area and one more bedroom to the house’s three, while also revitalizing the kitchen, common rooms and lower-level rec room. A clawfoot tub was added to one bath as a nod to nostalgia (the homeowner had always envied one in his grandmother’s home).
Creating a modern lake home vibe, says Retzak, “starts with the amount of glass and how functional living spaces all flow together. By adding that, you get these panoramic views of the lake.” Knocking down walls, introducing a vaulted beadboard ceiling, and installing new windows (including arched ones to capture even more of the view) were among the first steps. Aiming for a “Nantucket vibe,” they filled the new open-concept layout in with white kitchen cabinetry, a wet bar, a coffee bar, a mudroom, folding glass doors between the dining room and the screen porch, and other updated amenities.
“They wanted it to be cozy but not too grandiose,” Retzak says of the owners, a couple who often host their adult children for social gatherings and live here year-round. Swapping out every single piece of furniture and installing new landscaping, including a pergola above the garage, did wonders. “We didn’t keep a whole lot. It was pretty much a reboot of what was there,” says Retzak, adhering to “the blurring of the lines between indoor and outdoor.” For the final touch, they added white trim to contrast with the home’s new blue exterior. In fact, coats of white paint became the project’s biggest ally, right on down to the foyer staircase, where they painted over the wood trim and added a custom newel post with a contemporary chandelier overhead.
Scott’s favorite space to design was the lower level. The homeowner “has a larger-than-life personality, and loves [people],” she says. The “pub feel” room, inspired by his travels, is a new twist on the man cave for “after he’s been out on the lake all day,” Scott says. It has a faux-tin ceiling, a pool table, a gas fireplace with a crackle finish, mosaic tile and an antique mirror to dial it back a century.
All of the efforts during this two-year remodel proved to be worth the wait. Now the owners can uncork a bottle of wine in the pub after a day out on the lake or socialize with family and friends on the screen porch.
Plus, Retzak says, “it’s more cost effective than taking a bulldozer to it.”
More After Photos