This Little House by Crystal Lake Just Got a Stylish Makeover

A lake cottage with a cozy, stylish aesthetic

In decorating a 1,700-square-foot cottage on Crystal Lake, restraint was the main tool that Donna Sweet, vice president and senior designer, Haven Interiors, employed. “We aimed to do enough, but not too much,” she says. “It just needed to be cozy.”

A striped fabric (Loreta by William Yeoward) that Sweet selected to upholster an armchair served as the inspiration for the common spaces of the house. “The turquoise played well off of the lake, and the stripes give an old-school blanket feeling that’s bright without being garish,” says Sweet.

Sweet’s client had rented the cottage for years prior to purchasing it. Renovations included a reclaimed-wood floor, a new stairway and an updated kitchen. An existing brick fireplace was incorporated into the new design.

“I wanted it to be rustic,” says the owner, who is clearly pleased with the results. “It’s just a cute, warm place. I don’t think I’d change one thing.”

Photo by David Bader

➸ Striped upholstery fabric on an armchair adds a pop of color as well as a retro feeling to the otherwise neutral living room, while a variety of textures evoke a rustic feeling.

Photo by David Bader

➸ Sweet designed the two upstairs bedrooms as mirror images of each other. The white-washed walls and built-in beds and cabinets create an austere-yet-inviting ambiance, reminiscent of a ship.

Photo by David Bader

➸ A screened-in porch serves as a gathering place to watch the sun set. A loveseat and chairs made out of tree branches (and manufactured by Milwaukee- based La Lune) seem perfectly in tune with the natural surroundings.


On the Porch: Tree Branch Furniture

Hexagonal side table with willow top and natural finish, $2,100;

Photo by Sarah Utech/Steinhafels

In the Living Room: Stripes
HGTV Pippa accent chair, $1,399;

In the Bedroom: Boldly Patterned Rug
Chekat Ink Micro Hooked Rug, 5 x 8 feet (other sizes available), $616;

‘Cozy Cottage’ appears in the July 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning July 3, or buy a copy at

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Editor-in-chief Carole Nicksin has worked in publishing for over 20 years. Prior to joining the staff of Milwaukee Magazine, she was the style director at All You, a Time Inc. publication. She also served as decorating editor at Home magazine. Carole has written for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle and numerous other publications.