A Country Lake Michigan Retreat with Log Cabin-Style


Country White Great Room with Stacked Stone Fireplace

The great room in this Wisconsin retreat designed by Jessica Jubelirer incorporates a daybed featuring fabric by Raoul Textiles and a sofa from Lee Industries upholstered in a material by Michael S. Smith.

Country Neutral Rear Exterior with Outdoor Seating

Outside, Solvang’s team built a wraparound deck with large stone stairs and landscape architect Judith Stark added plantings that blend with the natural surrounds.

Country White Foyer with Moroccan Rug

A custom American folk art-style mirror doubles as a coatrack. Beneath it, an antique Moroccan rug in joyful colors brightens the scene.

Country White Entry Sitting Area

In the lakeside entry, an existing slatted-back chair offers the perfect perch. The back pillow features an antique tapestry, while the larger floor pillow was made from a rug fragment. The console, designed and fabricated by Jessica Jubelirer Design, holds the owners’ possessions; the antique Moroccan wool carpet adds to the intimate feel.

Country White Hall with Patterned Rug

In the entry and throughout, hand scraped white oak floors lend rustic beauty and can stand up to sandy feet as the family and their guests come in from the beach. A custom American folk art style mirror doubles as a coat rack. Beneath it, an antique Moroccan rug in joyful colors brightens the scene.

Country White Loft Space with Slanted Ceiling

The loft space provides a second gathering room and features a spacious coffee table, which belonged to the homeowners. The existing sofa and chair received new washable linen slipcovers. Vibrant throw pillows, the couple’s own artwork and a pair of rope table lamps—with custom shades made from Ottoman Empire fabric—provide pops of color.

Country White Dining Room Detail with Pine Hutch

A distressed pine hutch frames sheer window panels made from C&C Milano fabric at Holland & Sherry.

Country Green Kitchen with Tile Backsplash

With an open-concept design, the kitchen is anchored by an island composed of rough-hewn beams and a zinc top. It is paired with custom barstools and an Ann Sacks backsplash.

Country White Dining Room with Vaulted Ceiling

The dining room continues the home’s whimsical flavor with a funky chandelier designed and fabricated by Jessica Jubelirer Design from reclaimed light sockets. Stylish chairs featuring seats made of a quilted Muriel Brandolini fabric surround the custom table. A Moroccan wool rug adds a playful touch.

Country White Great Room with Staircase

The light-filled great room features rustic details with a fresh twist, like the decorative wall made of whitewashed-oak log end-grain cuts.

Country White Bedroom with Multicolored Accent Pillows

The master bedroom includes subtle wallpaper by Farrow & Ball, sheer window treatments made of Raoul Textiles fabric, a Baker bed, and rustic twig chests.

Country Brown Bathroom with Victorian Influences

A Victorian-influenced washstand, Waterworks fixtures, playful Katie Ridder wallcovering and a Restoration Hardware mirror produce a hip master bath.

It had been 13 years since a Wisconsin couple had purchased their log-sided weekend home—a peaceful retreat on Lake Michigan with access to a white sandy beach—when they felt the need for a renovation. “One day, I went to open the front door, and the handle came off,” remembers the wife. Those shiny brass handles had never really fit with the home’s style anyway. Using them as an impetus for change, the homeowners then realized that they didn’t really care for the slate flooring either. As their designer Jessica Jubelirer recalls, “Once we addressed the flooring, it made sense to talk about how the great room was too small, and then one thing just led to another.”

So Jubelirer—along with architectural designer Kevin Yurske and general contractor Oyvind Solvang—worked with the owners to completely reimagine the house. “Many log homes are quite elaborate, with open gables and floor-to-ceiling glass to get those full views,” Solvang says. “This dwelling didn’t really have that, and, in turn, drove the process.” Thus, the team set out to make the dark interior bright and airy while staying true to the home’s log cabin aesthetic.

Since family and friends often gather at the lake house, the great room was expanded by six feet to make it more functional. “A wall of windows was added to frame the view of the lake like a piece of art,” Jubelirer says. “We then brought in tailored Roman shades in an unlined sheer to compliment the view without taking away from it.” Other rooms were also expanded, including the tiny dining area, which gained square footage and a higher ceiling.

Next, Jubelirer focused on refreshing the home’s orangey-brown log interior. “I was at a horse farm and there was this beautiful weathered, whitewashed fence,” she says. “In that moment, I knew how we would resolve the home’s overall design direction.” Adds the wife, “Jessica had the painter work up various samples to get these logs looking like they’re sort of chipped away. There’s a grayish-brown underneath and then the white. It’s very appropriate for the beach.” The original cold slate floors were then replaced with character-grade, plain-sawn white oak for a warmer beachy feel. “They’re hand-scraped and rustic,” Jubelirer says, “so when people have sand between their toes, the floors can take a beating and still look great.”

The homeowners also didn’t want the furnishings to be too matchy or overbearing. “I love the couches in the main great room because nothing feels massive and you can see all the way through the room and out to the lake from different seating areas,” says the wife, who worked closely with Jubelirer to create the perfect visual flow. “This became a very personal project for me. The doorknobs, the way the windows are raised and lowered, the lampshades—I had input on everything. Jessica knew what to show me, and I trusted her judgment.” For example, several rooms sport colorful rugs that Jubelirer picked up on a trip to Morocco. “I carried them on the back of a mule down the Atlas Mountains,” she says. “I didn’t want to part with some of them, but they were too perfect, and they had clearly found their home.”

Far from a traditional lake house, the home now displays colorful artwork and funky details like a custom light fixture made of salvaged sockets in the dining room and a bold custom kitchen island fashioned from reclaimed timbers. “It has a distressed zinc countertop—really thick and beefy—and it’s mitered, which gives it a contemporary vibe,” Jubelirer says. “It’s not fussy,” the wife says. “It has little circle marks from glassware on it, and that will be the patina. It will end up looking like an old-time bar and that’s just what I wanted.” Adds Slovang, “The challenge was to mix rustic and sophisticated elements, and that’s not easy to pull off. But I think we did it in the overall design, as well as in many of the finishes.”

The couple and their guests spend lots of time outdoors, so Solvang’s team built a wraparound deck with large stone stairs and landscape architect Judith Stark added plantings that blend with the natural surrounds. “We used meadow flowers and beach grasses,” she says. “We then added a fire pit close to the lake and a hammock between two trees.”

Ultimately, the team wanted to create a place where the couple could kick back with bare feet and good friends—and it has become just that. The wife gathers there with her girlfriends, the family enjoys late night fires together, and it’s become the perfect spot for the Fourth of July. As the wife says, “I come in and take a deep breath. There’s not a big television, there’s no to-do list. It’s really peaceful. There’s a little sign that my sister gave me that says it all: This is my happy place.”

—Kimberly Olson