A Shingle-Style Harbor Country Retreat with Contemporary Interiors


Contemporary Neutral Front Elevation with White Pillars

“They asked for a Shingle style with a time-honored East Coast sensibility, but a contemporary interior. It had to be open, airy and flooded with light.”

Contemporary White Living Room with Tray Ceiling

Designers James Dolenc and Thomas Riker relied on comfortable and durable furnishings in the living room. Alexi armchairs by R. Jones & Associates in Dallas are accented with a jaunty Schumacher print, and Hickory Chair’s Camden sofas are covered in an Andrew Martin cotton-and-linen blend. An Aidan Gray coffee table is from Layla Grayce.

Contemporary White Foyer and Staircase

Architectural and decorative flourishes coalesce in the foyer, where the staircase is detailed with classically tailored balusters, banisters and wainscoting. Niermann Weeks’ Armillary chandelier holds court with a pair of Oly Studio Gigi chairs from Jayson Home.

Contemporary White Kitchen with Mosaic Backsplash

In the kitchen, detailed millwork designed by architect Jim Fraerman and fabricated by Wentworth gets a hit of modern styling from gleaming steel Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances. Sleek Pietra Bedonia limestone is from Stone Source; pendants are from Troy Lighting.

Contemporary Breakfast Area with Geometric Pendant

A rough-hewn wood trestle table from Charles Pollock Showroom is softened with a curvy custom banquette and a pair of Hickory Chair seats swathed in Hodsoll McKenzie back fabric. Lighting by Michael Berman Limited, through C.A.I. Designs, lends the space decorative dazzle befitting the glorious lakeside setting.

Contemporary White Media and Game Room

Given its primary function as a media and game room, the lofty second-story living area is outfitted with extra-durable furniture. A multifunctional table designed by jamesthomas LLC gets a tufted top using Holly Hunt’s Great Outdoors velvet. Crate & Barrel’s Portico sofa and a Henredon chair provide a mix of comfortable seating options.

Contemporary Gray Bedroom with Green Details

Crown molding and Cowtan & Tout’s Kerris Check fabric covers almost the entire wall behind twin beds, adding stylish élan to one of the guest rooms. Pottery Barn benches and Zentique’s Audrey chest are functional yet character-rich additions to the space.

Contemporary Neutral Exterior with Pool

Twin bay windows flank the home’s outside hearth to create an outdoor living space. The upholstered pieces are from Janus et Cie, and the drum tables are from Horchow. A dining area, placed right outside the kitchen, is furnished with Janus et Cie chairs and a Restoration Hardware table.

Contemporary White Bathroom with Tufted Stool

With a sculptural BainUltra tub and sumptuous Nordic Gray marble flooring from Stone Source, the master bathroom indulges both body and soul. A custom tufted stool and sheer draperies soften the room’s hard, sleek surfaces.

Contemporary Silver Bedroom with Lake Views

Fonthill’s vibrant calico cotton, purchased through Stark, is used in coordinating prints to clad the Hickory Chair bed and fabricate the window treatments, adding an exotic touch to another guest room. Benjamin Moore’s Silver Mink #1586 paint provides an airy backdrop that plays to the lake.

Family togetherness can often be more a dream than a reality for some couples with both kids and busy careers. Yet one North Shore couple with three young children came up with a plan to beat their challenging schedules and increase face time with family and friends. “We decided to build a second home that would be a draw for our friends and our kids’ friends,” explains the husband. “That way, everyone could hang out together.” With this goal in mind, they chose Michigan’s Harbor Country for its proximity and mood. “It’s the closest place to feel far enough away from Chicago,” he adds. “Plus it’s low-key and casual.”

Finding the perfect piece of land to execute their goals took a three-year search, but they scored a lakeside lot a mere hour’s drive from their main home. It also had a heavily wooded roadside, which was key for privacy. “You can’t see the house from the road, or vice versa,” points out architect Jim Fraerman, who designed the home to the couple’s exact requirements. “They asked for a Shingle style with a time-honored East Coast sensibility, but a contemporary interior. It had to be open, airy and flooded with light.”

Views that played to the lake, picturesque bay windows, intimate gathering areas and an infinity pool were also on the owners’ checklist, which required savoir faire to execute. Fraerman devised a floor plan that gave every space, save two—a family game room and a guest room—stunning sightlines of the water, thoughtful, exquisitely wrought design features and astutely chosen materials to bring architectural significance to every area.

Monumental back-to-back fireplaces edged with floor-to-ceiling windows anchor adjacent living areas, one inside and the other overlooking the pool and lake outside, while flourishes that range from a coffered ceiling to twin bay windows define these two spaces. In other rooms, extensive treatments accomplish the same task and include rounded bays, cathedral ceilings sheathed with tongue-and-groove planks, and strategically deployed crown moldings that skim and define windows, walls and doors.

“Craftsmanship and engineering expertise were key” to realizing the intricately detailed plans, notes builder Jon Kogan. “We had to bring in most of the trades and finish contractors from the North Shore because experience was critical, especially for the geothermal HVAC systems and the infinity pool.” The soil was so sandy that the latter required helical piers for structural support, he explains.

To tie the soaring structure to the site and maximize the backdrop, “we kept the hardscape crisp and clean, and plastered the inside of the pool the same hue as the lake,” says landscape architect Ryan Kettelkamp, who worked alongside wife and fellow landscape architect Claire Kettelkamp.

Of course, no house can be a family-friendly home without warm and welcoming furnishings, so the couple hired designers James Dolenc and Thomas Riker to give the technically perfect structure a blend of traditional charm and modern utility. The couple told the team they wanted everything to be kid-proof and also relate to the exterior and the lake. “This is an architecturally sophisticated structure that needed a program commensurate with its beauty and rigor, but be casual and cottagey at the same time,” Dolenc explains.

“We showed them whitewashed reclaimed oak floors, which are loaded with character and depth,” says Riker. “They became the inspiration for the whole palette.” Using the flooring to lay the groundwork, “we kept the envelope very light and punched it up with texture, restrained patterns, sumptuous trims and, most importantly, bold, character-rich lighting,” says Dolenc. And yes, every single fabric, surface and piece of furniture is cleanable, comfortable and durable to fulfill the couple’s kid-proof caveat.

Today, the couple couldn’t be more pleased with the results. The whole family goes to Michigan every weekend and stays for the entire summer, and the house is constantly filled with family and friends. “They got it spot-on,” says the husband. “Everything about the place exceeded my expectations.”