A Transitional North Shore Home with Lake Views


Transitional White Bedroom with Grass-Cloth Wallcovering

The master suite offers lake views from the Baker bed, which is dressed in linens from Bedside Manor. Grass- cloth wallcovering by Stark and a linen rug from Watson Smith provide texture. The Boyd Lighting pendant is from Donghia, and the Rose Cumming drapery fabric is from Dessin Fournir.

Transitional White Bathroom with Marble Tile Walls

Calacatta gold marble tile from Waterworks adorns the walls and floor of the master bathroom, lending a quiet interest offset with built-in cabinetry conceived by the architects and fashioned by Paoli Woodwork. Window treatments from Ralph Lauren Home, fabricated by primo Interiors, and sconces—also from Waterworks—continue the room’s sophisticated ambience.

Transitional White Exterior with Lush Landscaping

Cohen and Hacker wanted to effortlessly blend this home with those around it, which were originally built by C.A. Hemphill in the 1930s. landscape architect Kris Barker designed a rustic scene for the backyard with understated plantings—installed by Mariani Landscape—that appear seamless with the lakeshore.

Transitional Exterior with Outdoor Dining Set

Architects Stuart Cohen and Julie Hacker outfitted the house’s rear façade with an abundance of windows by Marvin Windows & doors, flooding the rooms with natural light and views of the lake. The roof is from Cedar roofing Company; the dining set is from restoration Hardware.

Transitional White Sitting Area with Barrel-Vault Ceiling

For a sitting area on the stairway landing, the designers customized a high-back banquette upholstered with perennials fabric from David Sutherland. The Anthropologie rug, chandelier from Visual Comfort, and star-patterned Colefax and Fowler wallcovering, from Cowtan & Tout, add whimsy to the space. A custom ottoman features an Edelman Leather material.

Transitional White Dining Room with Crystal Chandelier

Custom chairs in Schumacher fabric surround a David Latesta table from John Rosselli & Associates in the dining room; the Dennis & Leen chandelier is from Holly Hunt. Dark walnut built-in cabinetry features a glass display window with views into the kitchen.

Transitional White Kitchen with Stone Flooring

In the kitchen, lanterns from remains Lighting hover above a countertop from Marble & Granite Supply of Illinois and custom stools covered with opuzen design vinyl from Anthony Inc. Cabinetry was fabricated by paoli Woodwork; flooring is from Materials Marketing.

Transitional White Living Room with Geometric Area Rug

Dolenc and Riker designed the living room’s leather-covered ottoman, as well as a pair of english-style sofas upholstered with Osborne & Little fabric. The custom wing chairs are covered in a Clarence House textile, while a Schumacher floral clads the barrel-back chairs. Side tables from Hickory Chair rest on a rug by Decorative Carpets.

Transitional White Entry Detail with Upholstered Bench

A pendant from The Urban Electric Co. hangs in the entry. The lacquered side table from oomph in New Canaan, Connecticut, rests over a bench conceived by designers James Dolenc and Tom Riker with cream- colored cotton from Schumacher. floors are from Biehn’s Floorworks & Design in Bristol, Wisconsin.

Transitional White Entry with Walnut Door

In the entry, a custom armchair upholstered with Lulu DK fabric from Donghia softens the space along with a carpet from Oscar Isberian rugs. The staircase runner is from Watson Smith, and the walnut entry door is by upstate door purchased through Ashland Millwork.

Transitional Rear Elevation with Mullioned WIndows

“We love the connection between our house and the outdoors,” says the wife. “We’re able to see how the lake transforms each day and how the sun changes location during different times throughout the year. We even see storms moving across the lake. Living in this house, on this site, has helped our family feel a strong connection to the natural rhythms of the world.”

Sometimes exactly what you’ve been looking for ends up being right in front of you. In the case of a couple searching for a house that better suited the needs of their family, including their two young children, it was only a little farther than that—two short blocks from where they had lived for 10 years on the North Shore of Lake Michigan. “We loved our home and our neighborhood,” the husband explains. “But we wanted a kitchen that connected to the family room that connected to the backyard. We also needed lots of storage space, a big pantry and a garage we could actually park in.”

The couple was willing to let go of their house but not the neighborhood. “The North Shore is a special place because it has a dynamic cultural scene,” the husband says. Adds the wife: “You can walk to the ‘L’
in 10 minutes.” It was while they were searching for a house with a modern floor plan in their neighborhood filled with mostly traditional homes that a close-by lakefront residence became available. The house itself left much to be desired, but “the property had incredible views,” the wife says. “We decided to take down what was there and build something that would take full advantage of the site.”

Known for their ability to masterfully balance traditional architecture with a contemporary style of living, architects Stuart Cohen and Julie Hacker were the ideal choice for this job. Their first order of business—with the help of project architect Garry Shumaker—was to give the new residence a sense of place in the neighborhood by selecting Wisconsin limestone for the façade; the stately material also marks the adjacent 1930s houses built by C.A. Hemphill. “We reused the carved-stone classical entryway from the original house, as well,” Cohen says. The lakeside rear received an entirely different treatment complete with cedar clapboard siding and an abundance of vertical windows topped with transoms. “We constructed the house so that it would be seamless with the landscape,” says general contractor Steve Sturm. “It became a part of the natural beauty surrounding it.”

Inside, the open floor plan features an array of traditional elements while still providing a modern-day feel. “The openness is a very contemporary way of living, and it floods the spaces with natural light,” Cohen says. “We felt it was our obligation to organize the house so you could see the lake from almost every room.” The architects clearly defined the spaces with a series of columns and beams. “They offer a sense of orientation and delineate individual areas within the larger space,” Hacker explains. “We like spaces that flow, but it’s important to create functional rooms with purpose and comfort in mind. We then detailed the rooms with traditional Georgian-style trim and crown molding. The trim creates a sense of continuity between the spaces.”

Designers James Dolenc and Tom Riker underscored the house’s indoor-outdoor connection by outfitting the interiors with a muted palette. “We used taupe, blue, gray and green tones found in the surrounding dunes, the lake and the grass,” Dolenc explains. “The client was concerned about sand being traipsed in from the beach, and the natural colors help to mask that.” Casual yet rich textures give the feeling of an island escape. Tactile grass cloth, for instance, covers the walls of the master bedroom, while soft linen shades dress the living room windows. Dolenc and Riker then mixed vintage finds with classically-styled upholstered pieces and more formal wood case goods to add warmth to the cool palette. “Everything had to be livable and kid-friendly,” Dolenc says. In that same vein, the designers customized a pair of comfortable English-style sofas and upholstered them with forgiving sand-colored fabric in the living room; a zinc-topped table with a smooth finish in the breakfast room will develop a patina over time.

On the second-level landing, the designers created yet another living space. “It’s a place where the parents can read with the kids before bedtime,” Dolenc says. “We added a soft, textured rug and a custom high-back banquette upholstered with a grayish-blue fabric that reminds you of the lake.” The designers then covered the arched ceiling with pale green wallpaper that sparkles with tiny silver stars—another subtle nod to the outdoors.

The landscape design is at once organic and functional. “The homeowners didn’t want a manicured garden,” landscape architect Kris Barker says. “So, I designed a big lawn with steps that lead to the beach. They’re made of rugged stone and look like they were unearthed from the site.” Creating cohesion between the landscape and the interiors was important to the owners. “We love the connection between our house and the outdoors,” says the wife. “We’re able to see how the lake transforms each day and how the sun changes location during different times throughout the year. We even see storms moving across the lake. Living in this house, on this site, has helped our family feel a strong connection to the natural rhythms of the world.”