At the end of the driveway was a low, brown, L-shaped house with no lake in sight. The door was open so we walked into an interior as dull as the exterior but after only a few more steps we saw an almost magical 180-degree view of the lake, with the water only a few feet away. We were a little disoriented, not having expected the stark contrast between the house’s dark, lakeless front and the long stretch of water wrapping around the back of the house. We decided at that point that the flat lot with huge white oaks, a sandy beach, and 387′ of lakefront was so good that we would accept the house as is (despite an overwhelming smell of a lifelong smoker’s house whose windows had probably not been opened in 40 years).
A couple of years after we bought the house the decision was made to use the house as our primary residence, so we embarked on a major remodel. Plans were drawn for a new Hamptons-style Dutch Colonial, combining my own amateur architectural research using books of Robert Stern houses, a draftsman, and rule No. 1: we had to stay inside the footprint of the original house until crossing an invisible 50’ buffer line from the water. We ultimately tore down most of the original structure but retained the parts of the foundation and walls where we could, building a very energy-efficient house with tall ceilings and large windows that fill the rooms with natural light.
Fast forward a dozen years after demolition and construction began and it was time to have the house photographed to pitch it for publication. In the years in between, I had started an interior design business, opened a retail store, and slowly furnished the house but it was three months at home during the pandemic that finally forced me to focus on the house’s final touches. After we pitched the house to Southern Home magazine, we were thrilled to hear that they would feature the house in their July/August 2021 issue – and also feature it on the cover! Take a look at a few before and after pictures, below:
See 21 photos from this project and lots of other beautiful waterfront homes in the current issue of Southern Home magazine. It’s on the stands now at local pharmacies, grocers, book stores, and online! Also, see lots of other photos in our portfolio – link below: