February 3, 2015

Lake House Update & A Home for "The Beef"

We were able to stop by my dad’s lake house project last week on a trip back from High Point and I’m so excited about how it’s feeling over there!!!  I’m not quite sure why, but there’s something I love about the “almost there” phase of construction… when the walls and raw floors, doors and woodwork are in but it’s hasn’t been put back together yet…  When the cabinets are laid out without the countertops and empty electrical boxes are waiting for light fixtures.  I love the smell of all of the wood and being able to see everything take shape, envisioning exactly how things will feel when it’s finished and getting excited because you’re only a month or so away.  That feeling of anticipation….  (My husband finds my love of this phase ridiculous and much prefers it a month from now 😉

Anyway, for those of you who enjoy this Pavlov’s dog phase of construction as much as I do, today I’m sharing a bunch of photos and updates.

Starting at the top of the house, is one of the (3) master bedrooms.  (There’s a master on each floor of the house… a very “vacation home” like set up that’s great for multiple families staying there at one time.)  This is the bedroom Dave & I plan on staying in when we visit:


We’ve added shiplap in every bedroom of the house…  It’s made such a difference, adding character, age, and a coastal feel to the house.

We added a skylight to the windowless master bath -and a high window in the shower is also going in this week- for natural light while maintaining privacy.  It’s hard to tell scale from the photo below but the shower is approx 4′ feet deep to give you an idea:

What we call “the catwalk”- which overlooks the great room- is upstairs just outside the master.  We added the doors to replace three differently-sized windows.  The balconies will be here soon!!

The master bedroom on the main level will be my dad’s:

It has a fireplace and walks out onto a covered porch.  Here’s my plan  (please excuse my sad drawing skills!!) for the new fireplace stone:


The main floor master is down a small hall from the great room: 

I can’t wait to see how it looks with the new railings!!  The floors will be oiled in “natural” woca oil, and the doors and windows will be black to accentuate the views.  Walls and trim will be in Benjamin Moore’s “Swiss coffee,” an ivory.  This house will be a bit cooler feeling than our house, with crisp blues, whites and grays.

My FAVORITE thing happening in this house was something we added on last week.  (I’d been mulling it over for a while, first deciding to do nothing but when we visited, couldn’t help going there.) In the photo below, you can see that there is a sort of platform above the closet/ refrigerator wall between the entry and the kitchen.  This wall was always there but it was angled and I squared it off so the kitchen would be symmetrical from the LR, and widened it to add the entry closet.  Well, I can’t help looking at it and feeling like it looks odd/ unfinished… and like it would be the perfect place for a little crow’s nest.  With views through the doors on the catwalk to the lake, I think it will make the perfect little hangout/ reading (more likely, nerf-gun shooting) spot.  We’re adding a railing and a removable ladder leading up to it and there will be a narrow bookshelf on the wall.  Maybe a chair or two and/or floor pillows.  I love little spots like this and think the kids will flip.  It was a HUGE point of contention between me and my dad – he doesn’t want the house to look like a “fun house”- but he’s on board now.  Hope he likes it!!

The new kitchen cabinets and sink are in place.  Appliances will go in this week.  I’m bringing in a couple of small antique “island” options to try out.  I decided to keep the walls of the kitchen bare of shelves (except the area with open shelving by the refrigerator) because we have enough storage throughout and because it was just feeling awkward to me (in my mind) when I pictures shelves planking the windows.   Plate and glass racks will be set into the lower drawers.  I plan on hanging utilitarian pieces like cutting/bread/cheese boards (I think we have at least 8 propped on our countertops at home so hanging them will be great for us) and possibly pots and pans if we have room.  (The countertops will be bluestone and the backsplash will be a 16″ high bluestone slab so there isn’t a huge amount of space for hanging above them.)

Here’s a little peek at some of my favorite vintage pieces that are going to the house:

{Cream leather. rattan rocker…. SOOOOOO comfy!!}

{Rattan nailhead dining chairs.. also really comfortable with lots of patina!!}

Moving onto the basement…  The basement was really dark before…  It had ten foot ceilings  (and almost 10- foot ceilings in areas) and a lot of potential.  With soon-to-be-four kids, the basement was extremely important to us because we know we’ll be spending lots of time down there.  The TV will be in the basement family room and it walks out onto a patio under the deck and right down a little boardwalk to the water.

The room is actually massive but it’s hard to tell because of the door size.  (I think it’s almost 18-20 feet wide??)  We removed the old doors and replaced with  8′ high doors.  It’s so sunny now!!

We took a tiny office and opened up a large closet under the stairs to create a bunk room for the boys:

The basement master has been completely transformed… It was SO dark before with two small windows…  We added more 8′ doors across the entire back wall and added three smaller windows on another wall:

It now feels like a room of glass.  You can see right down to the water and it’s so light & airy with its soaring ceiling!!

We install all of the furnishings/ art/ accessories in early March- it feels so far away but I know time will fly like usual.  I CAN’T WAIT!!!  This place is going to be so special for our family… So much quality time and fun.  My grandparents in Chicago used to bring the family out to their lake house every weekend in the Summertime, starting when my dad was a little kid and until they passed away.

I remember hot summer nights with all of the cousins crammed into rooms and staying up late at night talking with the AC window units blaring.  I remember my dad sneaking out early in the mornings to fish with my uncle and older cousins.  I remember picking flowers, vegetables and fruit with my Grandma Maestranzi at the cottage when the big kids went out boating.  My grandma & I used to put flowers around the house for Mary and it was one of my favorite things to do.  I remember very loud meals and the most delicious homemade minestroni and garden fresh salata ever.  And always beef.  (In our family “the beef” is like another person.  It’s always talked about, thought about, and prepared with care. No Sunday at the lake house was complete without it.)

{A view from one of the balconies}

I hope that one day soon my dad’s new lake house can be something like that.  It won’t be the same without my grandma & Nanoo, but we’ve got a new generation of cousins, and my dad is now “Nanoo” to my kids.   

It’s time for new fishing stories, fresh little skiers, long lazy days, chatty summer nights,  loud family meals, and of course, “the beef.”