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An Artist’s Bucolic Lake House is the Perfect Summer Escape

This home is not only a lakeside hideaway, but an idyllic space for large dinner parties on long summer nights

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By Kimberley Schoeman  | February 12, 2024 | Interiors

Designed for several generations, this artist’s home is warm and welcoming, yet sophisticated This bucolic cottage is perched on Indiana’s gorgeous natural Lake Maxinkukee between Chicago and Indianapolis in the United States.

Built for a family who spends the summers together here, the home’s design was inspired by English cottages with a modern spin on it, incorporates a lot of vintage pieces and was inspired by the surrounding natural environment. The house is nestled into the surrounding landscape and looks like it had been there for years.

Brought to life by interior designers Of Place Studio founded by Amy Knerr, this home in Culver, Indiana sits within a sweet and friendly lake town with cute coffee shops, old root beer stands and many festivals taking place during the gorgeous summer season, occasionally earning a reputation as the Cape Cod of the Midwest.

Honed Calacatta Crema marble in the kitchen and the prep kitchen for the gorgeous rust markings and the golden and warm creamy tones of the stone. Styling by Brittany Albert. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

Spending Summer in Style

The homeowners wanted to build a home with enough space for their family, while also feeling like an old cottage, with intersecting roof lines and intentional quirks to the house.

Outside, river rocks make the house feel older than it is. A porte-cochère (a covered entrance large enough for vehicles to pass through, typically opening into a courtyard) pairs with a vintage trough that the designer turned into a fountain.

The bar is made to look like an antique English piece with rubbed legs and a copper foot rail. The top cabinets have a thick glass that also reflects light really beautifully. Styling by Brittany Albert. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

Creating a Cottage in Culver

“We looked at images of old English cottages, with all of the wonderfully mixed patterns, the sweet quirks of the homes, and wanted to put a modern spin on it,” says Amy Knerr. “We certainly incorporated a lot of vintage pieces which I love. It helps to bring a soul to the home. And then truly the natural environment was my biggest source of inspiration – the summery warm tones of the yellows, reds, oranges, combined with the pops of blues for the water and the sky.”

Styling by Brittany Albert. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

“We wanted the house to feel welcoming and cozy, relaxed but still sophisticated,” says Amy Knerr. “For example, we wanted the bar to feel antique, like something pulled out of a pub in England with its copper footrest. We put a vintage Florian Schulz Double Brass Pendant with counterweights over the island. It’s a conversation piece which is really whimsical. The homeowners love mid century modern pieces so they are incorporated throughout. The house is very refined but we still had fun with the design”.

The pinch light over the bath tub echoes the froth of the lake when it gets choppy. Styling by Brittany Albert. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

Creating Lifelong Summer Memories

Inspired by the idea of creating unforgettable memories for the family, designer Amy Knerr also wanted their home to feel very cozy. Knerr’s client is a painter with a whimsical sense of design, which fits a lot into the overall footprint of the house.

Beautiful old trees on the property remained intact for the family who love how the tree canopy drapes over the outdoor living space and frame their view of the lake.To make the spaces feel really intentional without them feeling overstuffed.

Blue tones mimic the water and the golden yellows, oranges and pinks because of the epic sunsets they get on the water. Styling by Brittany Albert. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

For a home that is built to last a lifetime, furniture is upholstered in materials like leather that can be easily wiped off and which stains and scratches will just add character to. Nothing that feels too precious is incorporated (besides the marble in the kitchen, which all loved the idea of it showing patina and life). However, patterns are introduced in the dining room chairs to help hide stains.

The idea of the home’s open plan concept was to be able to have every member of the large family in the same space at the same time. The neighbours are the homeowners’ family as well, often making this home the setting for large dinner parties that easily entertain 30 plus people on any given night.

Pops of bright blues and yellows, some pinky/oranges, reds - tones that felt happy, summery, and cottage like. Styling by Brittany Albert. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

Since it’s a lake house, the primary focus is to relax and entertain so there is a gorgeous bar right off the entry that overlooks the living room. The bar can easily seat 8 people so it has a dual function as an additional dining surface.

Throughout the home are pops of bright blues and yellows, some pinky/oranges, reds - tones that felt happy, summery, and cottage like. The homeowners love blue tones that mimic the water and the golden yellows, oranges and pinks because of the epic sunsets they get on the water.

The cabinetry was done in a planked style because it lends really nicely to the rustic, cottage feel that the interior designer was trying to create. Styling by Brittany Albert. Photography by Nicole Franzen.