View full article in PDF. - The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn


View full article in PDF. - The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn
By Lisa Sloan
A 1920s-era Michigan cottage
becomes a welcoming retreat for a
Wheaton couple and their family
or many in the western suburbs, summer
means escaping to a cabin, cottage or
lake house, often heading to the north
woods of Wisconsin, the Indiana sand
dunes or Michigan’s Harbor Country.
Summers spent visiting the latter led
Randy and Deb Waterman of Wheaton
to purchase a 1927 cottage on the Lake
Michigan shoreline in Union Pier.
“As a girl, I stayed in my mom’s cousins’ cottage;
that was my first introduction to the area,” recalls
Deb. “Later, we would camp with family and
friends with cottages in Lakeside and Sawyer.”
During the past five years, the couple had
been looking for a place in the area to call their
own. So they were delighted to finally find this
charming cottage overlooking the lake.
That was last August, so the couple and their
extended family, which includes five adult
children and one grandchild, are enjoying their
first full season in their cottage.
Before they moved in, however, the place
needed an update, including lots of fresh paint,
resealed floors and a brand-new kitchen.
The original cottage was among a group of
similar one- and two-bedroom structures built
in the same era, but it had already seen some
changes in the years prior to the Waterman
family taking up residence.
The two side porches had long been enclosed,
and about 10 years ago, a second-story addition
had nearly doubled the home’s square footage.
The enclosed porches still boast their beadboard
walls and allow for a seating area at one end of
the main level and a dining area at the opposite.
The addition includes a master bedroom and
bath, two more bedrooms with a shared bath,
and a sitting room with a bay window overlooking
the lake.
The Watermans sought to maintain the
home’s vintage appeal, both inside and out. On
the exterior, the home features white siding with a
(Clockwise from top) A retooled kitchen, including a farmhouse sink and durable soapstone
countertops; neutral hued walls; distinctive nautical décor; and an abundance of windows
looking out over the lake; all serve to enhance the vintage charm of this Michigan cottage.
Cottage Décor’s Elements
of Style
ottage decorating is, at its heart, comfortable and casual.
Whether it’s a lake house or cottage in the woods, it’s an
escape, so the interior should reflect that, while also
suiting your family’s personality and lifestyle.
Nancy Allodi, owner of Vintage Charm in La Grange, has seen
an overall shift in cottage style in recent years, noting that it has
evolved away from the frilly and shabby chic looks of the past to
something a bit more streamlined and neutral, with bolder, more
colorful accents.
Machiko Penny, merchandise manager for Walter E. Smithe,
has also observed a new sophistication in cottage design.
“Cottages and cabins are no longer stereotypical lodge looks
adorned with bear and duck motifs,” she says. “Usually a second
home is a haven for relaxation and recreation. It’s an opportunity
to explore more casual, lighter and rough-hewn finishes to give
the home lived-in character and a carefree attitude.”
Cottage decorating has various interpretations. Often people
select a theme or materials that reflect the local area or its history.
Here are a few key elements of four different cottage looks,
though many homeowners choose elements of more than one:
• Romantic or Cottage Garden — Floral fabrics; painted and
distressed painted furniture; creams, whites and calming pastels;
garden-themed accessories, like antique watering cans, or
birdcages, or wicker and outdoor furniture brought indoors.
• Beach Cottage — Transitional furniture pieces with clean
lines; stripe and solid fabrics; textures like burlap and rope;
nautical reds, whites and blues or beach colors like robin’s egg
blue, sand and seagrass; boating motifs, like oars or buoys, or
seaside themes, like shells and shorebirds.
• Vintage Farmhouse — Ticking stripes and checked fabrics;
vintage linens; primitive furniture, like an old farm table or
Hoosier cupboard; vibrant pastels to primary colors; vintage
or reproduction household items from the 1920s and beyond,
like enamelware, an old soda cooler or luggage.
• Rustic — Twig or Adirondack furniture; rustic wood tones and
weathered finishes; fishing or camp antiques and collectibles;
quilts and plaid blankets; lanterns and iron or tin light fixtures.
“One of the great things about decorating a cottage is that
you get a chance to do something you wouldn’t do at your
main house,” says Allodi. “People get more playful with design
and decorating. Mixing and matching makes it fun.”
Lots of windows across the back of the house,
on both the first and second floors, provide ample
opportunity to view the lake, which is accessible by
walking down about 25 stairs to the private beach.
green roof and green accents, including the trim and the deck, which
ties in with the lushly wooded lot. “It still has that vintagey look and
feel,” says Deb.
Lots of windows across the back of the house, on both the first
and second floors, provide ample opportunity to view the lake, which
is accessible by walking down about 25 stairs to the private beach.
On the inside of the house, the couple wanted to start with a
fresh canvas, so they painted every surface, from the walls and ceilings
to the doors and windows. They selected pale, neutral hues like
cream, sandy tan, pale blue and white to maximize the light, serene
feel of the home. They even brightened the greenish-blue brick fireplace with a coat of white paint.
As she began the decorating process, Deb found herself drawn
to pieces with clean silhouettes, natural textures and nautical motifs.
“I started out thinking antiques and shabby chic, but then I decided
I liked more sturdy things with simpler lines,” she says.
She selected a roomy sectional from West Elm and chose several
items from Pottery Barn’s Seagrass collection, including the master
bedroom headboard and chair. Other furnishings include wicker
pieces, wrought-iron beds, a reclaimed wood dining table and a red
Walter E. Smithe cabinet, which provides a splash of color. Natural fiber rugs and blinds add more texture to the spaces,
which are accessorized with beach-themed items such as shell sconces,
lanterns, lighthouses, vintage sailboat prints, and a carved-wood
anchor and boat steering wheel.
One of the challenges with updating and furnishing the house
was access. There is no driveway leading up to the house, so everything
had to be carried in up a long path.
The couple made their own selections throughout the house
rather than working with an interior designer, with the exception of
the kitchen, which needed a major revamping. For that room, they
worked with Deb Bayless of The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn.
Randy’s brothers, who own Waterman Brothers Construction in
Wheaton, did the installation.
Deb recalls the existing kitchen as “a couple of ancient appliances
plugged into haphazard locations.” Bayless concurs. “The kitchen
was a total disaster. It was not remotely functional.”
The family loves to entertain, so a complete remodel was in
order, and they wanted something that complemented the style of
the home. “We wanted to keep that 1920s look and feel, with updated,
nice appliances that allow the cottage to be as comfortable and
labor-free as possible,” Deb explains.
Toward that end, they selected simple white cabinets, durable
soapstone countertops, a farmhouse sink, polished nickel light
fixtures and stainless steel appliances. To make the kitchen bigger,
they borrowed space from the adjacent bedroom by removing a
closet. Cabinets were custom designed to maximize storage without
obscuring the lake view and include two areas with open shelves for
storing and displaying glasses and decorative accessories.
Amenities include a custom-sized dishwasher and a small beverage
fridge and coffee station located between the fridge and microwave.
This allows guests to grab a quick drink without walking into the
small, U-shaped kitchen and getting in the cook’s way.
This is not the couple’s first vacation home — they also own a
Wisconsin cottage across from the family cottage where Randy
vacationed as a boy. “It’s a totally different feel — northwoods cabin
with bears and wildlife all over,” says Deb of the décor.
Each place has a distinctive atmosphere, as well. The Wisconsin
place is all about water sports, including boating and skiing, but
the focus here is on relaxation. “We love to go down to the
beach and swim and have a bonfire,” says Deb. “We’re not even
Pale neutral hues like cream, sandy tan and pale blue were selected for the
bedroom (top) to create a serene and relaxing ambiance. The cottage has
no driveway and is accessible only by a long brick pathway.
planning on getting a boat.”
Distance is another big difference between the homes. The
Michigan place is a little over an hour away, while it’s a five-and-ahalf-hour drive to the Wisconsin cabin. “It was getting harder for
our adult kids to visit,” says Deb of their decision to look for
something closer. “Now, they can go up on weekends without
having to take time off work.”
Though the new cottage is ready for the season, Deb still has
some additional decorating to do. “Now that the necessary furnishings
are in,” she says, “I will take my time looking at flea markets and
antique stores for unique pieces and finishing touches.”
Then she’ll truly be able to put her feet up and enjoy the view. n