Whole House under $200,000

Susan Fredman Design Group, Chicago, Ill.
Project location: New Buffalo, Mich.
Sq. ft. before: 1,450
Sq. ft. after: 1,560
Project cost: $189,000

The ultimate in lake living is realized in this family’s restored waterfront cottage by Susan Fredman Design Group, Chicago, Ill. The space was taken down to its studs and transformed from a closed off and dated cottage to an inviting retreat. The floor plan was completely revamped to make the home more accessible. Rooms were enlarged to make them more functional and enjoyable for the family as well as visitors. The enhanced design of the home takes full advantage of the breathtaking lake views, which border the cottage.

Taking cues from Mother Nature, a soothing palette was implemented with hues inspired by the sand, water and wood, such as distressed cream cabinets and a rich blue island in the kitchen. Dated materials were replaced with new, natural resources that breathe new energy into the cozy home. Whimsical details, such as a stair railing with cutouts of fish and a salvaged wood table, pay homage to the home’s surroundings.

The dated home was originally built with a closed off floor plan, which was not conducive for the large family, especially when they entertained guests. For this growing family the bathrooms and sleeping arrangements were not large enough, nor were they designed with the family’s needs in mind. The gathering rooms, such as the kitchen and living room, were small and set apart from one another, making congregation a challenge. Materials that were used in the original structure were too dark and heavy for a lakeside retreat. For example, the original fireplace was clad in dated, heavy stone and extended from the floor to the ceiling, which looked overwhelming in the space.

The designer opened up the intimate kitchen to the family room to create a large space for the family to enjoy rather than two closed off rooms. This gracious space provides the family an area to entertain, but also enhances the cozy feeling synonymous with a cottage. By reconfiguring closets, the designer was able to increase functional space in the bathrooms and incorporate double vanities. Sleeping quarters were expanded to accommodate large family gatherings.

In the den there are two lounge chairs which pull out to single sleepers. Upstairs there are two bedrooms, including the boys’ room which is complete with a bunk bed and a trundle. The new, open floo plan accommodates the lush surroundings by extending the family room outdoors onto a large wooden deck furnished with Adirondack chairs and a dining table. The materials of the existing fireplace were replaced with new stacked stone, which was integrated into a beautiful wood mantel to complement the new cabinetry.

Products specified:

Doors, interior: Simpson Door Company
Doors, exterior: Anderson
Bath fixtures: Rohl
Hardware: Emtek

Pierce Builders, Inc.
Lake Geneva, Wis.

Team Entry: Architectural Resource, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Custom Design/Build, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Silent Rivers, Inc.
Des Moines, Iowa

Susan Fredman Design Group Chicago, Ill.