By Shayna Mace | Photography by Shanna Wolf
When Roger and Kaaryn Cagann called architect Robert Juris of Robert Juris & Associates Architects Limited in the fall of 2014, they told him they had good news and bad news. The bad? The couple was putting their 100-year-old home that was a former boarding house in Genoa City that they had lovingly renovated in phases with Juris, up for sale.
“[But] the good news was that they were going to build their dream house, and I was going to be their architect,” says Juris.
The couple had found a one-of-a-kind piece of land—6.5 acres and 465 feet of lake frontage on Powers Lake—and they were ready to design a new home to sit on the unique slice of land.
“We had no intention of living on the lake … but then we went to look at lots, and this is the first one we saw, and thought, ‘oh my gosh, we have to build our dream house here,’” explains Kaaryn.
“We looked at it and we saw its potential. We couldn’t believe all of these years this lot had been sitting here. It had been sold, and sold again … but it’s [on] wetlands, so you can only build on one acre,” says Roger.
Which was fine with the Caganns, as they enjoyed the phenomenal lake view, beautiful wetlands and wildlife that lived on the land and near the water. So, they set to work on planning.
Since the Caganns had worked with Juris before, they trusted his work and vision. In the home’s design, they knew they wanted elements pulled from their travels, so they asked Juris to incorporate Scottish castle influences mixed with a Montana lodge—both places they had taken family vacations to in the past.
“They gave me some photos of a house they liked in Montana with a lot of stone and metal and wide open spaces inside. Kaaryn even gave me a little sketch of the first and second floors. They wanted me to provide three distinct designs and they would choose one,” says Juris. “I had three drawings done and [in my renderings] I designed the house in a sawtooth design to take advantage of the views of the lake, and each room has a 45-degree view. That was the design they picked.”
The construction took Scott Lowell’s team at Lowell Custom Homes 14 months—and it certainly brought welcome challenges along the way, says Lowell.
“It was similar to a commercial build. There were a lot of components that you see in commercial buildings—like there’s a lot of steel cage in this house. In commercial buildings that’s typically buried in the frame, but the steel beams were used as decorative elements in this home.”
Indeed, the steel beams reference “post-modern Scottish architectural influences,” along with the other modern materials and features the couple used, like gables on the exterior, black siding and bronze windows, explains Juris.
All of which is expertly tied together with Kaaryn’s interior design skills throughout the home. Although she gives credit to Roger for the steel beam idea, all of the other touches throughout the home are a testament to her special knack for design.
On the main floor are Prairie-style design influences mixed with clean lines and even a little bit of glam (see: the mirrored tile backsplash on the dining room wall and tiled kitchen bar area, both from Bella Tile and Stone).
“I just do what I like,” explains Kaaryn, noting Houzz was a favorite inspiration spot. “I spend a lot of time gathering ideas.”
In the comfortable sitting area are simple wood and leather couches the couple brought from their old house, and in the corner of the room facing the wetlands is a high-top table with barstools that the couple frequently sit at and sip coffee or eat dinner on.
In the adjoining kitchen, Kaaryn worked with Geneva Cabinetry on the custom-designed cabinets that were crafted with a weathered oak stain and outfitted with sleek pulls. There are no upper cabinets because Kaaryn wanted to be able to reach everything easily—so items are stowed in the lower cabinets and the spacious pantry next to the kitchen island.
The dark soapstone counters ground the other eye-popping elements in the room: the modern stainless steel stove hood and bronzed pendant lamps, hung at different lengths for chic effect. Kaaryn spotted a similar lighting setup in a catalog and decided to mimic it, so she ordered her pendants through Caravelle Lighting in Illinois.
In the dining room the couple took advantage of the high ceilings by using tall windows to showcase the outside scenery and hanging colorfully-patterned curtains (made by Nick’s Upholstery in Fontana) to emphasize the height. The clean-lined dining room table is paired with Mission-style chairs and a modern light fixture for just the right amount of sparkle.
Although the entire home is a show-stopper, one of the other one-of-a-kind elements in the main and lower levels is the four-sided, customdesigned fireplace by Accucraft (based out of Big Lake, Minnesota) that was installed by Richard’s Masonry and Tri Town Heating.
“With the fireplace being four-sided and open with solid masonry, plus a fireplace on the lower level, [our] team spent many hours engineering proper ventilation and exhaust to figure out how to get the flue out for the fireplace below, and also carry the load for all of it,” says Lowell.
Another exceptional design touch connecting each level of the home are the mono-beam stringer stairs made by an Amish company out of Ohio. The treads are made of four-inch thick white oak and the handrails are a stainlesssteel cable system for a marriage of natural and industrial looks.
“The stair systems are quite detailed in the house,” says Lowell. “To get that structure to work aesthetically was a bit of a challenge, but we pulled it off.”
“It was quite amazing to watch the process,” says Kaaryn. “They came from Ohio to measure [the area] then went back to construct it in the shop. Then they came back and it took eight people to bring each monorail in and a pulley system to get them in place.”
Downstairs in the cozy lower level is a beautiful TV room and reading area outfitted with Penny Mustard furnishings, modern prints of national parks the family has visited, a 100-inch TV and futuristic Pottery Barn light fixture. A heavy-duty sliding barn door adds style while hiding the mechanical room.
The fireplace separates the TV room and the game room, complete with wallpapered coffee bar, beverage refrigerator and shuffleboard game for relaxed family nights.
Also in the lower level is a guest bedroom and full bath, bunk room with eight beds and full bath, and laundry room. A glass-walled wine room greets guests as they walk downstairs, too.
“We don’t drink, but we wanted an art feature,” says Kaaryn, smiling. The room is covered in metallic wallpaper and boasts artsy modern shelving that holds bottles of wine (for guests).
Upstairs is the couple’s sanctuary, where each have distinct spaces they can escape to. For Kaaryn, that’s her upstairs laundry/knitting room, which is actually a cozy sitting room with lots of counter space that just happens to have her washer and dryer in it. She designed it that way so she could get the laundry done, but knit or do household tasks while it’s washing, too. Roger likes his home office that overlooks the wetlands, but admits “sometimes you just wonder why you’re working, when you should be outside!” he says, smiling.
The master suite, which takes up a sizable portion of the upstairs, is outfitted in deep eggplant and gray for a soothing, spa-like feel. An expansive master bath has a soaking tub and standup shower plus cement ramp sinks that Kaaryn spotted in Crate & Barrel’s restroom in Deer Park.
So she called the manufacturer and they were able to make two sinks for the couple.
And in a nod to Scottish castle style, Roger was insistent on one other feature: an observation tower that’s on the right-hand side of the home. It’s three stories high and bestows a dazzling view of the wetlands and lake on the exterior balcony.
“We wanted to build as high as we could, ordinance-wise,” says Roger.
And the views from the tower, or from any of the exterior spaces, can’t be beat.
“Being able to walk out on the balconies and have coffee or tea in the morning is [unbelievable],” says Roger. “The views are just amazing.”
This home was featured in the Lake Geneva: Winter 2017 issue.
For more photos of featured Lake Geneva homes, visit the Lake Geneva Gallery page.
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