About 10 years ago, Barrington, Ill., residents Tom and Michelle Barsamian started scouting Lake Geneva for lake homes. Michelle had grown up coming here to visit, as did her mother, so the area had a special place in her heart. And like any perfect match, it took a while for the couple to find exactly what they were looking for. But on one fateful trip up to the area about three years ago to watch their son play in a golf tournament at Geneva National, they drove through the South Shore Club and noticed a few new builders working on homes in the community. They took note of the empty lots for sale, and within about a week, had secured their ideal parcel of land.
The couple chose to work with John Engerman of Engerman Contracting because they liked a similar home the company had built nearby. After tweaking the floor plan with Engerman, they settled on a design that has a homey feel, yet still has plenty of space for their three adult children, their spouses and one grandchild to visit all at once. Cocoa, Peanut and Wally, the couple’s Yorkshire Terriers; Stella, their Golden Retriever; and Lucky, their parrot, also occupy the home too.
Luckily for the Barsamians, they had an ace in their back pocket when it came to the aesthetics and interior design of the home: their daughter-in-law Emily Barsamian owns her own Chicago design firm called Dark Horse Interior Design. The Barsamian’s son Barrett (who’s married to Emily) also had a strong hand in the look too—as he has a landscape architecture degree, and also enjoys interior design.
“Emily’s plan was to bring in a modern transitional look, so it’s different than what you’d see in this community. She wanted a nice, clean look— and that’s what we ended up with,” says Tom. “She’s got a wonderful eye, and wonderful taste. We kind of let her and Barrett do everything.”
Even though the home is a new build, the gorgeous details peppered in throughout the home make it a completely customized, out-of-the-box abode. High-end, luxury details in each room convey a quiet sense of elegance—yet they never overwhelm the overall palette.
With an open, airy floor plan on the main floor, each room seamlessly flows into the next. The show-stopping dining room (shown on page 45 and above, right) skillfully weaves in shades of periwinkle blue, camel and rust for a gorgeous, eye-pleasing medley of color. An accent wall covered in Phillip Jeffries wallpaper serves as a focal point, as does the origami-like art piece on the wall, by Renwil. The simple, sculptural dining room table by CTC (notice the artful pedestal base) and velvet chairs by DSHOP lend a midcentury modern influence to the spot.
“Michelle has a lot of antiques, so we tried to incorporate a lot of subtle, traditional details, with a more modern approach,” says Emily.
One element Tom knew he had to have in the dining room was a sleek, floor-to-ceiling glass wine display case to show off his favorite bottles (see opposite page, right).
“It’s just glass and framing, but it’s a nice, attractive piece,” says Tom. “When the lights shine from the bottom to the top, the bottles light up a little bit—it’s pretty neat. So, you don’t see many [of these types of displays], and it’s unique.”
Emily then created a palate-cleansing look in the adjacent kitchen of pure neutrals and pops of brass for some shine. Instead of an all-white palette, she wove in warmer details.
“Michelle loves white kitchens, but I wanted to warm it up a bit with some walnut and warmer tones, which is very on-trend at the moment,” says Emily.
And although the space is contemporary and minimalist in design, the hard-working kitchen is completely functional for the large family. Details like an oversized fridge (hidden behind cabinetry), floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, oversized 10-by-5-foot Dalmata granite-topped island, barstool seating, bookshelves and the pantry tucked away in the corner behind discreet custom millwork doors make it an essential gathering space. The exemplary design details also include the herringbone tile backsplash (done by Bella Tile & Stone), custom black and gold Vent-A-Hood, concrete under-mount apron-front sink, Wildwood pendant lamps and matte black faucet.
With family visiting “pretty much every weekend,” according to Tom, the couple also knew they’d need to have comfortable spaces for each visitor. The couple’s cushy master suite on the main floor occupies one corner of the home with a lake view. With wood beam ceiling details, gold, leafy chandelier and a luxurious upholstered headboard, it’s a space that conveys tranquility—but still allows the couple to enjoy the views outside.
Each guest bedroom is also richly appointed and no detail was overlooked in these rooms, either. Tom says he allowed Emily to have free reign in each of the room designs, and he’s tremendously happy with the results, as each guest has a comfortable— and stylish—place to rest their head and relax. Emily’s expert eye selected beautiful area rugs, statement lighting and unique wall art for each space.
One of the bedrooms even has a cool den attached to it, located above the home’s garage, which also serves as a hangout spot for the grandchildren, or a quiet place for guests to relax. Two comfy couches flank the space and built-in bookshelves hold books and games.
For Emily, the home was a joy to design—but it’s hard for her to name her favorite spot.
“I do love the dining room,” she admits. “The color is great, and I like that Michelle trusted me enough to do something that bold [in there]. Everybody loves how it turned out. I also love the kitchen as well, and the bathrooms turned out awesome, too.”
Tom enjoys the living room, where he can hang out with family, and still catch amazing views.
“I love it in there because I can see the lake. I sit here and look at the lake every day.”
By Shayna Mace | Photography by Shanna Wolf
5,800 SQUARE FEET / 5 BEDROOMS / 4 FULL BATHS, 2 HALF BATHS
This home was featured in the Lake Geneva: Fall 2019 issue. For more photos of featured Lake Geneva homes, visit the Lake Geneva gallery.
The Lakeshore Living publications are published by Nei-Turner Media Group, a full-service agency located in Lake Geneva, WI. Our four publications cover the picturesque lake communities of Lake Geneva, Madison, Lake Country and Northwoods.
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