The sun shines and calm breezes gently ripple throughout the wooded Beaver Lake property that Rachelle and Alasdair Cripps’ call their lake home. The expansive, farmhouse-style exterior is a moody midnight hue with bright white trim and accented with cedar shingles. Two front entrances (one enhanced with a life-size, wood-carved Bucky Badger) beckon guests into the welcoming spot that the Glenview, Illinois-based couple and their three daughters travel to throughout the year for fun and relaxation.
Alasdair became familiar with Lake Country when he was growing up in Madison. A childhood friend moved to Oconomowoc Lake, and he would frequently visit. He ended up reconnecting with the same friend after he joined a fraternity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the duo would frequently travel to his parent’s home to hang out on the lake. After Alasdair moved to Chicago for work (and married Rachelle), the couple started thinking about purchasing their own lake home to be near their friends (some of which had also bought lake homes in the area), and to have Rachelle’s Iowa-based family and Alasdair’s Madison-based relatives be able to visit and stay with them.
“I come from a very large family and my husband has a lot of friends that he still keeps in touch with from college. So, we decided it was a good … meeting place where people can come, and we could have multiple families or groups and get people together. And, then it would be a place for our kids to come back to with their families,” says Rachelle.
Although the property originally had a mid-century modern home on it, the Crippses felt that after meeting with Colby Construction and researching the renovation costs, it would’ve been too much work to improve the property to what they needed. So, they switched gears and worked with Pete Feichtmeier, owner of Colby Construction, and architect Paul Konstant of Skokie, Illinois-based Konstant Architecture & Planning, to dream up their perfect house design.
“We wanted a large living space, kitchen, screened-in porch and place for the kids to go,” explains Rachelle. “We also wanted our master bedroom separated from the main living areas. And, we really wanted to try and get a pool too. [Paul Konstant] was like, ‘I’m envisioning an old-school lake house.’”
Feichtmeier is an admirer of Konstant’s work, having partnered with him several times in the past.
“When I think of Paul’s houses, they have lots of satellite pieces that tie his houses together in an attractive way. [His designs] flow together architecturally and have a lot of appeal because the homes connect together in a thoughtful way,” says Feichtmeier.
Konstant’s design utilizes elements of farmhouse style mixed with classic, coastal details. Much of the ceiling and the living room walls are covered in creamy white shiplap and the dark, wide-plank engineered oak floors lend gravitas to the brand-new build. The living room furnishings from Milwaukee’s The Home Market are arranged around a wood-burning fireplace—yet another traditional touch—and simple, chic décor (such as a large woven basket wall hanging) enrich the interiors, yet never detract from the shimmering pool directly outside, and the lake beyond that.
Right off of the living room is a cozy den that closes off easily with pocket doors. Rachelle says it’s virtually soundproof, and younger kids can gather in here to play board games or watch a movie, but still be connected to the action.
Tucked on the side of the home is the couple’s living quarters, which includes a secondary den/office that Alasdair uses for work, to watch games or catch a moment of solitude. The den is connected to the couple’s master bedroom, which boasts a luxurious master bath and his-and-hers closets. The best part of the bedroom is the airy, floor-to-ceiling windows and private screened-in porch that’s attached to their bedroom, and overlooks the pool.
“There are so many great features in this home,” says Feichtmeier. “The fact that the master wing is set apart from the house so that you walk down a small hallway with glass on both sides to get to that master suite— that’s an extraordinary feature of this house.”
And “airy” is a word that aptly describes each room in the Cripps’ home. Two of the most-used rooms in the home, the kitchen and outdoor living/dining room, employ this descriptor in spades. The kitchen’s all-white color scheme, handsome black cabinet pulls and eye-popping quartzite-topped island all reinforce Rachelle’s simple, yet sophisticated style. A rustic eat-in dining table with bench seating situated next to a bay window allows for scenic views when the weather’s cooler. When it’s warm out, the screened-in porch connected to the kitchen welcomes family with open arms and is equipped with couches, a dining table, grill, wood-burning fireplace and tons of room for everyone.
“In the summer this is where we eat all of our meals, and if we have a lot of people, the kids will usually eat in the [screened-in porch],” says Rachelle.
Of course, everyone needs a place to stay when they come over, and the Crippses handily planned for that as well. A large bedroom upstairs has three full beds plus two built-in twin beds for a cool bunkroom that her daughters can use when they visit, plus, a lovely balcony that overlooks the pool. Four additional upstairs bedrooms all have en-suite bathrooms, too. If that’s not enough room, an additional wing of the home above the garage hosts another guest quarters with built-in bunk beds, lounge area, wet bar and full bathroom.
Although the home is a lovely escape for the Crippses and their family when they can make their way up from Illinois (and her Madison-based daughter and Washington, D.C.-located daughter can visit too), it’s even better for Rachelle and Alasdair when it’s packed full of people they love.
“We just hang out here, and we always have people [over]. People are always on the lake, or in the pool,” says Rachelle. “We don’t do a lot outside of the house, because we’re coming up to relax for the weekend—it’s wonderful.”
Rachelle Cripps says she hangs out around the pool more than in the lake—which is why it was important that they were able to put one in. Architect Paul Konstant drew the house plans so that the home is situated one foot higher than the pool, so the family can overlook the pool, rather than be eye-level with it.
An oversized Wolf stove, double refrigerator, double oven and copious storage mean the kitchen can easily accommodate large crowds. To the right of the quartzite- topped island is a buffet area with cabinetry that separates the kitchen from the living room—a design touch Rachelle had spotted in a friend’s home, and wanted to incorporate in hers.
Reminiscent of summer camp-style lodging, the fun upstairs bunkroom was imagined with the Cripps’ three daughters in mind so they could bunk together. Two additional built-in twin beds with storage underneath keeps bags and clutter out of sight.
The guest quarters above the garage has four bunk beds, a lounge area, wet bar and full bathroom for guest overflow.
The girls’ bunkroom en-suite bathroom has a rustic, trough-style sink, patterned cement tiles and plenty of cabinet storage.
“I love that this house design wraps around the pool—there’s some great architecture here,” says Feichtmeier. Beautiful bluestone tiles cover the
space, and a pool with hot tub (created by Neuman Pools) can be used day or night. Stylish outdoor furniture is arranged around a built-in fire pit. Next to the outdoor lounge area is the screened-in porch for easy in-and-out access for meals and gatherings.
By Shayna Mace | Photography by Tricia Shay
5,700 SQUARE FEET / 6 BEDROOMS / 7 FULL & 2 HALF BATHS
This home was featured in the Lake Country: Fall 2019 issue. For more photos of featured Lake Country homes, visit the Lake Country 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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