Although Pewaukee Lake is firmly positioned on a map in southeastern Wisconsin, when you enter Belinda and Steve Kwapil’s Pewaukee home, you may feel for a brief moment that you’ve been transported to an airy, minimalist California abode.
The home’s exterior incorporates creamy white stucco with metallic, rustic Neolith; wood accents; and sharp geometric lines for a contemporary aesthetic. The interior echoes the clean, West Coast-inspired feel with plenty of white and gray, marble countertops, dark woods and metal railings.
“We wanted a modern Mediterranean [look],” explains Steve Kwapil. “And we wanted an open, airy feel.”
The couple’s lake home dream started a few years back in November 2016, when the Watertown natives started thinking about retirement. Their thoughts turned to summers spent at a family cabin with their four children on Rock Lake in Lake Mills—and what fun it was.
“All of our kids grew up on the lake, learning to swim, so we wanted the same thing for our grandchildren now,” says Steve.
Belinda and Steve started exploring Pewaukee Lake because of the wealth of restaurant options on the water. The couple also knew a pair of homeowners that lived on a prime piece of land on the lake, and found out they were looking to sell. And, that particular property had enough room to put a pool in—also of major importance to the Kwapils.
They started by tearing down the existing 1890’s home and working with Ware Design to imagine the look and feel of their new home. After several design revisions with Ware superintendent Jeff Lichty and designer Dave Hoffman, they settled on a plan that incorporated the couple’s love of Mediterranean style.
“Some of the materials used in this home are very distinct, like the Neolith used on the [home’s] exterior. This home is the first to use it in the Midwest,” explains Lichty. “Their interior walls are also concrete, which is more energy efficient, and a lot stronger.”
The welcoming floor plan includes 16-foot-high ceilings in the main floor’s great room—a suitable greeting for guests who are also immediately greeted by lake views through the windows that stretch the whole back of the home. The neutral palette of white, khaki and gray keep the view the star of the show—but also beckons guests to come and sit a while.
Belinda particularly loves the kitchen, which has not one, but two islands. One gray quartz- topped island serves as a prep and cooking area, and the other marble waterfall island can seat three people. She says she and Steve will often eat here, or work on their computers. Porcelain, marble-look tile runs up to the ceiling for a tidy, luxurious backsplash. And a custom copper stove hood and glimmering gold hardware pulls inject a glamorous edge into the neutral space.
If the couple doesn’t eat at the waterfall island, they can dine at the round dining table set in front of their kitchen windows, or in a cozy sun porch off of the dining room. The porch has retractable screens and a fireplace, so they frequently leave the doors open to this space in warm weather to lend an indoor/outdoor feel to the kitchen.
Adding to the style of the home is the functionality the couple also built into it—like Steve’s office, set right off of the kitchen (and connected to the sun porch). Belinda loves her cozy laundry room that’s more hangout area than utilitarian space, with quartz countertops and a desk. A tidy mudroom area with cubbies and cabinets helps keep clutter in order. And a guest room and full bathroom (with the home’s only bathtub, for the grandkids) is tucked into the front part of the home, next to the couple’s master suite with en-suite bathroom, closet and of course—lake views.
The home’s lower level and outdoor space leave no doubt these areas were set up for family fun and relaxation. The lower level is purposefully darker than upstairs, utilizing industrial-look furnishings and lighting, metal shelving, and a masterfully-applied faux finish on the walls that looks like linen wallpaper. Steve, a former beer distributor and current entrepreneur, wanted to make this area look “like a pub” so there’s plenty of serving space and a mini fridge to showcase hard-to-find craft beers. An adjacent media area that’s open to the bar features a large- screen projector and plenty of seating. And two cute nooks play host to a kid’s seating area and a Golden Tee arcade game.
Outside is where guests really feel like they’re on vacation. Not only is there a lake view, but an infinity pool with lounge chairs at the ready. A shallow tanning shelf in the pool means that young grandkids can easily play here, too. A covered lounge area features couches, a fireplace, TV and retractable screens for a distinctly West Coast (and resort-worthy) look. It all adds up to the perfect place for family to be together—whether it’s indoors or out.
“My favorite area is the lower outside deck,” affirms Steve.
“It’s hard for me to say [which area I love best] because I like it all so much!” says Belinda. “I just love the whole house.”
Belinda Kwapil wanted storage on both sides of her kitchen island, rather than have seating on one side. Ware Design suggested the couple put in two kitchen islands—one for prep and one for seating. “We love this,” she says.
Handsome cable railings wrap around the stairs and don’t detract from the water views. Upstairs, the hallway is open on both sides to allow light into the space.
The round dining table and chairs from Arhaus matches up beautifully with the BBC Lighting chandelier above it. The lake view doesn’t hurt, either.
The couple had custom woodwork detail crafted by Ware Design installed behind the bed and on the ceiling above it to mimic a built-in headboard, and the effect is dazzling.
The sun porch features a retractable screen so the couple can sit in here morning, noon and night. They also frequently keep the door open during warm weather so cool breezes can come through the home. A fireplace and special ventilation system also allows for Steve to smoke his beloved cigars in here.
Exquisite built-in cabinetry allows Steve to show off his barware in the lower level. The wood live-edge bar and seating area is the perfect place for family to eat at, or for Steve to sample his rare craft beer collection.
A floating vanity, industrial sconces and a steam shower are all luxuries in the lower-level full bathroom. Durable luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout the whole lower level mean that wet feet and cleaning up are never a problem.
Trend alert: non-enclosed media rooms are where it’s at, like in the Kwapil’s lower level, since everyone can watch the game or movie but still hang out with friends and chat in an adjacent communal area.
The couple’s love of minimal spaces and contemporary lines are apparent in all areas of the home.
Steve and Belinda have plenty of space to get ready in their master bath, featuring commercial-grade cabinetry and linen-look tile on the walls.
A tranquil guest bedroom has its own lake view.
Belinda’s laundry room is more like a hangout spot, with tons of space and a place to sit.
If the Kwapils need a place to sit outside, they have many options, including their upper deck, lower covered patio and luxurious pool. Belinda says she can frequently be found in the pool or on a lounge chair—as can her kids and grandkids when they visit.
By Shayna Mace | Photography by Shanna Wolf
4,900 SQUARE FEET / 5 BEDROOMS / 4.5 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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