During the summer, the Wisconsin Dells area transforms into a bustling destination for tourists visiting from near and far. Meanwhile, as tourists play the days away on water slides and go-karts, a family home sits quietly on Lake Delton, seeming as if it’s a million miles away from the crowds.
In October 2017, Justin and Sarah Pope embarked on finally making their dream home a reality. After spotting a Hart DeNoble Builders home during the 2002 Parade of Homes, the couple fell in love with the builder’s designs and decided then and there that they wanted them to build their future lake home.
Fast-forward nearly two decades after that Parade of Homes sighting, and the Popes are now living in, and loving, their lakeside home.
Although the home project was started in 2017, their vision was formulated long before that. Lake Delton residents since 2004, the couple who are parents to two boys (Nolan, 13, and Ethan, 11) explains, “Our family was living in another home we had purchased in 2007 on the other side of the lake when we came across our current property for sale. We had been very happy with our previous home but [it] lacked green space for our boys to play on.”
The couple was immediately drawn to the property—it was a double lot with flat water frontage and a bygone cottage that had been built in 1944.
“This was the perfect opportunity to build the home we had always wanted,” Sarah shares. “We purchased the lot in 2015 and began making plans for our next home.”
In 2017, the Popes met with Steve Hunter, their architect from Hart DeNoble Builders. From there they worked with a contracting team which included Jason DeNoble, Jason Franzen and Gar Holcomb. Later that year, the crew took down the original cottage and construction began.
Jason DeNoble shares that the Popes desired “a quality-built home taking advantage of the amazing lake views and lot.”
Like many lake homeowners, the water was Pope’s main focal point. “Our goal was to have a lake view from every main living space and bedroom,” Sarah echoes.
Over the next 11 months, the team got to work. To maximize the vistas that the couple dearly wanted to enjoy, the elevation of the property was raised substantially.
Sarah adds, “It was a large undertaking to bring the elevation of the home up to what the design dictated. Over 50 truckloads of fill were brought in to raise the home. Our current main level sits at the same level as the previous cottage’s roofline!”
Other design aspects provide unhindered views of the lake. For example, the couple opted for 10-foot ceilings throughout the home to open up the space and allow for expansive windows that would invite natural light to pour in.
“The elevation of our main level sits in a fashion that when you are standing inside, you feel as though you are right on top of the water,” Sarah says. “It makes for a very peaceful and serene vibe in the home and a jaw-dropping view when you enter the two-story foyer.”
When the family isn’t boating, fishing or taking in stunning lakeside sunsets (often shared with their pup, Gage, who equally loved being on the water), they are enjoying the comfortable, airy surroundings of their home.
“We wanted a timeless feel as we plan to stay in this home forever,” Sarah says.
Amid the coffered and wood-paneled ceilings, wood mouldings, built-in cabinetry and Bluestone fireplace lie warm and thoughtful décor touches. Sarah especially loves the lighting throughout the home, all purchased through Madison Lighting.
Dwellings, a Madison-based furniture and interior design company, lent their aesthetic expertise to the home as well.
“We helped Sarah select furnishings for her great room, master bedroom and dining area,” co-owner Julie Umhoefer explains. “Because of the beautiful lake view and details that Sarah had already paid such attention to, we knew the furniture needed to be complementary to the home itself. We wanted to create a cozy, inviting and livable space, one that her family could enjoy and feel comfortable in. This home feels like a soft, Midwestern lake retreat.”
The breezy visuals carry to the exterior as well. Inspired by trips taken out East and spending time in Cape Cod, the exterior has handsome gray shingles and Bluestone reminiscent of an ocean-front cottage.
When asked about her favorite aspect of the home, Sarah says, “For me, I would say everything! This home has been in my head for years, and to see it become a reality has been nothing short of a dream. Some of my favorite days are spent sitting by the fire with a glass of wine and taking in the views, whether it be by the fireplace or outside at the fire pit. I feel so fortunate to be able to call this my home.”
4,492 square feet | 4 bedrooms | 3 full baths, 2 half baths
The decorative accents in the kitchen are close to homeowner Sarah Pope’s heart. As for the Chinoiserie vases above the cabinets, she says, “Blue is my favorite color, and this is a collection I have been gathering over the years.” She thought the silver whale “deserved center stage in our kitchen.”
“The details are what makes the difference in any home,” Sarah shares. These details can be seen in the whisper-blue backsplash showcased in the kitchen, the Visual Comfort chandelier over the table, the Dwellings pieces seen in the dining room and great room, and a beloved painting over the fireplace. “This was a gift from a family member that we brought in from our previous home,” Sarah explains.
From the laundry room’s navy cabinets to the nearly all-white mudroom, blues and whites are prevalent throughout this lakefront home, nestled alongside visually-pleasing decorative elements. These pieces are beautiful without overwhelming the space, like the quatrefoil mirror from Pottery Barn.
Many Dwellings furniture pieces can be seen throughout the home. Co-owner Julie Umhoefer says, “When choosing the furnishings for Sarah’s home, we paid close attention to details—contrasting welts on the swivel chair and ottoman, hand-rubbing on the dining chairs, the sisal rug in the great room, layering of textures in the bedding pieces, upholstered captain’s chairs in the dining room and more. Every piece was hand- selected to create a finished look.”
This home’s locale is infused in nearly every room you see, from the nautical bedroom outfitted in Ethan Allen linens to the bathroom featuring weathered wood, to the washroom drenched in navy blue hues.
Even when indoors, the outdoors are never far with the home’s copious windows. Hart DeNoble’s Jason DeNoble notes that the placement of the rooms optimized the views, and to continue the lakeside fun, he says that “storage was added under the garage with easy lake access for watersports equipment.” A patio outfitted with wicker furniture and a gilded Pottery Barn coffee table invites friends and family to linger over lakeside views.
Sarah and Justin Pope called upon the interior design expertise of Jenny Haley and Julie Umhoefer of Madison’s Dwellings to furnish key areas of their home. The sisters designed and chose pieces such as the master bedroom’s bed, dresser and linens; the dining room’s table, chairs and area rug; the great room’s sectional, ottoman, swivel chair, floor lamp, console table and area rug; and the upstairs loft’s media cabinet. Other items in the home were purchased from tried-and-true retailers such as Pottery Barn, like the silver whale in the kitchen and the quatrefoil bathroom mirror. The chandeliers in the dining room and master bedroom are from Visual Comfort.
Schumacher Santa Barbara Ikat pillow, $99, popocolor.com
Martini Counter Stool, $585, brookeandlou.com
Melbourne Pendant in white, $545, brookeandlou.com
Lily Pad Ginger Jar, $185, enchantedhome.com
By Shelby Deering | Photography by Shanna Wolf
This home was featured in the Madison: Spring 2020 issue. For more photos of featured Madison homes, visit the Madison Gallery page.
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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