With five grown children (and four grandchildren in the mix), it was always important to Sarah and Jay Parmeter that they had a central hub for their large family to gather. A lake home had never been far from their mind.
The couple were already familiar with Lake Thompson in Rhinelander because Sarah’s sister and her family had vacationed on that lake for decades. One day on a bike ride with her sister in 2006, Sarah spotted a quiet, brand-new subdivision on the lake. The Parmeters decided to buy two side-by-side lots and build their first lake home on one of the lots. As owners of the Wisconsin Rapids- based Golden Eagle Log & Timber Homes, they were intimately familiar with the home-building process.
Three years later, they sold their first lake home and waited until 2015 to build another home— this time on the lot next door to their first lake home. This lot overlooks two waterways—Lake Thompson in the front, and a small lake in the back.
“We started having grandkids and we knew we wanted to build some memories … so we put pencil to paper [to start designing] what we wanted,” says Sarah.
In addition to the couple’s large family, the Parmeters also wanted to make the house accessible for their parents, who visit quite frequently. Taking all of this into account, they moved forward with their “transitional, yet modern” home.
The purposefully-designed property has it all for the Parmeters: Enough bedrooms and bathrooms for each child’s family, two accessible main-floor master suites (one for Sarah and Jay, and one for when either of their parents come to stay), two large areas for entertaining, a spacious kitchen and an oversized mudroom for storing all of their snowmobiling gear.
The house employs a masterful mix of Northwoods character on the main floor, but with classic, updated furnishings and finishes. Exposed timber trusses and wood ceilings and floors subtly reinforce the Northwoods vibe, while light, bright furnishings, creamy white quartz countertops and pearl white cabinetry with a pewter glaze plays off of the rustic elements, modernizing the overall look.
“I’m an interior designer, so I’m familiar with what’s on-trend and what we’re seeing,” explains Sarah. “So, we decided to take those trends and put them into a Golden Eagle Log & Timber Home. It’s the perfect marriage of the styles of timber and the transitional modern feel of the home.”
The kitchen was especially close to Sarah’s heart.
“The open concept allows everyone to congregate in the kitchen, which is the heart of the home. That way, you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything if you’re in the kitchen,” says Sarah. “The whole design of the kitchen was centered underneath those big timber trusses so that the eye is drawn to it, and down to the center island. [The eye is also drawn to] the decorative stove hood and the mosaic behind it, so there’s always something interesting to look at.”
The space has two islands—one that serves as a buffet and dining area (equipped with Restoration Hardware chairs) and a prep island topped with a beautiful marbleized granite. The prep island even has two sinks that face each other—so two people can work in here at the same time.
“This [area] was designed to have multiple cooks … so you even have a garbage and dishwasher on both sides,” says Sarah. “It’s very user-friendly, because when we get together, it’s all about the food!”
Around the corner is a coffee bar and beverage fridge to help with traffic flow and all-hours-of- the-day beverage needs—like coffee in the morning, bottled water during the day and a beer at happy hour.
One unique aspect of the kitchen is that one wall is outfitted with windows, rather than cabinetry wrapping around all three sides. This purposeful design element was put in so that everyone in the kitchen could enjoy the lake view, too.
In the adjacent great room, there’s “45 feet of glass on the lake side” says Jay, who also points out that the hallways connecting the kitchen and great room to the bedrooms on either side are full of windows, too. “We wanted to be able to see out from every room.”
Another spot that has breathtaking views is the couple’s master suite. One entire wall is devoted to a view of the lake, and a unique aspect of the room is the sunken soaking tub in an alcove that overlooks the water.
“I would rather relax and look at the lake and have a glass of wine and enjoy the ambiance of my bedroom instead of looking at a toilet or something,” jokes Sarah.
The couple’s master bathroom also features soaring ceilings and liberal amounts of light that comes in via windows that face the lake on the backside of the home. “We wanted to be able to enjoy the view of the small lake while we were getting ready, too,” says Jay.
The Parmeters have already hosted numerous family gatherings in their lake home and are grateful they have a space that can host everyone comfortably—and in style.
“I have my dream kitchen,” says Sarah. “That’s my favorite part of the house.”
Echoes Jay: “I love the view in the living room—it’s just amazing. My favorite thing to do is have coffee in the morning and just look out at the lake. It doesn’t matter if it’s frozen or in the summertime—there’s nothing like it.”
One thing homeowner Sarah Parmeter was cognizant of is that her and her husband’s lake home is about family— so nothing is too precious. All of the Restoration Hardware furnishings are covered in Perennial fabrics, which are stain-resistant.
Sarah was able to successfully delineate zones in their great room so guests can congregate in the kitchen, sit and watch the lake, relax in front of the fireplace or dine at the 12-person table—and yet everyone can still feel like they’re together.
(Left) The Parmeter’s kitchen is an entertainer’s dream with plenty of space for cooks and guests. (Bottom left, right) Since the family uses the home year-round, they needed utility spaces that could handle heavy traffic and lots of guests. The mudroom has plenty of hooks and storage for bulky snowmobiling gear. And a spacious laundry room has copious counter space for folding clothing and storing any party needs.
The couple used white trusses in their master suite and whitewashed pine in the ceiling for a Caribbean feel. Golden Eagle custom-built the nightstands and cabinetry around the bed. “We wanted this room to be spa-like … it’s a totally different feel in here,” says Sarah. “We kept it soft, neutral and inviting with the grays and whites. This color palette allows you to update it as trends change by throwing in pops of color, too.”
Jay says that the home’s architecture was influenced by mountain and lodge style versus a Northwoods cabin aesthetic. This is shown in the squared-off beams used in the exterior and interior and Montana stone accents on the home’s lower portion. The home has a two-story, three-car garage for Jay to store his cars and the family’s snowmobiles.
By Shayna Mace | Photography courtesy of Golden Eagle Log & Timber Homes
5,600 SQUARE FEET / 5 BEDROOMS / 4 BATHS
This home was featured in the Northwoods: Spring 2020 issue. For more photos of featured Northwoods homes, visit the Northwoods 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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