When it came time for homeowners Tonya and Ryan (who asked that their last name not be used) to build a full-time residence on Geneva Lake, Tonya knew she wanted the home’s aesthetic to embody a warm, farmhouse feel — she grew up on a farm in Nebraska, after all. Ryan’s aesthetic, on the other hand, leans more toward a modern design style.
The couple, who bought the property in fall of 2016, managed to meet in the middle when it came time to design their new residence with the help of developer John Matustik of Matustik Builders and interior designer Brady Mathews of Sojourn Design House.
A longtime builder and developer of lakefront homes, Matustik helped the couple map out how they would want the home to function over the years. He knew the home had to be adaptable. It needed to accommodate the daily life of the couple and their two young daughters and comfortably host large gatherings of friends and family.
“It starts with lifestyle,” Matustik says. “How are they going to live in the house as the family grows and things change? How are they going to utilize the house 10 years later? [And it’s] imperative that the house feels intimate when it’s just you and your spouse.
But when you have 30 to 40 people there, you also don’t want it to feel cramped.”
The design of the 7,637-square-foot home deftly accomplishes that goal and it certainly delivers on wow factor. From the moment guests step through the front doors, it’s hard not to be in awe. The rustic wood accents (all of which are sourced from barns across Wisconsin) have a grounding affect on the main floor. But other elements — like the glass wine display in the dining room, the leather-backed bar chairs around the kitchen island and the moody blue wallpaper in the main floor bathroom — offer modern touches that feel elegant and masculine. And despite its size, the three-story home does feel intimate, while maintaining the ability to sleep 22 people.
When the project kicked off, the couple didn’t have an interior designer. But after having a few conversations about the build with Mathews, a family friend, they decided to bring the Austin,
Texas-based interior designer into the fold. He came in with a vision for how each room could have its own wow-factor moment.
The kitchen, for example, has a grand stone range wall with a custom steel hood vent. Originally, the refrigerator was going to sit against that wall, but the new layout was Mathews’ idea and design, and it’s one of Tonya’s favorite features.
“I love having that open shelving and having everything within reach. But it’s also open. If someone is sitting at the table in the family room, we’re still able to converse with them,” she says.
Another showstopper is the four-season room just off the kitchen. Matustik, Mathews and the couple say it’s one of the most incredible parts of the home. The room opens up almost completely to the outdoors, thanks to the two exterior folding glass doors that open seamlessly to the outdoor pool and sunken fire pit.
“This room was a must-have,” says Ryan. “We wanted it to feel like an outdoor room that we could close off and use in the winter.”
The upstairs is the family’s respite, with three bedrooms and a bunk room for guests that comfortably sleeps about 10 people. The lower level is all about entertainment for the entire family. Ryan has a dedicated space for his golf simulator. And the girls have a small stage with a changing room off to the side.
“When we started planning this house, the girls were four and two [years old] at the time,” Tanya says. “In our previous house, they’d built this little stage and they were constantly on that. That’s one of the things we wanted to incorporate here. It’s crazy how much they use it.”
And to keep everyone active and occupied during the colder months, a gym area and sport court were set up in the garage. The family can play a little basketball or volleyball, and Tonya and Ryan have a home gym. Of course, the in-ground pool and lake provide a bevy of entertainment options in the summer. Having spent summers in Lake Geneva prior to making it their home full-time, the family knew what to expect during the warmest months. Come winter, the entire landscape transforms, and it’s opened their eyes to a whole new range of beautiful scenery and outdoor fun.
“We knew we’d love summer here,” Ryan says. “The winter months are a very different scene, but very enjoyable as well. When the ice [forms] on the lake, there are some winter activities we didn’t partake in before.”
“We’re loving it,” Tonya adds. “We absolutely love it up here.”
By Shelby Rowe Moyer | Photography by Shanna Wolf
7,637 SQUARE FEET | 5 BEDROOMS | 6 1⁄2 BATHROOMS
UPSCALE AND FUNCTIONAL
The elegant design doesn’t sacrifice functionality. The couches are intended for outdoor use, so wet swimsuits and errant spills are no match for the durable upholstery.
The main living room is cozy and intimate, perfect for the family of four who live here full-time.
A POLISHED POWDER ROOM
Early in the design process, the homeowners knew they wanted one statement room with dark features. Depending on the light, the wallpaper looks black in this room, but it’s actually a midnight blue.
The spacious kitchen is intended for large gatherings, so to maintain a cozy vibe for the family of four, a breakfast nook was added to the left of the island.
The ceiling beams warm and ground the main floor living spaces. The wood was sourced from old barns across Wisconsin.
PRETTY & SOPHISTICATED
The ensuite bathroom in one of the girls’ rooms has its own whimsical design. When it came to styling the girls’ rooms, they each got to help pick the color palette.
COOL & COZY
The owner’s bedroom has a spacious ensuite and closet. The couple aimed to maximize the room’s square footage by using it where they knew they’d need it most.
ROOM TO GROW
The rooms of the two girls have a bit of a grown-up feel, which was an intentional decision. This way, the rooms won’t feel too young and outdated when the girls reach their teenage years.
The owner’s bedroom has a muted, masculine vibe, but the design doesn’t lose connection with the rest of the home. The barn wood beams tie in with the main floor living area.
The scullery behind the main kitchen wasn’t part of the initial design plan, but the extra storage and work space has proven invaluable.
DROP IT LOW
The sunken exterior fireplace ended up being one of the most brilliant features of the home. Its low profile buffers the area on windy days (enabling the family to use it nearly year-round) but also maintains a clear sight line out to the lake.
Even though much of the home’s furniture was chosen to withstand plentiful guests and playful children, the durable and easy-to-clean upholstery is also great for the family’s two dogs, Trecker and Stella.
Tucked just out of view is the grill area, which can be accessed through the back of the kitchen.
This home was featured in the Lake Geneva: Summer 2022 issue. For more photos of featured Lake Geneva homes, visit the Lake Geneva Gallery page.
The Lakeshore Living publications are published by Nei-Turner Media Group, a full-service agency located in Lake Geneva, WI. Our publication covers the picturesque Lake Geneva area.
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