A Laid-Back Lake House
This four-bedroom home that sleeps 17 is just right for jumping in or curling up with a good book
Photography by David Patterson
“We wanted a house that would withstand lots of kids, dogs and cocktails!”
This, the joyous mission of a Denver couple who already spend their weekdays in the Colorado Homes & Lifestyles 2014 Home of the Year designed by C+A Interiors duo Conni Newsome and Ashley Eitemiller. So when the pair found a great-outdoors getaway for their family of seven, they immediately texted Newsome and Eitemiller to put them on notice that it was game on for nest number two.
The object of their kids-cocktails-and-dogs affection turned out to be a Grand Lake cabin high on charm but in need of a serious overhaul. “Their first instructions were, ‘We need to sleep an army [of family, friends and cousins],’” says Newsome, who explains "The home had been owned by a builder who put a lot of it together by using leftover materials from other projects, so it had a funky, patchwork quality about it. The house spoke to us in a different way, and we listened."
The homeowners entrusted C+A to interpret their vision. “Our dream was for the house to be a comfortable, welcoming place where our family and friends would gather, connect and make memories for generations, " says the wife. "We, of course, wanted it to be beautiful and modern, but we also wanted it to be eclectic and quirky, and to have the feel of being pieced together organically over time like the cabins we spent time in when we were kids.”
The C+A team worked with builder Dan Fairbanks of Bighorn Building Services to enhance and expand the original structure. "We had been dying to design a place with no rules, and this was it," says Eitemiller, "Plus, it had a playful vibe that was totally in keeping with the family.”
Everything C+A added served to create a high-volume, low-fuss, all-around-cool space. “We tried to preserve the charm but took out lots of walls to create openness and light,” says Eitemiller. The home’s lower level had been filled with dirt and contained a large boulder that had to be removed to clear space for a second bunk room and extra storage. The house now covers 3,800 square feet, about 20 percent more than the original.
Thanks to two bunk rooms (their bed counts are six and seven), the home’s four bedrooms accommodate 17 sleepers. Outside of the master ensuite, there is only one (!) other full bath in the house (the main floor has a powder room), so C+A created a sink space, lovingly referred to as “the wet bar,” in the upstairs hallway to alleviate the teeth-brushing, face-washing lines when traffic is heavy.
Instilled with the owners’ trust, the designers selected everything from finishes and furnishings to 28 sets of sheets. Durability and maximum utility were of primary concern, as was ample seating areas for readers of all ages (the house has one television that’s barely used). Dining space was important, too: When the cabin achieves “No Vacancy” status, there is still room for everyone to break bread. Even amid frenzy—which is the usual state of affairs—the house maintains its offbeat charm, as well as its high aesthetic/high function duality. “I love the mix of colors and patterns and that nothing really matches,” says the homeowner. “And yet it works together perfectly. The house is still cohesive, wonderful and, of course, beautiful.”
This wilderness-friendly tableau is one of the first things you see upon entering the house, and it sets the tone. The bead board, painted in Sherwin-Williams Refuge, was added for durability, and the wallpaper is Galbraith & Paul. The Anthropologie sideboard holds extra dining necessities, and the floor was re-stained from its original pine to tone down the yellowish pine trim throughout.
The designers kept the original ceiling detail and fireplace. A Richard Mulligan chandelier from John Brooks, Inc., hangs above an Aztec Custom rug. The sofa is Ferrell Mittman, and the coffee table is also by Richard Mulligan. C+A sourced the photographic art from Etsy. The team are big believers in drapery to soften the texture of a room.
"We picked everything, down to the last fork,” says Newsome. “And when we make the decisions, we think about our clients’ tastes and then ask the question: ‘How would we live in the space?’ Then we go over our choices with them to make sure they agree.” The black-and-white tile backsplash is from Decorative Materials, and the countertops are natural stone (Aspen) from The Stone Collection. The Mimi London chairs and stools were chosen for durability and beauty. When the house is full, all the kitchen seating comes into play.
The much-loved dining table is by Richard Mulligan and the chairs are Serena & Lily.
Berman Rosetti chairs are in a Mimi London sheepskin accented with a cricket table from Black Tulip Antiques. The design team found the black and white vase while shopping in Santa Fe. The sheers are by Romo. Says the homeowner: “My favorite place in the whole house is my chair in the bay window. Not only is it the best location (you can watch kids in the hot tub, watch kids jumping off the boat house and watch the sailing races), but the chairs are ridiculously cozy and comfortable.”
The leopard chair is covered in an Edelman printed hair on hide. C+A used Pottery Barn linens as bespoke window treatments. Each bunk has a sleeping bag to complete the cabin vibe and allow for no-fuss bed-making.
The custom-made bedding with oversized shams in Rose Cumming fabric is from Town showroom. “It adds a one-of-a-kind layer, setting the room apart,” says Newsome. The bedside chest is from Ballard Designs; the green herringbone wallpaper is Phillip Jeffries; and the rug is from Aztec Custom rugs. The designers customized the lampshade to bring out the coral accents visible throughout the house.
INTERIOR DESIGN Conni Newsome and Ashley Eitemiller, C+A Interiors BUILDER Dan Fairbanks, Bighorn Building Services, 970-627-0156