This lakeside home mixes yacht club style and cottage charm to great effect

Designer Tom Stringer took the helm for this lakeside home's renovation, adding style by the boatload

living room with view of lake and curved white sofa and blue chairs
(Image credit: Wittefini)

This craftsman shingle style summer home was built in the mid-1980s on the shore of Walloon Lake, Michigan. Its owners, who also own the house next door, bought it for their grown-up children and their partners to share. 

Following a recent redesign, this weekend and vacation retreat now has gorgeous coastal decor interiors to match its stunning location. We caught up with Tom Stringer, the interior designer responsible for the redesign, to ask how he came up with the new look, which he describes as classic midwestern cottage style.  

'The house sits directly at the water’s edge and features dockage for the client’s boats, so we alit on a yacht club theme,' says Stringer. 'The color scheme of reds, blues, whites and yellows, is drawn from the colors of nautical signal flags, Our intent was to nod toward classic yacht club style without delving too far into nautical clichés.'

kitchen with blue units and island with upholstered bar stools and three glass pendants

(Image credit: Wittefini)

'When the owners purchased the property, the existing finishes were dated and formal,' explains designer Tom Stringer. 'We updated the kitchen and cook’s pantry and added bead-boarded ceilings and wide plank walnut floors for a more classic feeling.' Kitchen ideas include blue cabinetry, soft gray worktops and a tiled backsplash, all referencing the cooler tones of the nautical palette, while upholstered bar stools introduce the weathered shade of red that will be subtly repeated in the other main spaces in the home. 

open plan dining space and living room with sloped roof and blue grand piano and fireplace

(Image credit: Wittefini)

'The great room is an easy favorite,' says designer Tom Stringer of the home's open-plan living-dining room. 'It has a great view of the water and features our bespoke semi-circular sofa with a wood paneled outside back that makes it vaguely resemble a settee on the aft deck of a fantail stern yacht. The room also features a grand piano that came with the house. We lightened it’s heart with a fresh marine blue lacquer.'

dining room with blue rug and white walls wooden table cane chairs and model yachts

(Image credit: Wittefini)

The dining area features two vintage pond yachts displayed 'yacht club style' in glass cases atop a pair of ebonite campaign chests. And one of the designer's inspired dining room ideas was to include an antique walnut dining table, which has great patina so no one's worrying about new scratches and dents.

living room with curved white sofa round table and view of the lake

(Image credit: Wittefini)

Living room ideas combine vintage and upcycled pieces together with some smart new bespoke elements to create a comfortable and welcoming feel in this unique room overlooking a terrace and the water. A pair of bobbin chairs flank the stone fireplace and a round cocktail table that came with the house was repurposed with the same blue matte lacquer finish as on the grand piano.

bedroom with terrace and lakeside view and blue bedding

(Image credit: Wittefini)

The primary bedroom has its own terrace on the water and features a white painted four poster bed. Yellow and white linen curtains frame the view. Bedroom ideas for this space are all about maximizing the view, and echoing the calming blues of the watery landscape outside. 

black twin beds with black and white check bedding and white painted paneled walls

(Image credit: Wittefini)


The new bunk room was added to the house as part of the renovations. This ground-floor space includes three queen beds with vintage-style spindle bed frames and simple cottage-style bed linen. Wainscoting to the walls continues the nautical theme, while the colors echo those used in the rest of the house. 

bathroom with blue and white tiles and freestanding bath with double vanity unit

(Image credit: Wittefini)

The primary bathroom features all new finishes. The freestanding tub replaces a dated built-in whirlpool tub. Bathroom ideas that work well here to give a fresh look include the wide plank walnut flooring, double vanity, and wall-to-ceiling tiling. 

exterior of lakeside home with white pillars and external steps

(Image credit: Wittefini)

Built right on the shore of  Walloon Lake and with its own jetty, the craftsman shingle style home has been refreshed and redesigned in a year-long renovation project to bring it right up to date while still referencing the area's sailing history.

Interior Design: Tom Stringer
Photography: Wittefini

Karen Darlow

Karen is the houses editor for and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.