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Waterfront revival
A cozy house is nestled on the shores of Lake Keesus

Photos by Doug Edmunds

April 2013

The "tree house" deck adjacent to the dining room is about 25 feet off the ground and offers great views of the bay on Lake Keesus. The towering oaks provide plenty of shade from the summer sun.

You might say fate led Gwen Adair-Strangohr and her husband, Jim Strangohr, to the doorstep of their Lake Keesus home in 2007.

After the tragic death of their friend, the couple purchased the home where their friend had lived. "I think she always wanted me to have this house," Adair-Strangohr says.

They immediately went to work, turning a summer cottage into a cozy and inviting space. (Adair-Strangohr is the owner of Cabinet Supreme by Adair.)

They added beadboard to the interior walls, wallpaper and updated the kitchen with new cabinets. Refinished wood floors with cherry and maple tones complement the white-painted trim. "You can use splashes of color in a nice way when you have white millwork in the house," Adair-Strangohr says.

But the work did not stop at the interior. The couple spent endless hours in the yard planting new gardens, creating an outdoor seating area with a fountain, and removing numerous railroad ties from the hill and replacing them with stones leading to the lake. "We wanted to get a more natural effect. We also planted some native and decorative plantings to hold the soil," Adair-Strangohr says. "That was our first big project here."

The green and white damask print wallpaper adds a splash of color in the living room. "I have an overall green and yellow theme, not to be Packerish, but I was going for a more cottage feel to the house," explains homeowner and designer Gwen Adair-Strangohr. Three black-and-white framed photos of Gwen and husband Jim Strangohr that were taken on their wedding day in Jamaica add a personal touch to the space.




A quaint cottage on the property is the perfect place for overnight guests during the summer months. "It was a two-room cottage built in the 1930s or early 1940s," Adair-Strangohr says. "We wanted to keep it as original as possible." It doesn’t have running water — they pulled out the plumbing and kitchen sink — but it does have electricity. The couple refinished the windows and interior walls, installed a new wood floor and painted the exterior. The next step was to install bunk beds and curtains. "The kids have really enjoyed it, having sleepovers and such," she says. The extra table space inside provides a bug-free atmosphere to enjoy a lake-side view.

The homeowners chose bisque-colored appliances instead of stainless steel to blend with the cabinetry. "I wanted it to feel like the cabinets were more of a furniture style," Adair-Strangohr says. "I was going for a shabby chic meets Pottery Barn look, a soft romantic feel." The island can seat up to five people. "We move chairs around to meet the needs of the day." The green and white colors carry into the kitchen from the living room. The corner windows give a nice view of the trees and lake beyond. 




This story ran in the April 2013 issue of: