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Historic beauty
Mediterranean-style home on Oconomowoc Lake gets a face-lift

Photos By Doug Edmunds

September 2015

A view from Oconomowoc Lake shows off a recent landscaping project that emphasizes flowing perennials. The only second floor section of the home has a recreation area over the main living room.

After 13 years, the beauty, elegance and historic significance of living on Oconomowoc Lake is not lost on Dean and Tammy Laing.

The updated 99-year-old Mediterranean-style home they adopted in 2002 has stood the test of time, recently coifed in an updated lakeview-friendly landscape and a previously revised décor.

The pool area helps one soak in an array of visual features, including wrought iron, skylights, glass tiles and the home’s signature arches.

Tammy has steered the makeover while keeping touches of 1916 antiquity, including many fixtures and the hand-painted, personalized crests in each bedroom — origins unknown.

"We replaced all of the wallpaper, redid the hardwood floors, resurfaced the marble floors and painted," says Tammy, who favors a neutral palette of butterscotch, cool yellow and Nantucket gray-green.

A colorful, secluded courtyard adds to this home’s special character.

Research of the home and lake community also uncovered distinctive historic facts. The home shares a common Oconomowoc Lake lineage as the domicile of Wisconsin’s captains of industry. Twentieth century bootleggers also enjoyed the setting; the home once had underground passages to an existing eight-car garage and a boathouse that now belongs to another property after the land was subdivided.

Uniqueness and practicality attracted the Laings to Oconomowoc. They traded life in Brookfield and another lake home to follow a more full-time water sports lifestyle enjoyed by their children.

A portico plush with arches, stone walkway and cozy seating area leads to the home’s courtyard entrance.

The architecture — containing more than 13,000 square feet — reminded them of travels to Mexico and South America. The indoor swimming pool and a center courtyard were bonuses, added to four bedrooms, three full bathrooms as well as three powder rooms. Most of the rooms throughout the house, some with 12-foot to 14-foot ceilings, provide lake views.

The living room’s neutral tones and rich woodwork emphasize an inviting|
fireplace and hand-painted beamed ceiling.

Marble black-and-white checkered floors, a handcrafted ceiling, pewter light fixtures and detailed arched windows and doors add elegance and Old World comfort to the home’s formal dining room.

The kitchen, Tammy says, will be updated in the near future. Beyond that, the place she and Dean, a downtown Milwaukee-based litigation attorney, call home remains perfect for solitude as well as social endeavors.

"Downtown Milwaukee is a long commute," Tammy says, "but my husband appreciates this as a quiet and beautiful retreat." 



This story ran in the September 2015 issue of: