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Lakefront luxury
A trio of interior designers transforms a previously dated lakeside home into a family-friendly, neutral retreat

Photos by Doug Edmunds

October 2016

Vintage pieces sourced from local and regional antique malls were combined with items from the likes of West Elm, Restoration Hardware and Room & Board. Here, a vintage lamp from Riverview Antique Market in Milwaukee is paired with two Restoration Hardware sconces, illuminating the entryway.


For some projects, three minds are better than one.

When Anne Wangman of Forbes Design was approached by a Chicago area couple to transform their second home, a nearly 8,000-square-foot retreat on Oconomowoc Lake, into an oasis fit for the pair and their four children, she called in Andre Walker and David Simmons of Walker Simmons Design to assist.

"Anne brought us in at the beginning of the project, and we all kind of took different roles," explains Walker. "Anne took the head and we went with her vision, and David and I were supportive of most of the things (she) wanted."


Oversized sofas and chairs from Restoration Hardware provide a place to relax, read a book or enjoy views of the lake. A custom-made console table covered in a Thibaut ikat fabric adds a touch of pattern to an otherwise neutral scheme.

"The three of us tag-teamed," Wangman adds. "Nobody had an ego. It was a collaborative effort."

The first thing they determined needed to be done, she says, was to maximize views of the lake. Knotty pine covered the majority’s of the home’s interior sills — a visually distracting design feature. "We neutralized everything by painting it (white)," Wangman explains. "It opened up the views, and lightened and brightened them."


A Dash & Albert rug from The Home Market, Milwaukee, complements the home’s relaxed, lived-in motif, and the dining room chairs, custom-made and covered in a highly durable Pindler & Pindler fabric, are kid-friendly yet chic. "We really tried to utilize as many local resources as possible," says interior designer Anne Wangman.

Ensuring each space was usable became a secondary goal. The dining room, for example, was renovated, updated and given new meaning. "We gave that room a purpose — there was (originally) no function to it," Wangman says. "With a large family that likes to entertain, we thought it would be a perfect dining room space. We transformed it into something that was usable." Avocado-green-colored walls were painted a soft, white hue; brown shag carpet was ripped out and replaced with polished wood floors; and a Restoration Hardware dining room table, which seats up to 14, was brought in to accommodate the family of six, plus eight guests.

A stylized dining room vignette plays with proportion, combining reclaimed pieces and various textures.


As former antique booth owners, both Wangman and Simmons gravitate toward a mix of old and new, so a carefully curated selection of locally and regionally sourced vintage items, from accessories to furniture, is found throughout the home. "We wanted to mix in vintage pieces with reproduction and newer (pieces) so it’s comfortable for a modern family but also lends itself to being a true Wisconsin lake home," explains Wangman.

Simmons echoes her statement, adding that he often encourages his clients to incorporate their own collections into the project. "We can give you a beautiful space, but unless we can personalize it (with something that is yours), it just looks like a space we styled for you," he says. In the case of this


Each of the four kids’ bedrooms evokes a certain sense of North Woods style. Custom-made buffalo check bed skirts are paired with the homeowners’ own linens, and a vintage chair was recovered in the same buffalo check fabric to "tie it all together," Wangman says.


Lake Country home, that meant adding a subtle (and tasteful) canine theme — the homeowners have two dogs — to the home’s decor. m



This story ran in the October  2016 issue of: