The open concept main living room includes access
to this cozy gathering space, which exemplifies the rustic digs that
never forgets that relaxation and celebration mix well.
When a professional Mequon couple dreamed of having a
more casual lifestyle for family and friend gatherings within an
hour drive of their North Shore home, they set their sights on
building a farmhouse on an 80-acre prairie next to the Milwaukee
River in Random Lake.
Their dream was realized in 2016 with the help of two design
specialists: Jessica Forston, co-owner of Fringe Interior Design and
Home Furnishings in Whitefish Bay, and Anna Burns, co-owner of The
Brookwater Group, a construction project management firm in Greenleaf.
Their clients gave them a blank slate of sorts, having razed an old
house, two barns and a shed. What rose in their place is an almost
3,000-square-foot, two-story abode with four bedrooms and three baths.
It is designed to be a retreat with rustic overtones and just enough
modern convenience to accommodate current and future needs of their
grown children, as well as guests.
The stage was set for Burns to help create the interior hardscape plus
some accessories while Forston helped select most of the finishing
touches. Both designers share a long-term relationship with the
Beamed ceiling, rustic framed floor-to-ceiling
windows and hardwood floors frame
gray tones in the master bedroom.
The living room,
with its vaulted beam ceiling, is filled with
comfortable touches accompanied by
just the right focal point – a bright painting of a
Jessica Forston brought from her office.
“They know what they want and what they don’t,”
Forston says. “I got involved after the house was built but the
drywall was not up yet. It was ideal for someone like me to help set
up the spaces. It was an opportunity for them to create something
Burns said an initial client meeting to plan and carefully position the
home’s construction went from a small cabin to an expansive retreat and
finally scaled back.
“This was to be a family retreat but they also wanted to repurpose parts
of the old buildings,” Burns said. “We saved and used floor joists, barn
wood and other materials. The whole design theme was in keeping with a
farmhouse because farmers are very practical individuals who use what is
available around them.”
The resulting look is a layered mix of repurposed and new ingredients,
achieving a millennium comfort level utilizing yesteryear’s sensibility.
curved wall lining the staircase to the second floor is built with stone
from the foundations of the property’s razed buildings. The addition of
white mortar gives a farm silo appearance to the exterior. At the top of
the stairs are two new “whiskey chairs” with an exposed raw frame and
covered in hand-sewn leather.
Old beams from the previous buildings were used outside over a porch
that wraps around the home while more rustic beams frame the vaulted
ceiling in the open concept living and dining room that flows at one end
into the kitchen.
guest bathroom features rustic and industrial touches like a stone wall,
a large stone sink and caged work lights along one side of the vanity
Rustic meets industrial in this guest bathroom that
features an above-counter rock sink.
The great room is dressed in fine modernized rustic
touches, such as English armchairs with a modern mustard, gray and
tan print. A sawhorse table behind the sofa has scissor metal-forged
The kitchen gets its own unique twist with a wine barrel sink lined in
All of these details
and more have made the homeowners more than content. They say their
retreat provides them a perfect way to pursue their passions. They love
hosting family, groups from their church and hunting buddies, while also
continuing their farm-to-table activities that yield a favorite: salsa.
With a home in Mequon, a cabin in Minocqua and now this Random Lake
retreat, life, they said, is like a moveable feast.
How to re-create the
While much of this home is customized with repurposed
materials, some details can be a guide to create the same or similar
warm neutral palette painted through much of the home is Popular Gray by
the guest bathroom, the custom-made rock sink is from The Tile Shop.
the wine-tasting room, the rustic natural-tone field stone backsplash is
mustard, gray and tan English-style armchairs in the living room were
made especially for Fringe Interior Design and Home Furnishings. Other
scissor-leg sawhorse table behind the living room sofa is from