Set alongside a crystal clear lake and nestled within acres of forest and farmland, the home of David Brixey is a secluded sanctuary, where peace and tranquility reign supreme. It was the lure of the water that first drew David to this property. Mere days from beginning the homebuilding process on a different lake, David learned about this option. It had more acreage and cleaner water, having been a limestone quarry previously, but there was an existing home on the land. Thus began a renovation that took almost a year and that the homeowner calls “a 100% transformation.”
Amazing views inside and outside
Contractor Jenny Diorio of Diorio Construction, LLC. describes it as the largest renovation her company has done. The scope of the project is also exemplified by the fact that it involved everything from new plumbing and roofing to new drywall and a new design.
“We tried to take advantage of ideas the previous owners had incorporated,” explains David. “And then gave it a more modern look. That end result is very unique.”
Also involved was Sarah Kuns, who handled interior design and applied her expertise to the color palette and many other selections. The finished product is a home built for entertaining. It seamlessly fosters the flow of people between the upper and lower levels, with a coastal feel on the main level and second floor, juxtaposed with a hunting lodge-type feel downstairs. But on every level, the goal is all about maximizing the amazing lake views.
To do so required replacing every window, in every room. Window grids were eliminated and large picture windows replaced the smaller windows. The back of the house is now dominated by glass, showcasing the lake, which wraps around the home on three sides. “The house faces south, so I wake up with the sun coming up over the water on one end,” says David. “In the evening, I watch the sun going down from the deck, which is on the west side of the house.”
It’s all in the details
The cool gray and blue hues that define the great room echo the tones of the lake. A light fixture from Restoration Hardware illuminates the color scheme, as well as the nature inspired coffee table from Phillips Collection and Sarah Kuns Designs, and the fireplace, which retains its beautiful original stone but boasts a new mantel.
The open great room flows into the kitchen, which David describes as his favorite space. “You have over 180-degree visibility outside if you’re standing in the kitchen doing dishes,” he says. “It’s pristine.”
The original dated traditional white kitchen received quite a facelift. Diorio explains that her team removed a formal dining room and moved weight-bearing walls, adding a spacious butler’s pantry, complete with its own appliances, and enhanced the eating area. The elegant granite countertops are from Mont Surfaces and fabricated by Dark Star Marble and Granite, while the cabinetry is UltraCraft by the Requarth Company. Linda Houseman of Bel Finito hand-painted the magnificent wall plates to perfectly match the Hamilton Parker backsplash tiles, as well as the bathroom backsplashes. “The reflection of the lake off those metallic tiles is spectacular,” says Diorio. “Linda also handled the distressing of the beams in the lower level rec room.”
The lower level basement includes said rec room, as well as a workout space, a fully-equipped kitchen and a bar to rival any high-end sports bar. In all of these interconnected spaces, there is more of a rustic feel, with dark rich tones, and walls and trim swathed in Sherwin-Williams Dorian Gray and Iron Ore, in contrast to the meticulous white trim on the other floors. Kuns incorporated unique lighting options, including a custom fixture from her own line, LED lighting and under-counter lighting. Diorio also points to the durability of the flooring, which was also installed on the main level. “It is a high-end luxury vinyl, so people can come right in from the lake. It’s durable and not slippery, as tile would be.”
Back upstairs, a live-edge table, built from the slice of a cherry tree, graces the conference room David uses when working from his home office. The carpenter who crafted the table also created the massive sliding barn door in the master bathroom.
A welcoming retreat
Speaking of, says David, “Most people say the master bathroom is their favorite room because of the chandelier and the windows that look out the east and south sides of the house.”
Other features in this room – which was reduced down to the studs as part of the renovation – include a freestanding tub, an oversized shower and a large island in the center. The sliding live-edge wood door adds another natural element to the space and hides the walk-in closet.
In the master bedroom, there is a custom headboard bolted to the wall, made from another tremendous tree, and yet another example where the natural edge of the wood is incorporated into the design. The room’s rafter-like ceiling contributes to the overall feel of a woodsy retreat, as does the fact that when David wakes up and looks out the picture window, the first thing he sees is the emerald water of the lake.
“There’s no way to beat this,” David concludes. “I’m not going to find a better setting. It’s home forever.”
RESOURCES Contractor Jenny Diorio, Diorio Construction, LLC.; Kitchen and bathroom designer Jill Rubey, Requarth Co.; Interior designer Sarah Kuns Designs; Lighting and furniture Currey & Co; Bernhardt; Hooker, Sarah Kuns Designs; Flooring Masland LVT, Sarah Kuns Designs; Windows Pella; Cabinetry UltraCraft, Requarth Co.; Granite countertops Mont Granite; Granite fabricator Dark Star; Kitchen backsplash Hamilton Parker; Appliances Bosch; Thermador, Ferguson; Audio/video and Control4 Integrity Audio; Faux painting Linda Houseman, Bel Finito