The Ellemans are a sweet family with three teenagers. Aaron and Allyn recently bought this lake house right off of Beaver Lake as a destination spot where they can reconnect and recharge as a family. They picture it being the future gathering place for years to come when their kids leave home and visit from college, or even further into the future when their kids come with their own children and they can all spend time together as multiple generations.
The home is especially meaningful to Allyn because when they first looked at the house, two Pileated woodpeckers flew above her and Aaron outside the house. This specific breed of woodpeckers were the favorite animal of Allyn’s mother who passed away a few years ago, and this particular type of woodpecker happens to be uncommon in this area. They took it as a sign that this house was meant to be.
The home is an ideal location surrounded by woods and water, but the 1990s design needed an update that would embrace its natural surroundings and make it feel cozier inside and out.
When we first pulled up to the Elleman’s house, our first impression was that it didn’t really look like a lake house. So, we knew right away that one of the most important things we wanted to do was to help this house honor the beauty of its surroundings. We began by removing the vinyl siding from the walls and replacing them with log siding to give it more of a cabin feel. We also wrapped the front posts with cedar. With those natural wood elements and a coat of green paint, the house now blends in with the woods and gives off that cozy cabin feel Aaron and Allyn wanted.
Exterior Lights | Kichler
Flag | Allegiance Flag Supply
Landscaping | Ground Effects Landscaping
Exterior Paint Color | Sherwin Williams Shade Grown
Exterior Trim & Garage Door Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Dropcloth
I just love how this area was completely transformed. The interior of the house used to be oddly-shaped – beginning with a front door that opened up to a potential fall down a staircase. We switched the direction the front door opens so that now, when you open it, it swings in to block the staircase. Crisis averted. We also softened the “drop zone” with the warmth of wood on the wall and replaced the dated railing. Dave created a one-of-a-kind driftwood handrail to honor Aaron’s love of this specific type of wood.
The whole reason the Elleman’s bought the house was so that they could have family and friends gather here, but the closed-off kitchen and the long and narrow dining room didn’t promote that. Plus, the gorgeous view of the woods and lake below were underutilized. There was so much potential here, even more than we had first realized. The unused attic space above the living room was the perfect opportunity to raise the ceiling into a vaulted A-frame with cedar planks and a large beam reaching across. We also reconfigured the walls to remove the awkward dining room, open up the kitchen and add a main bedroom/bathroom (more on that below). Now, you can see the lake from the living room and the bedroom.
Aaron and Allyn said they love building a fire. Aaron also mentioned his love of driftwood. Perfect! Dave and I set out on the lake one day and gathered a bunch of driftwood. We used the biggest piece as the new mantle for an updated lodge-like fireplace. We covered up the brick with a layer of stone veneer. The updated fireplace is now the very essence of lakeside cabin, and now along with vaulted cedar ceiling, and driftwood mantle, the living room is now inviting and warm.
Even though we removed the dining room, we didn’t take away their dining area. Now the large open space is broken up into living and dining spaces by a large round table where everyone can sit together.
Fireplace Stone | Diamond Petra Stone
Living Room Fan | Kichler
Furniture | Howse
Rug | Turkish Trunk
Wall Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove
The Ellemans also mentioned they like to cook together as a family. They actually had a pretty good-sized kitchen to start with. Along with updating the kitchen, we wanted to give it some personality. First, we opened up the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room. Then, we gave them new cabinets that extend all the way up to the ceiling for additional storage space. We chose a beautiful dark green color to mimic the trees in the woods and the outdoors in.
You may know that my family loves making pizzas together. That time is truly special to us and it’s hard to beat the taste of a fresh homemade pizza. That’s why I’m so excited about the wood-burning pizza oven we installed in their kitchen. I can picture their teenagers coming over with friends and trying out their own creations. Notice the stone arch on the pizza oven coordinates with the stone from the fireplace.
Custom Cabinets | Premier Wood Concepts
Rug | Turkish Trunk
Stone for Pizza Oven | Diamond Petra Stone
Natural Stone Countertop | Polycor
Appliances | METRO
Wall Sconces | Amazon
Cabinet Pulls | Amazon
Cabinet Knobs | Amazon
Kitchen Cabinet Paint Color | Sherwin William Rosemary
Furniture & Rug | Howse
Wall Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove
The best view in the house was through a window in the laundry room. That just didn’t seem right. So, when we reconfigured the main floor, we took that space – plus the old dining room – and made it into a bedroom with a bathroom. Originally, the main bedroom was in the basement with no view. For this room, I was able to find a wallpaper print of a soft, serene wooded scene. I enlisted a local artist to hand paint two small woodpeckers onto the trees in soft, muted tones. This was a beautiful way to honor the memory of Allyn’s mother, and I’m so happy she liked it.
Dave used some more of the driftwood to create the nightstands. When a tree falls, and it’s dead, but you’re able to turn it into something beautiful – there’s something extraordinary about that redemptive quality.
We finished off the bedroom with a light pewter trim that softens the room and makes it feel dreamy and serene.
And, now, the main bathroom has the best view in the house. Since this was the part of the house (previously the laundry room) that already had the beautiful view of the lake below, we made sure to keep this window. We added calming water-like tile and kept the cabinetry a natural wood finish.
Bedroom Light Fixture | HK Living
Runner Rug | Turkish Trunk
Mural Wallpaper | The Mural Source
Woodpecker Artwork on Wallpaper | Michelle Davies
Bed & Rug | Howse
Driftwood Nightstands | Dave Marrs
Shower Head | Gerber
Hand Shower | Gerber
Bathroom Sconces | Home Depot
Bedroom & Bathroom Trim Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Jitney
Bathroom Wall Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove
This is the area that makes Aaron’s eyes light up! Here, we removed the old railing, which wasn’t up to code, and replaced it with more driftwood on the handrail part and tempered glass below that. Now, when you sit on the patio your view isn’t obstructed and the Ellemans can truly take in the beauty of the outdoors – which was the whole point of the purchase of this house. Out here, on the back porch, is where you really feel like you’re in a treehouse. Down below, we added a fun firepit and a hammock station. I can just see the next several years of S’mores and fun family time out here.
Overall, this cabin-in-the-woods began as a house without any personality or character. We made some big changes in order to create a warm and cozy cabin where the Elleman family can gather together (for pizza nights after long days on the lake) for years to come! I really love this home and this family so much. Thanks for taking a tour with me through the Elleman cabin!