Empty-nesters Patti and Craig Mutch had a not-so-secret motive for building their summer dream home on Lake Michigan's coastline: to lure their three adult children from Chicago home to Michigan for vacations. "You wonder, if you build it, will they come?" Patti says. "This past summer, they came and brought all of their friends!"
The three-bedroom home maximizes guest potential by creatively carving out space for 14 overnighters in trundle beds, sleeper sofas, daybeds and even a reading nook in the master bedroom that doubles as a cozy sleeping spot. The home also uses durable materials and water-inspired colors for easy care and guest appeal.
Click ahead to explore this home's lake look. A buying guide is on slide 16.
Patti Mutch wanted the home to have a happy, young cottage vibe. Colorful nature-inspired accents and sky blue ceilings throughout give a sense of the outdoors continuing into the space.
"The exterior color is so happy, and it sets the tone for where we went with the palette inside," says interior designer Kathryn Chaplow, who filled the two-and-a-half-story, window-wrapped home with sky blue ceilings, leaf green dining room chairs, sand-color sofas and striped rugs that inspired the home's playful accent colors. "We didn't want to match the house to the lake, but we wanted to create a natural palette that fits the setting."
A white oak table seats 10. The unexpectedly contemporary green leather chairs add a bright spot of color and are easy to wipe clean.
Throughout the home, materials were chosen for easy care. Durable wood floors can handle abuse from sandy feet. The new rustic wood dining table looks better the more nicks it wears. Furniture slipcovers can be popped into the wash as needed. Even the water-inspired pale turquoise exterior siding and white trim are made of fiber-cement board that rarely needs painting.
An interior wall cutout, outfitted with white shutters, not only adds extra light in the entry but also gives guests a glimpse through the kitchen to the waters of Lake Michigan. A green lamp and watercolor painting bring the home's signature colors into this space.
Artwork above the mantel echoes the outside views; decorative accents also reflect the natural colors, materials and shapes used throughout the house.
A backsplash of robin's-egg blue glass tile sparkles in the sunlight streaming through undercabinet and clerestory windows in the kitchen.
The rosy tint of the sunroom repeats in small accents throughout the main level. Patti painted the back of the dining room hutch herself.
Unexpected brown trim catches the eye in the family room, where daughter Katie relaxes on a sofa that turns into a queen-size sleeper.
A renewed-with-paint turquoise bed and green walls in the guest room show how simple color choices transform a space.
A sleek black iron bed keeps the master bedroom fresh and edgy. If everything were pastels, the look would be too sweet.
Nooks in the master bedroom provide space for a cozy window seat, desk and built-in storage.
Chocolate brown built-ins give the office a handsome look and a place to store extra pillows, sheets and blankets.
Daughters Katie and Kimberly head to the beach via a walkway over sand dunes.
Walkways and railings were built with manufactured products that don't require painting or staining--low-upkeep choices that mean the homeowners can spend more time enjoying their house.
Most items in the home were found online or at local locations of mass retailers. Both Patti and Kathryn love to search for wallet-friendly treasures at discount chains, outlets and the sale sections of favorite shops. "You can find great style at an affordable price point without sacrificing quality," Kathryn says.
EXTERIOR: Decking Weather Best composite. Fiberon (fiberondecking.com). Lighting Kitchler (866/558-5706; kitchlerlighting.com). Railing Panorama composite. CertainTeed (800/782-8777; certainteed.com). Siding Fiber-cement board-and-batten. Paint color: Teal Suede. Graham (800/255-2628; grahampaint.com).
Windows Pella (800/288-7281; pella.com).
ENTRY: Art Renee Hartig. LaFontsee Galleries (616/451-9820; lafontsee.us). Ceiling light Santa Barbara. Forecast Lighting (847/622-0416; forecastltg.com). Rug Cayden. Crate and Barrel (800/967-6696; crateandbarrel.com). Table lamp Boka, color: Lime. Crate and Barrel (see Entry, Rug). Wall color Sienna Sand. Graham (see Exterior, Siding).
LIVING ROOM: Art Judith Tummino. LaFontsee Galleries (see Entry, Art). Fireplace Chilton Country Squire Ledgestone. Buechel Stone (920/922-4790; buechelstone.com). Rug Cayden. Crate and Barrel (see Entry, Rug). Roller shades Lafayette (800/342-5523; lafvib.com). Sofa, chairs Lee Industries (800/892-7150; leeindustries.com). Wall color Sienna Sand. Graham (see Exterior, Siding).
DINING ROOM: Chairs Folio. Crate and Barrel (see Entry, Rug). Chandelier Visual Comfort (713/686-5999; visualcomfort.com). Dining Table Big Sur. Crate and Barrel (see Entry, Rug). Wall color Sienna Sand. Graham (see Exterior, Siding).
KITCHEN: Cabinetry Custom. Tru Kitchens (616/957-1969; trukitchens.com). Pinnacle Cabinetry (615/256-6858; pinnaclecabinetry.com). Cooktop Wolf (800/222-7820; wolfappliance.com). Counter stools Room and Board (800/301-9720; roomandboard.com). Faucet Elkay (630/574-8484; elkay.com). Hood Elitair (nextag.com/elitair-range-hoods/stores-html). Microwave KitchenAid (800/422-1230; kitchenaid.com). Sink Elkay (see Kitchen, Faucet). Tile Raffi XP. Genessee Tile (800/572-5394; gctile.com).
SUN PORCH: Chairs Lexington (336/474-5300; lexington.com). Fabric: Sunbrella (336/221-2211; sunbrella.com) for Duralee (800/275-3872; duralee.com). Flooring Quartzite Slate. Genessee Tile (see Kitchen, Tile). Wall color Rio Red. Graham (see Exterior, Siding).
FAMILY ROOM: Art Lisa Kowalski. LaFontsee Galleries (see Entry, Art). Coffee table Lee Industries (see Living Room, Sofa). Side table CB2 (800/606-6252; cb2.com). Sectional Vanguard (828/328-5601; vanguardfurniture.com). Wall color Sweet Olive. Graham (see Exterior, Siding).
GUEST BEDROOM: Wall color Stem Green. Benjamin Moore (benjaminmoore.com).
MASTER BEDROOM: Art Over bed: Christina Hahn. Behind desk: Linda LaFontsee. LaFontsee Galleries (see Entry, Art). Bed Architecture. Room and Board (see Kitchen, Counter stools). Lamp Arteriors Home (arteriorshome.com). Wall color Cistern Blue. Graham (see Exterior, Siding).
(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® May/June 2011.)