George Schaefer tells fantastic stories. His wife, Betty, liked one enough to help make it real. "When our kids were young and misbehaving, he'd say, ‘All right, fine. But you're not going to go to Raminentz if you act like that,' " Betty says. "And when they wanted to know what Raminentz was, he'd tell them tales of a happy place-the best place ever."The creative parenting worked. Today (40 years later), the Schaefers' three adult children, their spouses and 10 grandkids make an annual summer trek from Cincinnati to Raminentz, the name they gave the cottage George and Betty built on Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay.To bolster a relaxed ambience, interior designer Elizabeth Schmidt left windows unadorned and added cottage touches like wallpapered ceilings in the kitchen and baths, wainscoting, and ruffled seat cushions.
George and Betty found shoreline property with a broad, sandy beach leading to calm, wading-depth water perfect for kids. The dining table's driftwood-like finish and a shell chandelier reference the nearby shore.
Water views and vivid Lilly Pulitzer fabrics sparked the bright and cheerful color palette. "We used many different shades of blue throughout the house, so as you look through a room to the outdoors, it is a nearly seamless transition," Elizabeth says. Zippy lime green enlivens the living room's soothing blues.
Durable fabrics and furnishings support stress-free living, as does no-fuss flooring. Each of the three guest rooms evokes a vacation mood: "After making it to this beautiful spot, who wants to go back to their bedroom and feel like they're back in Cincinnati?" Elizabeth says.
Beach gear stays organized with labeled baskets; monogrammed beach towels sport the word Raminentz."George and I enjoy staying at the house all summer, but when the kids come for that special week to 10 days, it's a wonderful sense of togetherness," Betty says. "It really is our special Raminentz."