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Publication Date: 2014-06-16

House Tours

Family Lake Home with Vibrant Color

A Cincinnati couple discovered the easygoing community of Northport, Michigan, and began planning a new Nantucket-inspired house, where all of their immediate family—eight adults and 10 children—could be together at one time. The result: A colorful 8,000-square-foot Shingle-style house. The home has a spacious porch and bluestone patios, and water views from nearly every room. The master suite and kitchen open to covered porches, and guest bedrooms and a playroom have second-level balconies.

Photography: Werner Straube

Homeowner Betty Schaefer's friend and interior designer Elizabeth Schmidt owns a Lake Michigan vacation home just 15 minutes from the Schaefers’ place. Schmidt had decorated the Schaefers’ Cincinnati home and was in tune with Betty’s style preferences. “Betty and I both love bright colors and aren’t afraid to use them,” Schmidt says. The designer also knew the enchanting qualities of a lake home.

One of Betty’s must-haves was an open floor plan, with the kitchen, dining, and living areas open to one another. “She didn’t want anyone to be left out of the fun when the family was all together there,” Schmidt explains.

Photography: Werner Straube

The blue-and-white palette is updated with blasts of lime green on the rug designed by Jonathan Adler. White bullion fringe accents the ocean-blue sofa, while a Sister Parish floral fabric upholsters matching armchairs.

Photography: Werner Straube

The blues of the lake and Betty’s love of bright Lilly Pulitzer fabrics inspired the home's color scheme: Tiffany blue with white, pink, and yellow accents. “From the moment you walk in the front door, we wanted you to feel like you are on vacation—something light and airy that reminds you of the gorgeous water views,” Schmidt says.

The shell chandelier over the dining room table is a nod to the lake setting. Chairs are accented with pillows covered in a Lilly Pulitzer fabric for Lee Jofa.

Photography: Werner Straube

“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,” Schmidt says. Even the high-gloss tiles on the kitchen backsplash are a shimmery water blue.

Schmidt played to Betty’s love of cottage charm, with wallpapered ceilings in several rooms, flouncy skirted chair cushions in the kitchen, and whimsical blue-and-yellow lanterns over the kitchen island. “I absolutely love those lanterns,” Betty gushes.

Photography: Werner Straube

Upstairs there are three guest suites with outdoor balconies for the Schaefers’ grown-up children and their spouses; each has a different color scheme. A vacation home calls for bold color combinations such as the orange-and-pink fabric on the Mario & Marielena headboard, the designer says. The Lee Industries X-base bench is covered with a playful orange zebra stripe by Bruschwig & Fils.

“The goal was to make each suite feel special,” Schmidt says. “After making it to this beautiful spot, who wants to go to their bedroom and feel like they are back in Cincinnati?”

Tour the rest of this colorful Michigan home on

Written by Amy Elbert

Photography: Werner Straube

Produced by Sandra L. Mohlmann

Architect and landscape architect: Robert Ben Begley, 15419 Dunn Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686; 231/223-7331,

Interior designers: Elizabeth and Hope Schmidt, Elizabeth Schmidt Interior Design, 2834 Observatory Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208; 513/871-7721,

Builder: Dave Webster, David Webster Construction Inc., 812 S. Garfield Ave., Suite H, Traverse City, MI 49686; 231/941-7073,

Landscape contractor: Brian Macdonell, Traverse Outdoor, 2700 Townline Road, Traverse City, MI 49686; 231/947 4496,


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