There’s a dreamy quality to homes by the water – and particularly those by a lake. In an era of constant noise and notifications, the stillness of the water and the proximity to nature are alluring qualities. And yet, with the help of technology, we’ve also grown to anticipate our needs being met, so much so that the absence of such creature comforts can become its own distraction.
This dichotomy is basically what this lakeside summer house needed to address: a bit more functionality to ensure a comfortable stay without losing the holiday-inspired quality of the home. Located in Milan, the 1,200sqft abode was redesigned by St Petersburg-based studio Cartelle Design. Owned by a young, married couple with very distinct preferences, the house’s redesign required multiple considerations and compromises – among them, the need to add a sense of country-house warmth to an otherwise cold and minimalist space.
The result is a home “built on contrasts,” as the Cartelle Design team describes it. The first floor features two levels, with the living room slightly higher in elevation from the kitchen and dining areas. Large-format porcelain stoneware flooring demarcates the latter areas, while wood features primarily throughout the rest of the interiors. The wooden touches lend a sense of warmth to the living room and recreation area, in particular. A denim-hued sofa from BoConcept adds a subtle pop of colour to the mostly neutral-coloured space. Next to it, a modern fireplace comes with a compartment for wood storage; around it, shelf after shelf of books add to the quiet, cosy ambience.
Decorative elements and textures – the ropes in the living room, the woven poof from Zara Home, the dried flowers, the grey cushions – also soften the presence of several technological features. These include an overhead projector, suspended from the ceiling just above the couch. A massive window opposite brings in views of the outdoors; otherwise, a screen can be rolled down for all those Netflix picks to be projected on. In the kitchen, the island contains a wine cooler, while above the bar, a sleek wooden wine shelf has been installed – both features reflecting the homeowners’ passion for the great grape.
To further delineate the intimate and relaxed mood of the home, Cartelle opted for some distinctive lighting indeed. Sconces and lamps, rather than top lighting, create a moody ambience in the evenings. Another lighting feature that lends character to the rest of the home is an old wall lamp in the dining room – installed in the 1960s by the previous owners and still in its original place.
The simple, refined use of neutral colours and textures extends through to the rest of the space. The bathrooms, for example, feature sleek grey-blue walls, paired with terrazzo-inspired shower tiles and grey concrete flooring. Both bedrooms boast the same palette as well: shades of grey, white, slate blue, wooden accents and touches of terracotta. The children’s bedroom, too, is consistent with the rest of the house’s theme while remaining childlike. Fish drawings feature prominently on the white and slate-blue walls, one of them just above the wooden twin-deck bed. The grey cushions parallel those in the living area. The rug and footstool, meanwhile, also carry beige and red, perhaps the only other colours in the house.
It’s an altogether warm and cosy dwelling – neutral in palette, subtle in its richness of textures and tasteful in its furniture choices. In the dining room, a mix of Lena mid-century dining chairs and Classic Café upholstered chairs surround a Bonaldo Flag table. A Hay coffee table sits in the living room, as does a swivel armchair from BoConcept.
For a summer house by the lake, this one comes with just the right ambience and tech-driven amenities to ensure a comfortable getaway. It’s modern and functional, yet also warm and full of character – just the right touches of seasonality for a summer lakeside home.
Photography: Cartelle Design
Production: Nikey Cheng