A Chic Retreat

By Candice Graham • Photos by Philip Slowiak


The exterior of this lakeside stunner exudes a sense of comfortable luxury. Owned by Don and Talene Howe, the couple purchased the far-from-finished home in 2013.

“The exterior and main drywall work was completed, but none of the finishes were,” Talene explains, adding that Don bought the home prior to their 2014 marriage. “He kind of gave it a bachelor-type look.”

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Reimagining certain aspects to make the home’s aesthetic more feminine and family-friendly, the Howes started with the exterior. Originally a liberal use of cedar shakes made up the façade, but it’s now blanketed in sandy-taupe synthetic stone. Two front entrances – one to the foyer and one to the dining room – rest under the front porch’s pine tongue and groove ceiling. Glowing lantern sconces make the entrances warm and welcoming.

Inside, thick, elaborate trim is what Talene counts as one of her favorite parts of the home’s interior. “I love the heavy trim so I tried to use just one color throughout to give a more muted, natural look,” she says.

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The foyer is set off by columns and a tray ceiling, which lend high impact. To the left, a dining room reflects light from the double doors and features organic tones. Two framed maps inject pops of color and reflect the family’s travels. In the center, a circular mirror adds a touch of glitz, while an unpolished wooden dining table keeps the look natural.

“We both like the rough-hewn but elegant look. The soft fabric chairs give the dining room a more cozy feel, but other elements make it not quite so rustic,” explains Talene. An understated chandelier hangs from the deep tray ceiling, punctuating the winsome space.

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In the living room, the lake setting reverberates in the design thanks to the use of nature-inspired hues and ample unobstructed windows. “Drapes got in the way of the view and of the woodwork and trim, which are amazing,” Talene says. Four club chairs offer cozy places to relax, as does a cream-colored couch which keeps the color scheme understated. “I like things that put your mind at ease and make you feel relaxed. I didn’t want an intense feel in this room,” explains Talene. Built-in cabinetry flanking the fireplace and TV matches the adjacent kitchen island cabinetry, adding cohesiveness to the open floorplan.

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The kitchen is long and expansive, featuring a curved island and plenty of perimeter cabinetry storage. Stained a light maple with a dark glaze, the perimeter cabinetry exudes a rich, warm tone, as does the multi-toned wooden flooring. Granite countertops provide a solid workspace and a tile backsplash adds a subtle pattern, but the real striking design element is the row of windows with views of the water.

“I like that I can be working in the kitchen and I’ve got this amazing view out my back door, whether it’s hot air balloons that pass by in front of me, or fishermen, or birds. It’s nice when you’re doing kitchen work to have such an amazing view,” Talene muses.

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Another coveted aspect of the kitchen is its proximity to the back porch. When grilling and entertaining, doors out to the porch can be opened to let in a breeze from the water and allow for an easy stroll from inside and out. In addition to porch seating, an area attached to the kitchen houses a table to accommodate the family of seven. With a stone fireplace hearth that extends to the peaked wooden ceiling, the space exudes a lodge-type feel.

“We spend time around the table playing games as a family,” says Talene. “The fireplace puts off good heat so you can curl up and read a book nearby. It’s a really cozy, comfy place.”

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Upstairs, the master bedroom is set off by an intricate tray ceiling in the shape of an octagon. Citrus-tinted walls provide a fresh contrast to the warm wooden floors. An oversized bed is draped with blue-gray linens, evoking a sense of watery relaxation. Nearby, a nook is complete with two chaise lounges that look out to the backyard and lake. Flanked by reading lamps, the chairs are an ideal spot for the couple to unwind after a long day. Access to the balcony from the master bedroom provides a private outdoor hideaway.

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Shined tile floors in the bathroom give the area an elegant but inviting feel. A frosted-glass walk-in shower and large Jacuzzi tub add a luxurious element. His and her countertop space, complete with a vanity area for makeup application, make the bathroom perfect for a couple.

Rounding out the home and making it a full-fledged recreation destination is the backyard. Complete with multiple umbrella-shaded lounge spots, a pizza oven, a fire pit, and a double boat slip, the lush area can accommodate a crowd and is a favorite spot of the couple’s children and friends. Fruit trees and blueberry bushes intermix with lovely landscaping for a place that is as visually appealing as it is fun. From inside out, this home is a chic retreat where the Howe family continues to make treasured family memories.

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