Luxury on the Lake

This Nashotah home is a gathering place for far-flung family and friends.


Offering beautiful views of Pine Lake, luxurious amenities and space for plenty of guests, this breathtaking Nashotah home serves as a Chicago family’s restful getaway.

For one Midwestern couple, the idea of a long-term, centralized family hub led them right back to Lake Country.

Pittsburgh natives who raised their family in Chicago, the duo already knew of the area’s appeal courtesy of friends. As they considered the potential for their kids to grow up and scatter, and the idea of relocating appealed, the pair scouted spots from North Carolina to Lake Tahoe to create a relaxing retreat to which family and friends could escape. Fate led the pair back to a plot of land in Nashotah that they had visited years before. The home had since been demolished, and though the empty lot seemed daunting, the pair saw possibilities.

“We love the idea that it’s 90 minutes door-to-door from Chicago, and if [our kids] don’t live in Chicago when they’re older, it’s only a half hour from the Milwaukee airport, which is super easy and accessible,” the wife muses. “So we just felt like it was a nice home base for us if, in fact, not all of us ended up living in the Midwest. We just wanted somewhere for the kids to always come back to.”

In addition to easy access and plenty of room for loved ones, a top priority as the pair designed their home was to create a place they could call their year-round residence well down the road.

Pool image: Though it was initially a point of contention, the luxe pool, with its stone-encased infinity edge and lounge deck, has become the home’s hub.

Lake view: The homeowners requested that the lake be visible from every room, so that “anyone spending time at the house would find the home to be a place they could relax and unwind.”

“We definitely wanted the house to both look and feel like a lake house, but also wanted it to function as a full-time home so that when the day comes and our kids are grown we could live there full time if we wanted,” the woman notes.

“And, equally, something that would become a destination for generations of our family, a place everyone wanted to come back to [and] something that was special in its own right,” adds her husband.

The couple was diligent in their design plans, adamant about maintaining lake views from any room in the house and creating a retreat large enough to accommodate big groups of people but still cozy and comfortable.

In addition to the primary living areas, the main level of the home features multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, plus the main kitchen and dining room. A guest room specifically designed for the comfort of parents with small children is accessible on the main floor through the screened-in porch. The lower level of the home offers a bar and kitchenette, bedrooms and bathrooms for the kids, a decked-out rec room and in-home gym with commercial-grade water coolers, and an additional bunk room. One bathroom doubles as a locker room for day visitors and features his-and-hers toilets, a double sink, a shower area and compartments for towels and belongings.

The home’s detached garage also offers storage and an indoor/outdoor dog kennel for the family’s furry friends, as well as any visiting pets.

Though the couple sought an unfussy, lodge-like feel, they also wanted to pamper their family and guests with luxurious amenities, including a sauna, jacuzzi and gorgeous pool that boasts a waterfall-like infinity edge. For a brief time, the latter was the one addition that caused a minor disagreement.

“My perfect day at Pine Lake starts with a great cup of coffee with the water in my view,” the homeowner muses.

Two bunks rooms and additional bedrooms accommodate lots of friends
and family members, while still maintaining the home’s serene and cozy feel.

To accommodate single-day visitors, the homeowners thoughtfully added a bathroom/locker room in the lower level to house guests’ belongings and bags.
“At the beginning of the project, I wasn’t 100 percent sure that adding a pool 75 feet from the lake wouldn’t be complete overkill,” the wife laughs, noting that the pool area has since become the hub of the home. “It has turned out to be one of the best decisions we made, and I will give my husband credit. We spend the majority of our time in the pool or on the pool deck. In the two years since it’s been completed, we’ve had a lifetime of laughs with family and friends out there.

“Not only are you looking at water, but you hear the running water,” she adds of the infinity feature.  

The pair says the primary hurdle in constructing the home entailed building it into a steep, three-story hillside while still having it be safe, functional and aesthetically pleasing.

“The house had to incorporate all the internal elements we discussed [with Colby], but equally had to compensate for the elevation change and always leaving you with the feeling that the lake was steps away, rather than floors away,” the husband explains.

The couple trusted Colby Construction Co. to make the most of their steep lot, building into the land and adding a safe and steady pathway down to the lakefront.

“Pete [Feichtmeier, owner of Colby Construction Co.,] and his team are smart, organized and excellent at problem solving,” the wife enthuses. “They have relationships with local trades that are equally as good. They clearly love what they do, and it shows in their work.

“I would have an idea and be like, ‘I don’t know how to get this from my mind to reality,’” she continues. “They were just really good at listening to different ideas we had and what we could do to accommodate them.”

The couple add that the Colby team was great at keeping the project on track to ensure it wrapped up in June as planned, allowing them to make lasting memories with family and friends throughout the summer.

Though the couple plan to make their Pine Lake paradise their full-time home in the future, for now they enjoy sharing life on the lake with a wide circle of friends as often as they can.

“We really prioritized having an environment where our family and our guests could get the full benefit of lake living — somewhere we could leave behind the business of our daily lives and just relax and enjoy one another’s company,” the wife says. “… There really is something calming about spending time on the lake, even in the winter.” MKE