Subscribe Now

Kelly McGuill’s clients had never worked with a designer before. However, with two preschoolers and a baby on the way, they knew it made sense. “Kelly was so warm and didn’t bat an eye at our timeline,” the wife says describing her first meeting with the designer. The couple, who closed on their lake home at the start of last year, wanted to be in by July 1. The four-bedroom house was stale and dark, needing quite a bit of freshening. Given the six-month timeframe, it was critical that McGuill implement fixes that would offer maximum impact with minimum lead times.

McGuill’s approach was to paint the entire house white, inside and out, to capitalize on the plentiful, natural light and views of the lake. Then she added warm accents of reclaimed wood, leather, and soft blues, plus black lighting for high contrast.

The effect is particularly striking in the living room where a two-story wall of glass opens onto a new deck overlooking the lake. Simple seating in family-friendly performance fabrics surround a distressed, white oak coffee table by New England Artisan Restoration, and artwork by Susan Hable and William McLure add touches of indigo blue. To soften the two-sided, local granite fireplace, McGuill replaced the concrete mantels with reclaimed wooden ones. “The fireplace complements our choices now without overtaking the spaces,” she says. 

The fireplace provides just enough separation between the living room and the kitchen/dining area to suit the couple, who host large gatherings with nearby family. “The grownups can be on the deck or at the kitchen island when the kids are in the living room,” the wife says. And, the fireplace gets lots of use. “We do s’mores on both sides,” she adds. 

The kitchen presented the biggest challenge. “There were these structural hexagonal beams that I had trouble imagining how to remedy,” the wife recalls. While other designers she had interviewed proposed removing them, McGuill understood that they couldn’t afford the delay. Her solution? To dress them with reclaimed wood that would tie to other newly incorporated elements, such as sliding barn doors and the mantelpieces.

Other time-savvy enhancements included refacing the cherry cabinetry, replacing the dark, speckled countertops, and removing soffits and uppers above the sink. In their place, McGuill added grab-and-go, cantilevered shelves against a backdrop of glossy tiles that gorgeously reflect the light. “The reclaimed wood enhances the pretty, all-white vignette, but the real hero is the lake,” McGuill says, referring to the view out the opposite wall of floor-to-ceiling sliders. 

On the lower level, McGuill continued the white, black, and wood palette. New wood-look vinyl flooring withstands foot traffic from the lake and new, locker-like built-ins store the seasonal gear that comes with a young family. McGuill designed a reclaimed wood barn door to divide the guest suite from the main hangout and storage space which she spruced up with shiplap.

There’s another guest bedroom on the top floor, along with the primary bedroom suite and a bunkroom. The couple’s bedroom is an airy haven with a cathedral ceiling and sliders out to a balcony with a view of the lake. McGuill refashioned their cavernous bath into a warm, spa-like retreat with unlacquered brass accents while the shared bath now boasts a black-and-white patterned-tile floor and a 1950s style utility sink.

The bunk room was a must-have and a highlight for the kids. “We really wanted to be able to pile in the cousins,” the wife says. She also loves how the kids can control their reading lights and navigate the under-bed drawers. “The first thing my four-year-old wants to show people when they visit are her ‘bonk’ beds; she’s obsessed,” the wife says. “We are all counting the minutes until we return.”

Interior Design + General Contracting: Kelly McGuill Home,
Deck Construction + Window and Door Installation: Prestige Property Partners of N.E
Electric: Gove Electric 
Floors: Bay State Floor Company,
Cabinetry: Creative Cabinet,
Window Treatments: Makkas Drapery Workroom,