An Idyllic Idaho Home on Lake Pend Oreille
Photos by Gibeon Photography
The region’s beloved Lake Pend Oreille is certainly the stuff of dreams: vast and deep and ringed by thickly forested mountain ranges. It’s also a popular summer playground, ideal for sailing, fishing and all sorts of splashy fun, with the added attraction of shoreline trails, restaurants and parks. So when Canadian interior designer Deanna Thiessen approached the task of designing a home perched just above its banks, she knew it would have to be all about the water. “Many people would think of this as a mountain home,” she says. “But we thought of it as a lake home. Having the mountains there was just a huge bonus.”
The Canadian homeowners—busy parents of two teenagers—wanted to create a casual, livable retreat where their family could entertain, relax, and decompress in the summer months, Thiessen explains. With their lake-centric lifestyle in mind, the design team imagined a home with view-capturing windows, oversized sliding-glass doors and extensive backyard patios that minimize the barriers between home and shore.
“Every element of the design had to highlight the outdoor living space and the water,” explains Scott Schriber, of Sandpoint-based Selle Valley Construction. “For example, there are windows directly above the sinks in the upstairs guest bathrooms instead of mirrors.” And on the home’s main level, heated concrete floors blend with the adjacent terrace’s Pennsylvania Bluestone pavers and the blue of the lake beyond, creating an effect Thiessen jokingly calls an “infinity patio.”
The owners’ style edged toward contemporary, but with a twist: They had admired examples of Thiessen’s work that married industrial materials like concrete and steel with softer design elements. “I also knew that they loved the simplicity and clean lines of Asian design,” she says.
Avoiding tired nautical clichés, Thiessen filled the home with custom design details that subtly reference the lake, and repurposed new and vintage aquatic artifacts in surprising ways: She transformed antique scallop dredge chains into a striking decorative screen for one of the powder rooms, and moored a guest bed to the ceiling with four long ropes. The kitchen’s unusual rolling glass-and-steel cabinets hang from old logging boom chains, and custom ropes suspend pendant lights over the kitchen island. The waterfront setting dictated the home’s soothing color palette too. “I drew inspiration from natural ‘lake’ elements like sand, water, driftwood and rock,” Thiessen says. “Combined with gentle whites, it translates into a fresh and airy summer palette.”
— Deanna Thiessen
The outdoor bar/kitchen pavilion provides an al fresco extension of the home’s living space and is equipped for entertaining with a television, speakers, two refrigerators, a Wolf barbeque and seating for eight at a custom teak table. Inviting lounging areas with casual seating offer space for guests to relax while keeping an eye on the dock and the water trampoline. “The family is out on the water all day long,” Thiessen says. “The patio is their pit stop.” Exterior lights highlight architectural features and provide a welcoming glow for returning boaters who gather around the warmth of an extra-large fire pit in the cool of the evening.
“It’s a fresh take on a mountain home,” Thiessen says of the home’s cozy yet breezy vibe. “We wanted to have that sense of comfort, but in a newer, fresher way.”
8-by-8-foot sliding-glass Kolbe doors with 24-inch transoms, set slightly above floor level to serve as huge windows, flood the living room with light and allow fresh breezes to drift inside. Giant vintage Irene McGowan candelabra from Seattle join a Montauk sofa and a pair of Ansel chairs from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams beside the sleek fireplace designed by Deanna Thiessen. “Glass, golds and antiqued-brass accents add delicate sparkle and a touch of femininity,” the designer says.
Innovative rolling steel-and-glass kitchen cabinets are suspended by old logging boom chains above a two-part island clad with E & S reclaimed wood tiles in a herringbone pattern. Rope wraps the cords of pendant globe lights from Rejuvenation for a nautical touch. Thiessen designed “armoires” for the refrigerator, oven and coffee station, marked by horizontal alder slats. The quartz countertops resemble concrete, and a local craftsman created the copper sinks.
Massive industrial steel beams and a custom light fixture from Kirk Albert Vintage Furnishings provide a sense of weight and balance in the entry hall, which leads down to a glittering wine room.
A chalkboard-painted panel and vintage parabolic mirrors scavenged from a ship adorn the walls of an informal seating nook beside the kitchen.
An elegant 10-foot-long dining table, crafted from perforated copper rescued from an old distillery, is flanked by artfully mismatched chairs and lit by an antique European crystal chandelier.
For this powder room, Kirk Albert Vintage Furnishings repurposed old scallop dredge chains into a decorative panel to hang beside a vintage laundry basin sink.
The home’s oversize windows afford lake views by day and cast a warm and inviting glow by night. Flowers and lush grass add softness and color to the lounge and conversation areas that cascade all the way to the shore, providing a cozy perch for every guest to watch the action on the water.
In a guest bedroom, a reclaimed-wood-clad platform bed appears to hang from thick ropes anchored to the ceiling, and antique paddles became water-themed wall art.
A patchwork pattern of weathered wood embellishes one striking accent wall in a bathroom with a custom tulip-shaped quartz sink and a freestanding tub by Americh.
Situated on the ground floor, the master bedroom has two sets of patio doors and a mirrored wall behind the bed to reflect the dazzling view. A matched pair of antique European crystal chandeliers adds a touch of glitz, while custom, automated Kravet blackout drapes offer an elegant solution to bright mornings.