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Family Lake Home with Vibrant Color

A magical lake house makes dreams come true for an Ohio family

Written by Amy Elbert
  • Werner Straube

    When Betty and George Schaefer’s children were young, George would spin tales of Raminentz, a magical place where kids could go if they were good. “What is Raminentz?” the children clamored to know. “It’s the most wonderful place you could ever imagine,” he would reply.

    Now 40 years later, the three Schaefer children—adults with families of their own—have found Raminentz at Betty and George’s vacation home on Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. From the moment the Schaefer kids and grandkids saw the lakeside property, they dubbed it Raminentz.

    The Schaefers and interior designer Elizabeth Schmidt teamed up with Michigan-based architect Robert Ben Begley and builder David Webster to develop plans for the 8,000-square-foot Shingle-style house.The home has a spacious porch and bluestone patios, and water views from nearly every room.The master suite and kitchen open to covered porches. Guest bedrooms and a playroom have second-level balconies.

    Photography: Werner Straube
    Produced by Sandra L. Mohlmann

    Architect and landscape architect: Robert Ben Begley, 15419 Dunn Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686; 231/223-7331,
    Interior designers: Elizabeth and Hope Schmidt, Elizabeth Schmidt Interior Design, 2834 Observatory Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208; 513/871-7721,
    Builder: Dave Webster, David Webster Construction Inc., 812 S. Garfield Ave., Suite H, Traverse City, MI 49686; 231/941-7073,
    Landscape contractor: Brian Macdonell, Traverse Outdoor, 2700 Townline Road, Traverse City, MI 49686; 231/947-4496,


    Stonework: Peter Connor/Zack Bottenhorn, Connor Land and Stone,
    Landscape contractor: Brian Macdonell, Traverse Outdoor,
    Wicker chairs on porch (“Bar Harbor Lounge Chair” #7567): Palecek,
    Cushion fabric (“Springtime” #42236-137): Duralee,

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    Living Room

    The Cincinnati couple discovered the easygoing community of Northport, Michigan, in 2005, when they visited friends’ vacation home there. Within the year, the Schaefers bought two acres with a small house on the water. Protected by the bay from high waves, the property is one of the few in the area with a sandy beach, a sandy lake bottom, and a good stretch of shallow, wading-depth water. As a bonus, it’s next to the home of their friends, who offered to split the use of their dock, boats, and other water gear with the Schaefers.

    “We said, ‘Perfect! We’ll take it!’ ” Betty recalls. For four summers, the Schaefers vacationed there, but the modern log cabin-style house was too small to accommodate more than one of their children’s families at a time.  The style of the house wasn’t exactly to Betty’s liking either, and she and George began planning a new Nantucket-inspired house, where all of their immediate family—eight adults and 10 children—could be together at one time.

    The blue-and-white palette is updated with blasts of lime green on the rug designed by Jonathan Adler. White bullion fringe accents the ocean-blue sofa, while a Sister Parish floral fabric upholsters matching armchairs. 

    Paint (“Delicate White” #518-1, high gloss): PPG Pittsburgh Paints,
    Sofa (#177-84-S); upholstered lounge chairs (#115-36-C): Isenhour,
    Sofa fabric (“Artigny”/Lavande #R7000032, by Boussac): Pierre Frey,
    Lounge-chair fabric (“Apple”/Blue): Sister Parish Design,
    Fringe trim (8.25-inch cotton knit bullion in white #22014-A01, discontinued): United Supply Co.,
    Wood-armed chairs (“Spool Chair”#5918-53, by Mark Hampton): Hickory Chair,
    Chair-seat fabric (“Lila”/Teal #2784): Pindler & Pindler,
    Pillow and arm cushion (“Well Connected”/Tini Green #2011101.31, by Lilly Pulitzer): Lee Jofa,
    Cording on back pillow and arm cushion (“Allia” #F1795, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Coffee table: custom.
    Area rug (“Richard Nixon Peruvian Llama Flat Weave Rug”): Jonathan Adler,
    Painting to right of fireplace (by Maggie Revel Mielczarek): Leland Gal,
    Built-in cabinetry (custom): Rich Vieracker, David Webster Construction Shop,
    Tilework: Dale Censer, Tile Craft Inc.,
    Tile (“Tranquil”/Sky #FT10644x4, by Vitra Art): Florida Tile,
    Fireplace screen: owner’s collection.
    Round ottoman (“Savona Ottoman”): Mario & Marielena,
    Ottoman fabric (“Heritage Floral”/Blue, Yellow #2011106.540 by Lilly Pulitzer): Lee Jofa,
    Blue-and-white pottery in cabinets: The Mane Lion,
    Blue table to right of fireplace (“Newport Console” #THNP9913): Oomph,

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    Open Floor Plan

    In another stroke of luck (maybe Raminentz really is magical), Betty’s friend and interior designer Elizabeth Schmidt owns a Lake Michigan vacation home just 15 minutes from the Schaefers’ place. Schmidt had decorated the Schaefers’ Cincinnati home and was in tune with Betty’s style preferences. “Betty and I both love bright colors and aren’t afraid to use them,” Schmidt says. The designer also knew the enchanting qualities of a lake home.

    One of Betty’s must-haves was an open floor plan, with the kitchen, dining, and living areas open to one another. “She didn’t want anyone to be left out of the fun when the family was all together there,” Schmidt explains. 

    Pillows on sofa (“Apple”/Blue): Sister Parish Design,
    Blue wall sconce by stairs (custom): JM Piers,

    Corner of dining room—Blue-and-white striped chest (“Hadleigh 3-Drawer Chest”): Ambiente by Martin Wood,
    Lamp on chest: antique.
    Mirror (“Sienna”): Made Goods,

  • Werner Straube

    Dining Room

    The blues of the lake and Betty’s love of bright Lilly Pulitzer fabrics inspired the color scheme: Tiffany blue with white, pink, and yellow accents. “From the moment you walk in the front door, we wanted you to feel like you are on vacation—something light and airy that reminds you of the gorgeous water views,” Schmidt says.

    The shell chandelier over the dining room table is a nod to the lake setting. Chairs are accented with pillows covered in a Lilly Pulitzer fabric for Lee Jofa. 

    Paint (“Delicate White” #518-1, high gloss): PPG Pittsburgh Paints,
    Table (custom, reclaimed lumber two-pedestal dining table with whitewash finish): Custom Furniture & Cabinets,
    Chairs (#5205-01C): Lee Industries,
    Chair fabric (“Allia”/Ocean #F1795-22, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Pillow fabric (“Well Connected”/Tini Green #2011101.31, by Lilly Pulitzer): Lee Jofa,
    Candelabra (“Four Arm Candelabra Classique”/Turquoise): Dunes & Duchess,
    Chandelier (“Silvana”): Made Goods,
    Glass balls on table: Pier 1 Imports,

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    “We used many different shades of blue throughout the house, so as you look through a room to the outdoors, it is a nearly seamless transition,” Schmidt says. Even the high-gloss tiles on the kitchen backsplash are a shimmery water blue.

    Schmidt played to Betty’s love of cottage charm, with wallpapered ceilings in several rooms, flouncy skirted chair cushions in the kitchen, and whimsical blue-and-yellow lanterns over the kitchen island. “I absolutely love those lanterns,” Betty gushes. 

    Paint (“Delicate White” #518-1, high gloss): PPG Pittsburgh Paints,
    Cabinets (custom design): Elizabeth Schmidt Interior Design,
    Fieldstone cabinetry: Kitchen Choreography,
    Countertop: Super White granite.
    Cabinetry hardware (“Normandy Cabinet Pulls”/Polished Chrome #M839-12): Top Knobs,
    Backsplash tile (“Moroccan 1”/Poolside, Waterworks Architectonics Tile, Special Order): Waterworks,
    Ceiling wallpaper (“Fiorentina”/Zibby Blue on Almost White #2490-43WP): Quadrille,
    Hanging lanterns (“Large Cabana Chandelier,” custom): JM Piers,
    Lantern paint, exterior (“Memphis Yellow” #SW-1686, discontinued but can be mixed at store); interior (“Boreal” #SW-1778, discontinued, but can be mixed at store): Sherwin-Williams,
    >Pink wallpaper in back hall (Shadowplay Collection): Seabrook,
    Counter stools (“Breakers Bar Stool,” by Lilly Pulitzer): discontinued.
    Seat cushions (“Heritage Floral”/Blue, Yellow #2011106.540, by Lilly Pulitzer): Lee Jofa,  

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    Kitchen Detail

    Barstools with clover-shape backs and seat cushions covered in an upbeat Lilly Pulitzer floral keep the mood light. 

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    Bar Area

    Cabinets painted Benjamin Moore’s “Swiss Blue” are accented with white trim. Iridescent backsplash tiles from Market Collection add sparkle. 

    Cabinets (custom design): fabricated by Kitchen Choreography,
    Cabinet color (“Swiss Blue” #815): Benjamin Moore,
    Backsplash (“Vihara”/Puka-Iridescent): Market Collection, market-

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    The Schaefers eat many of their meals at the expandable table on the porch. Betty loves personalization, so she had the quilted-fabric chair-back covers monogrammed.

    Paint (“Delicate White” #518-1, high gloss): PPG Pittsburgh Paints,
    Table: discontinued.
    Chairs; chair fabric: Gumps,
    Chandelier: owner’s collection.
    Cabinetry: Rich Vieracker, David Webster Construction Shop,

  • Werner Straube


    With so many people and so much activity, durability is an issue, and fabrics and furnishings were chosen accordingly. Floors throughout much of the house are wood with a factory-finish whitewash. “I wanted the light floors to be prefinished so I didn’t have to worry about repainting them,” Betty explains. Tile floors in the kids’ mudroom and baths are equally no-fuss.

    To keep life organized, the grandchildren have their own monogrammed towels, drinking glasses, and colorful buckets for their shoes and sports gear. 

    Built-in cabinetry: Rich Vieracker, David Webster Construction Shop,
    Cushion (“Canvas”/Parrot #5405-0000); cushion trim (“Canvas”/Hot Pink #5462-0000): Sunbrella,
    Containers (“VentiTubs”): The Macbeth Collection,
    Hanging beach towels: Haymarket Designs,
    Folded towels at top (“Signature Towels”/Lime): Garnet Hill,
    Paint (“Delicate White” #518-1): PPG Pittsburgh Paints,

  • Werner Straube

    Master Bedroom

    The master bedroom, with Benjamin Moore's "Pleasing Pink" on the walls is certainly that. You can practically feel the fuzzy "Grizzly" rug underfoot. A mother-of-pearl mirror over the chest of drawers from Bungalow 5 adds just the right amount of glam. 

    Wall paint (“Pleasing Pink” #2003-70): Benjamin Moore,
    Bed (“Carolina Poster Bed,” King/Victorian White with Flamingo monogram): Seabrook Classics by Coastal Woodcraft,
    Bed-skirt fabric (“Racy Lacey”/Scallop Pink #2011102.73, by Lilly Pulitzer); pillow-sham fabric (“Seafan”/Tini Green #2011116.23, by Lilly Pulitzer); bolster-pillow fabric (“In a Twist”/Hibiscus #2011114.7, by Lilly Pulitzer): Lee Jofa,
    Solid coverlet (“Palm Beach,” discontinued): Legacy Home,
    Patterned coverlet (“Pratesi Chain”): Pratesi, 212/288-2315.
    Bedside tables (“Scalloped Drum Table”/Ambiente Bright White): Ambiente by Martin-Wood,
    Pink accent paint on tables (“Deep Carnation” #2086-40): Benjamin Moore,
    Ceramic lamps on bedside tables (“Issie” #2007); lampshade (shiny white with Lilac Sachet interior): The Natural Light,
    Bench (“Broadway Bench”): Mario & Marielena,
    Bench fabric (“Volpi”/Apple on Tint #304043F): Quadrille,
    Bench trim (discontinued): Samuel & Sons,
    Area rug (“Grizzly” #9): Surya,
    Chest (“Fairfax 6-Drawer Dresser”): Bungalow 5,
    Mirror over dresser (mother-of-pearl): Bojay Inc.,
    Lamps on dresser (“Milk Medium Hobnail Milk Glass): Maura Daniel,

  • Werner Straube

    Master Bathroom

    Pink walls carry over from the master bedroom. The master bath is painted a punchy "Deep Carnation." White cabinets and a granite countertop balance the color.

    Wall paint (“Deep Carnation” #2086-40): Benjamin Moore,
    Cabinetry (custom design): Elizabeth Schmidt Interior Design,
    Fieldstone cabinetry: Kitchen Choreography,
    Countertop: Super White Granite.
    Mirror (“Atlantis”): Oly,
    Sconces (“Crystal Lights Wall Sconce” #5980): Currey & Co.,
    Faucets (“Bancroft”/Polished Chrome #K-10577-4P): Kohler,
    Stool: antique.
    Stool fabric: antique quilt. 

  • Werner Straube

    Guest Bedroom

    Upstairs there are three guest suites with outdoor balconies for the Schaefers’ grown-up children and their spouses; each has a different color scheme. “The goal was to make each suite feel special,” Schmidt says. “After making it to this beautiful spot, who wants to go to their bedroom and feel like they are back in Cincinnati?”

    A vacation home calls for bold color combinations such as the orange-and-pink fabric on the Mario & Marielena headboard, the designer says. The Lee Industries X-base bench is covered with a playful orange zebra stripe by Bruschwig & Fils. 

    Paint (“Delicate White” #518-1): PPG Pittsburgh Paints,
    Bed (“Jillian,” custom height): Mario & Marielena,
    Bed fabric (“Anna”/Hot Pink): Christoher Farr/Cloth,
    Coverlet and shams (“Somerset Bristol”/Dakota White with Bright Pink Fretwork): Legacy Home,
    Throw (“Brera Mattone Fuchsia” #F1889/10, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Pillow with monogram: custom.
    Sisal carpet (“Tonga”/Ash #7250): Unique Carpets,
    Ottoman at end of bed (#9158-00): Lee Industries,
    Ottoman fabric (“Ashanti Linen and Cotton Print”/Orange #BR-79770.641): Brunschwig & Fils,
    Chaise (#8840-21): Lee Industries,
    Chaise fabric (“Carreaux Vichy”/Pumpkin, by Boussac, colorway discontinued): Pierre Frey,
    Popcorn trim (white bobble trim with cord): Lina’s Interiors,
    Bedside table (“Nightright”/Orange): World’s Away,
    Table lamp (“Martina” #2017); lampshade (“Fandango Pink” #63; interior of shade, white): The Natural Light,

  • Werner Straube

    Guest Bath

    Glass knobs from Rejuvenation accent the Caesarstone-topped vanity.

    Paint (“Delicate White” #518-1): Pittsburgh Paints,
    Vanity (custom): Angela Goodall, Kitchen Choreography,
    Red paint on vanity: custom.
    Cabinetry hardware (“Old Town Glass Knob”/Polished Chrome): Rejuvenation,
    Vanity countertop (“Pure White” #1141, Modern Collection): Caesarstone,
    Mirror (discontinued): Bethel International,
    Wall sconces (“Chloe Double Matte White with Clear Crystals,” discontinued): Maura Daniel,
    Ceiling wallpaper (#CM2382, discontinued): Seabrook,
    Flooring: Waterworks,
    Towels: Legacy Home,

  • Werner Straube

    Granddaughters' Room

    Of course, grandkids get the royal treatment too. The six granddaughters share a Tiffany-blue-walled room with three matching four-poster trundle beds. The pink carpet is made for outdoor use and can be scrubbed down with water if necessary.


    Wall paint (“Cool Lagoon” #155-4): PPG Pittsburgh Paints,
    Poster beds (“Carolina Twin Poster Bed with Trundles”/Victorian White by Seabrook Classics): Coastal Woodcraft,
    Bedside table (“Sloan Square Table”/Ambiente White and Pistachio): Ambiente by Martin-Wood,
    Coverlet and shams (“Somerset Devon”/Dakota White with Bright Yellow Scalloped Tape Trim): Legacy Home,
    Lamp (“Pagoda Lamp”/Hot Pink): World’s Away,
    Coral pillow fabric (“Seafan”/Hibiscus #2011116.7, by Lilly Pulitzer): Lee Jofa,
    Trim (“Canvas”/Pineapple #2106): Pindler & Pindler,
    Brush fringe (#405): Brimar,


  • Werner Straube


    The four grandsons also have their own room –– a nautical-inspired bedroom with two bright red trundle beds. Plus, there’s an upstairs playroom and a teen-getaway room with kitchenette and large-screen TV behind the boat garage.

    In the playroom, the kids enjoy the barefoot-comfort of the fuzzy rug from Surya while they play games on the large table made from reclaimed wood.

    Paint (“Delicate White” #518-1): Pittsburgh Paints,
    Settee: owner’s collection.
    Pink-and-white striped fabric on pillows and window-seat cushion (“Brera Largo”/Peony #F1790/09, by Designers Guild); flower-patterned pillow fabric (“Shirotae”/Peony #F1901/05, Kimono Blossom Collection, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Patterned pillow fabric (“Venecia”/Hot Pink): Christopher Farr/Cloth,
    White pillow fabric (“Brice”/Snow #3454): Pindler & Pindler,
    Welt (“Dolce Marabout”/Gumball, #983-45496-11): Samuel & Sons,
    End tables (“Elizabeth 1”/Bright White with Ambiente blue striping): Ambiente by Martin-Wood,
    Coral lamps (“Naia”/White): Made Goods,
    Cocktail table (custom, reclaimed wood/gray wash finish): Custom Furniture & Cabinets,
    Slipcovered lounge chair (#C3278-01): Lee Industries,
    Chair fabric (“Brera”/Fuchsia #F562/06, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Painting over sofa (“Paule Marrot Feathers”): Natural Curiosities,
    Area rug (“Grizzly” #9): Surya,
    Vase on cocktail table: owner’s collection.
    Wall light by window seat (“French Library Single Wall Lamp”/Polished Nickel #S2601PN): Circa Lighting,
    Window seat: Rich Vieracker, David Webster Construction Shop,

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    The Schaefers’ 10 grandchildren watch sailboats in the bay.

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    Daily life in North Port revolves around sailing classes, swimming, boating, golf, tennis, and just lounging on the patios with a book and a cool drink. “The whole point was to bring everyone together, so the cousins can play and build lots of wonderful memories,” Betty says of their summer home.

    Homeowners Betty and George Schaefer. 

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    Directors Chairs

    Who knows? The grandkids' memories may be woven into magical stories of a place called Raminentz.