Successful design strategy starts with clear vision

2013-03-15T00:00:00Z 2013-03-19T13:15:03Z Successful design strategy starts with clear visionBy Julie Dean Kessler
March 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It was just over an acre of rolling land dotted with trees—the perfect site to break ground for their 5,000-square-foot house. That was in August 2008. Despite an overwhelming array of designs, materials, colors and fabrics from which to choose, Jack and Kim Ziegler moved into their dream home a scant 11 months later.

How did they do it?

"We had a clear vision," Kim says. "Building is said to be a stressful time, but it wasn't for us."

She speaks easily, confidently, decisively of architectural details in a conversation that moves rapidly from one phase of the build to another. The couple had lived in the area a long time, liked it, and settled on Crown Point for their new home because of the downtown's quaint elements and easy access to their workplaces. From there, the Zieglers' philosophy—embracing function within form—directed every aspect of the build. "It's a balance," Kim says: The form has to be visually pleasing, "but if you don't have functionality, then you haven't provided for your needs."

With a long-range view in mind, all essential living areas are on the main floor. "We want the home to be accessible as we age," Kim explains, "and we didn't want space on the main floor that isn't used on a daily basis." Accordingly, two guest bedrooms are upstairs and another is on the lower level.

Guests enter a large foyer leading to a formal living room. One detail still in the works for some areas, Kim says, are window treatments, but here, silhouette shades allow natural light that's further enhanced by transom windows with minimal stained-glass design. Used throughout the home, the transom windows "add pizzazz," Kim says. On the other side is the formal dining room with recessed lighting. As elsewhere in the home, 10-foot ceilings and large windows emphasize space and light.

The Zieglers credit the Woodshop, Inc., of Schererville with adding depth and character; their designs include bead board and tray ceilings in the living room and dining room. Choosing a contemporary style that also imparts warmth was the inspiration for a double fireplace between the formal living room and the hearth room. With the kitchen centrally located, family and friends are close to the cook; they can hang out before the marbled fireplace or chat from the kitchen bar.

Kim revels in the chef-friendly kitchen, with its warming drawer, double oven and pot filler. Woodshop designed the wine rack built into one end of the kitchen cabinets, and created distinctive detail on the woodwork and staircase. Walnut flooring in a blend of hues coordinates with the Zieglers' choice of earth tones for walls and furnishings. "We like being able to change it up just by adding seasonal accents," notes Kim, whose style is evident in the home's ambience of serenity, elegance and comfort.

Unique, upscale amenities help ensure that the main floor will meet the couple's lifestyle for years to come. Jack and Kim find the double fireplace between master bedroom and bath a great de-stressor. Kim's contemporary flair and practicality are evident in the choice of shallow, rectangular basin sinks in unusual deep-blue glass, and placement of the laundry room just off the master bath. The couple enjoys the morning bar just outside the master bedroom.

On the lower level, heated tiles, fireplace and a rich color palette warm the space, while the slope of the property allows for larger windows with natural light and a view of the outdoors.

Guests can sit at the wet bar—a mirror behind the bar contains a TV—or at high tables that can be folded in half against the wall. Entertaining extras: drawers for warming foods and dishwashing keep trips upstairs to a minimum.

Kim frankly adores the wine cellar; faux-painted walls, artwork and lighting make it a joy to select the wines Kim enjoys discovering.

After an energetic tour through the house, which "wraps around you when you come home," Kim gazes out at the patio, the fire pit, the pool area and woods beyond, and her musing turns poetic. "To see a deer and her fawns frolicking . . . to sit outside at night and listen to the little sounds . . . keeping close to nature was a reason to keep the decking minimal. It's always pretty here—in summer you look up and see the trees swaying; rain falls through them like a rain forest; even in winter they're beautiful."

She turns with a smile and spreads her hands. "And we have wonderful neighbors! It's just a great place."

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