Time For A Change

A couple happily eases into a slower pace in a new lakeside home

Karen and Mike Marti relax on their front porch. FIND MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

Karen and Mike Marti relax on their front porch. FIND MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

Karen and Mike Marti were well acquainted with the beauty of Midwestern towns. For years, they’ve traveled the region to attend craft shows, where they sell artistic timepieces they create for their business, Clocks by Homestead.

Yet when they passed through La Valle, a small town a little over an hour northwest of Madison, in the fall of 2005, they noticed its beauty. A few months later, they purchased a wooded lot along Lake Redstone, initially thinking it would be a retirement property.

“We became impatient,” Karen says. “If we found any free weekend, we were up here by the lake.”

After deciding to make the place their permanent home, they approached JG Development for help in designing and building their new house.

“We knew we didn’t want the typical northwoods log cabin,” Mike says.

“We knew we wanted light and airy,” Karen adds.

When JG Development presented them with plans for a bungalow, they were surprised, but happily so. The house couldn’t be more different from their previous home, a colonial saltbox complete with dark trim and pine ceilings, on the edge of Middleton. 

Embracing this new aesthetic, the Martis got rid of most of their heavy, traditional furniture and took their time, scouring antique stores and thrift shops for just the right pieces for their lakeside house.

At their builder’s suggestion, the couple chose hardwood floors for the entire house, a light oak from Schreffler Custom Hard Wood Flooring in Waunakee. The flooring provides a nice flow throughout the home and coordinates with light paint colors on the walls. 

An open kitchen, dining room and living room area reinforces the open atmosphere, as does a master suite that leads to a deck with views of the lake. “We eat out here almost every night,” Karen says. From the home’s lower level, another deck winds its way through the sloping backyard down to the lake.

It has been an adjustment, however, getting used to the solitude here and being so far away from Madison, where their grown son and daughter live.

“It’s a different dynamic,” Mike says, adding that roughly eighty percent of the properties around their house are seasonal.

But the home’s peacefulness attracts family members for holidays and summertime visits, and allows Karen and Mike to appreciate the lake, trees and seasons year-round.

“We wanted a change,” he says.

“It just became us,” she says.

Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine.

Find more House of the Month features here.

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