Picture-Perfect

A Pine Lake new-construction highlights scenic location // Photography by Beth Singer
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Making the most of waterfront views, designer Jennifer Asmar prefers open-pane windows and no treatments whenever possible. The dining table and chairs on the lower-level walkout patio were intentionally positioned to feel as if you’re seated right on the water.

One of the goals for this West Bloomfield new-build was to have a nice flow for hosting family and friends. That objective extends from the main areas of the transitional residence to the outdoor spaces that enrich the picturesque spot. The creative spirit behind the project, Jennifer Asmar, below, of Asmar Interiors in Troy, shares how she addresses waterfront properties.

For lakefront locations, Asmar says she likes to keep the sightlines open with low-profile seating such as sofas and ottomans. In addition, she positions an adjacent or parallel focal wall for key features like the fireplace and TV, to keep the main view clear.

When it comes to furniture placement, Asmar lets the water be her guide inside and out. That’s evident in the great room of this home, which is conducive to conversation and TV, yet open to the lakefront. “Wherever you sit, you have a great view,” she says.

Asmar explains that she prefers open-pane windows in a waterfront home, and says she’d rather have no treatments whenever possible. For spaces that require privacy, like a master bedroom, she suggests minimal drapery panels with shades that recess into the headrail, to offer a better view.

The same less-is-more approach applies to landscaping a lakefront property. Homes on the water benefit from fuller but lower plantings like boxwood, hydrangea, and Japanese maples. “You want nothing growing that’s so obtrusive that it would be in the way,” Asmar says.

Outdoor seating can be less conspicuous, too — like the dining table and chairs on the lower-level walkout patio, which was intentionally positioned on the far edge of the property. “It was plotted to be away from the house and toward the lake, for a feeling of being on the water,” Asmar explains, pointing out that the neutral furniture lets the homeowners and their guests savor the rich shades of the lake.

Those seated at the indoor dining table can also enjoy continuous views through a wide doorwall, while a lantern-style light fixture above the kitchen island keeps the sightlines open. “Nothing is enclosed, fussy, or busy,” Asmar says.

Special touches — like the custom light fixture in the adjacent great room that was centered in the round window — go a long way on the water. “When the homeowners are on their pontoon boat, they can see it from the lake when it’s lit at night,” the designer says.

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DESIGN STAR’S SECRET

“When designing a home on the water, I always use a lot of blue,” interior designer Jennifer Asmar says. “It’s just the way bringing that blue into the home makes you feel when you’re on the lake, whether you’re inside or out.”

People pay a premium for waterfront property, she notes. “Unfortunately, in Michigan we don’t have a long season, so when you bring the outside in, you’re extending the enjoyment of the space.”

As for the application, Asmar adds touches of blue throughout. “I like using it in accents like pillows and artwork instead of furniture,” she explains.

In the kitchen, she often introduces the soothing hue in key features. “I like to use it on the countertop and the backsplash,” Asmar says. “Areas like that usually have a polished feel. It almost has that glistening lake feel to it.” — JM


LAKE LIFE LOWDOWN

During her downtime, Jennifer Asmar heads to Traverse City, Charlevoix, and Harbor Springs, where she enjoys time spent on Lake Michigan with her husband and their three kids. “We love to go on boat rides or go kayaking,” she says.

Her children look forward to going Up North. “It’s such a kid-friendly area,” Asmar says. “They love to go swimming in the lake. Sometimes it’s about just digging your feet in the sand and enjoying the natural beauty.”

Her kids gladly pack up their sand toys in anticipation of heading to the popular destination. “They like looking for treasures in the lake, like little rocks and shells,” Asmar says.

It doesn’t take much effort to enjoy a perfect vacation day. “We love setting up a beach blanket that’s big enough for all of us to sit on and have lunch and just play in the water,” she says.  — JM

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