By Lauren Eve | Photos by Shanna Wolf
Burlington native Carly Loobeek was working as an interior designer for Studio M at their flagship store in Minneapolis when she and her husband decided they wanted to move closer to family in Wisconsin. In making this decision, Loobeek assumed she would have to leave behind the company that helped establish her career. However, to her surprise, the owners had been hoping to expand their brand in the Midwest. “I was thrilled with the opportunity to become part-owner for a new location,” says Loobeek. She and her husband started planning their move, and the search officially began for the studio’s second location in Wisconsin.
Loobeek had grown up spending her summers in Lake Geneva, and knew it would be the perfect community for the new Studio M location. “[In Minneapolis,] we work with clients who have lakeside homes. Lake Geneva and the surrounding area was the perfect fit for the innovative design that Studio M brings to the table,” she explains.
As planning for the new location began, the Loobeeks decided to build a new home. They chose a beautiful property in a development in Elkhorn called Sugar Creek Preserve, nestled into a quiet community with beautiful nature trails. Best of all, it is only a 15-minute drive to downtown Lake Geneva. “After living several years in the busy suburbs [of the Twin Cities], we wanted more space,” says Loobeek. “We’ve done the fixer-upper, so this time we wanted to design every detail from the ground up.”
With the help of renowned home- builder John Sorenson and his team from U.S. Shelter Homes, the Loobeeks opted for a custom, ranch-style home and open floor plan concept. Thanks to a deep basement concrete pour, they gained 9-foot ceilings in their large, finished basement, giving their home a more spacious feeling without adding additional levels.
The Loobeeks chose a timeless, Cape Cod-style design for the exterior. They added a touch of farmhouse aesthetic by using a mix of LP Smartside board-and-batten and lap siding, in combination with bronze metal accents on the roof. The home is flooded with natural light thanks to large Pella windows and the orientation of the house on the property, which helped to create a cheerful atmosphere on the inside. They also added a large outdoor porch to the front of the house — perfect for long evening conversations or sipping lemonade on a hot summer day. “I wanted to have that cottage feel,” says Loobeek. “But also have a little bit of the farm life influence that allows for a slower pace of living.”
Once they had designed the home’s exterior, Loobeek turned her focus to the interior. Studio M’s tagline — Inspiring Design. Transforming Spaces. — guided her as she set about designing her own dream home, and she found she wasn’t afraid to explore new ways to create a timeless yet modern look throughout their home.
Loobeek started with the kitchen, a hub of activity and hospitality in any home. The Loobeeks’ kitchen features a centered island made of red oak and topped with durable quartz countertops, sourced by MSI Surfaces, which extend throughout the entire kitchen. Instead of placing the sink in the island, which is common in new homes, she chose to place the sink near the large kitchen window for the natural light and to free up more island space. Dura Supreme cabinetry in Classic White was placed strategically throughout the kitchen for easy organization. “The kitchen is where you should put your money,” advises Loobeek. “Always push for the things that really matter to you. It makes all the difference.”
Next, Loobeek tackled the design of the living room. She opted to paint the walls in Sherwin-Williams Origami White, which she says serves as a perfect neutral backdrop, which allowed her to add layers of vibrant colors and textures in the furniture, flooring and window treatments. A custom rustic wood beam, sourced through Studio M, was added to the ceiling for texture, and Loobeek chose vertical tongue-and-groove wood paneling around the fireplace to emphasize the vaulted ceiling. The overall effect is a cozy cottage feel.
For visual interest, Loobeek wallpapered the back hallway that leads to the primary bedroom, opting for York Wallcovering’s Rifle Paper Company Collection. She says that hallways offer a design opportunity that many people overlook. “It’s a great way to add color, depth and playful art to an otherwise unused space,” explains Loobeek. “I chose the hallway specifically because you can see it showcased through the kitchen.”
Loobeek says she is no stranger to design challenges, but when it came to designing the perfect home for herself and her husband, she quickly learned it created an extra layer of challenge. “It’s always easier to tell others what to do than yourself,” she admits. “So I was very thankful I had my colleagues to consult when I was having trouble deciding what to do in our home.”
Last December, Studio M Lake Geneva celebrated its one-year anniversary, and Loobeek has reflected on her journey moving home to open the new location. “People have been so welcoming since we have been here,” she says. “It’s been such a great experience!”
The success of designing a home that she and her husband truly love has been a part of that experience, but Loobeek points out that as an interior designer, she is constantly dreaming up new design projects, and she considers her home a constant work in progress. “A designer’s home is never complete!” she says with a wink.
Get The Look
Studio M co-owner and interior designer Carly Loobeek offers a few spring tips for styling your home.
A Fresh Start
Take the time to clear shelves and surfaces in each room. Then you can decide what should be added back in and what might be ready for retirement until next winter.
Fill empty spaces or curated shelves with green plants. You’ll be amazed at how fresh your space will look!
Swap in Lighter Fabrics
When it comes to bedding, accessories and window treatments, remove heavy or thick materials like wool and velvet, and store them for next winter. Replace them with lighter materials like cotton or linen.
Rearranging the art around your home can freshen up your space. Consider swapping in pieces with lighter colors for spring.