Reimagining a Classic Cottage

Long-time city dwellers Kathy and Bryan decided it was time to escape the hustle and bustle, and search for a slower pace of life.They found a charming, 1950s-era, two-story cottage on the south shore of Geneva Lake that was nearly perfect. However, it hadn’t been updated in several decades, so they decided to renovate.

The biggest challenge Kathy and Bryan faced was deciding how to update their home with modern amenities without losing its unique character and charm.To help with this, they turned to Elkhorn-based Stebnitz Builders after hearing great reviews from their neighbors’ experience with the building and renovation company. “Tearing down [a home] isn’t always the answer,” explains Jeff Auberger, Stebnitz Builders remodeling and design consultant. “Good structure, great views and a good foundation are valuable.”

While Kathy and Bryan looked forward to enjoying the solitude of a slower-paced life, they also hoped to share it with their family and friends. So Auberger and his team got to work designing the home to be guest-friendly, integrating entertaining spaces throughout the home.

“Our job is to help our clients express themselves and hear what is important to them,” explains Auberger.

On the home’s second floor,the Stebnitz team transformed an unused bedroom into an inviting, laidback loft with extra seating and a wet bar. Then Auberger and his team extended the space to include an outdoor deck that takes full advantage of the home’s stunning lake views. On the first floor, the renovations included flipping the kitchen space with the dining room to maximize lake views. In the new kitchen, the Stebnitz team included the latest “smart storage” strategies, in addition to a dishwasher drawer, a warming drawer and appliances tastefully hidden behind panels. Off the kitchen and dining area, the renovations included the addition of a three-season room with cozy seating and gorgeous lake views.

The addition the Stebnitz team added to the home also afforded Kathy and Bryan an expanded primary bedroom suite, including a larger primary bath with ample storage, a new shower, a soaking tub and double sinks. Completing the transformation, the interior of the home is decorated with subtle reminders of lakeside living: comfortable furniture, warm colors and rustic accents. Both Kathy and Bryan were thrilled with the final result.

Stebnitz Builders has been remodeling homes throughout Walworth County since 1972. Their unwavering ability to maintain high referral rates is due to their strong commitment to “perfecting the art of listening.” To ensure a successful outcome for each client, all team members are trained to listen actively. Stebnitz Builders has further customized their client experience by implementing Chief Architect, an advanced design technology computer program. “We are extremely proud to use this software,” says Auberger. “Our clients can visually see every detail of the finished project before we even start renovating.”

In addition to this strong commitment to their clients, Chris Stebnitz, president and CEO of Stebnitz Builders, continues to maintain a large presence and impact on the greater Walworth County community. As a third- generation partner of the United Way of Walworth County, the company matches 100% of every financial contribution made by their employees. Additionally, this family-owned business goes above and beyond to give back to the community as a proud supporter of a number of organizations, including their involvement with the Walworth County Fair’s Meat Animal Sale, the Elkhorn Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and the Open Arms Free Clinic. “We believe in supporting the communities where we live and work,” says Sam Stebnitz, brand manager for Stebnitz Builders.

After much collaboration with Stebnitz Builders, Kathy and Bryan’s home has been transformed into the cozy, lakeside cottage they had hoped for. The homeowners say that not only did Stebnitz Builders reclaim the original charm of the home, but they managed to make it even better than it once was.“The goal of this project was to reimagine this home,” says Auberger. “It was a big success and will stand the test of time.”


204 Commerce Ct., #3 Elkhorn, WI 53121 | 262-723-7232 |

Author: atthelake

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