Collen DiFonzo Collen DiFonzo
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Colleen DiFonzo-Lewis is no stranger to designing homes. After all, the owner of CDL Decor has designed plenty of spaces. So when it came time for the Houston resident to plan her own lakeside summer home in Bratenahl, she knew exactly what she wanted.

Looking to escape the Texas heat, and prepared with plenty of notes she had taken at open houses during the hunt for her family’s summer home, she worked with architect Charles Fazio to design the new-build on the last available lakeside lot in the gated Lakehurst community. The result was exactly what she wanted: A casual space made for enjoying picnics and cocktails with her husband and two boys while taking in the views of Lake Erie.

“It’s light, airy and calming,” says DiFonzo-Lewis. “You just feel relaxed when you’re there. The inspiration was the water and the view and how we can maximize that.”

Drawing on those views and abundant natural light thanks to plentiful windows, the home has an upscale coastal vibe that enhances that vacation feeling by bringing the hues of the lake and natural elements indoors.

While all of the walls are painted in crisp white (Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace), watery shades of blue are sprinkled throughout, appearing in the guest room’s matching wallpaper and chair by Serena and Lily, the custom Amish-built dresser in the boys’ room, and the matching kitchen island and range hood, both painted in Benjamin Moore Courtland Blue.

Sand-colored, wide-plank wood floors throughout the home echo the earth tones and natural finishes of the furniture (sourced from Serena and Lily, Arhaus and Noir Furniture) and light fixtures from Circa Lighting.

“I wanted to get that feeling of being outside,” says DiFonzo-Lewis. “So there’s shiplap on the walls, there’s wicker furniture, there’s rattan.”

When two large oak trees on the property had to be cut down, they were even repurposed into the ceiling beams in the living room, further bringing the outside in. Another design choice inspired by the lake is seen in the guest bathroom. Bold Cole & Son wallpaper with a fish print is paired with a gold-trimmed vintage mirror DiFonzo-Lewis  had in storage.

“Everything in the house had to be subtle,” she says. “But I feel like the powder room is that one room all your guests use, so I wanted it to be fun.”

A fan of mixed metals, DiFonzo-Lewis chose brushed brass and brushed nickel for light fixtures, Emtek cabinet hardware and Moen bathroom faucets, providing shining contrast to the natural elements.

More brass accents are found in the kitchen, which opens into a dining area and living room, as well as a butler’s pantry with built-ins handmade by local Amish craftsmen. Crisp, white cabinets, easy-to-maintain white quartz countertops and another window overlooking the lake complete the look.

And though the house features plenty of those lake views, one of DiFonzo-Lewis’ favorites is in the shower of the master bathroom. Marble floors and countertops pair with an oversized porcelain tiled walk-in shower complete with a small window overlooking the water.

“The placement of the window is so perfect because you’re in the shower and you get ready and you still have this amazing view,” she says.

Of course, the best place to see the lake is outside. Fittingly, DiFonzo-Lewis added a cozy outdoor fireplace (there’s an indoor one, too), a porch swing suspended from rope that’s large enough to fit the whole family, and a pool mere steps from a sprawling patio.

“It’s amazing to sit out there after the kids go to sleep and just watch the sunset,” she says.

Meet The Designer: Colleen DiFonzo-Lewis is a Houston-based interior decorator with clients across the country. Born and raised in Cleveland, she has lived and worked in multiple states and countries but never forgot her Ohio roots. Twenty years later, she’s back in the Buckeye State with her family, escaping the Texas heat and loving life on Lake Erie in their new summer home. She hates clutter and believes every room needs good lighting. 
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