Photos by Jordan Weitzel
ABOUT INTERIOR IMPRESSIONS
Although based in Woodbury, Minnesota, Amy Leferink and her team at Interior Impressions are inspired by the California-cool aesthetic and a coastal flair. Combining elements from seaside aesthetics with Midwestern touches, Leferink has mastered the art of achieving functionality and style as one.
Amy Leferink founded the Interior Impressions design firm 10 years ago. However, her interior design career is 26 years in the making. Starting off as designing projects part-time, it took her nearly 16 years to leave the safe harbor of her full-time job and sail into the uncharted waters of running her own interior design firm. Now, the firm has six dedicated employees who work on the full gamut, from new construction to remodels to simple design refreshes.
650 Commerce Drive Suite 140, Woodbury, Minn.
This coastal retreat on Grand View Lodge‘s Gull Lake acreage has become one of the most sought after units on the property. As one of the first rental homes in the premises that’s appearance falls outside the traditional log cabin aesthetic, the 6,000 square foot home is a breath of fresh air. Completely rented out months in advance, this home pulls in soft and tranquil beachy elements while still looking perfectly in place in Nisswa, Minnesota.
This spacious cabin was designed by Interior Impressions‘ founder Amy Leferink with special care and attention. Ready to host large family and friends get-togethers, the home has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, two “lock-off” suites, four fireplaces, a screened-in porch and can sleep up to 24 people. A light and airy feel was achieved with shiplap, tall ceilings, endless windows, wood beams, collar ties and an overall quintessential coastal flair.
Beyond the impeccable design, what makes this home particularly special is that it belongs to Leferink’s own aunt and uncle. For 30 years, the couple had enjoyed spending time at Grand View Lodge and decided to build a home there that would satisfy the needs of their growing family. Instead of continuing to rent homes on the Grand View property, they knew it was time to have a place to call their own. From concepts and dreams to the tiny details like soap dishes, Leferink and her team worked alongside the homeowners to create their perfect, rentable “home away from home” on the water.
“It’s really special to me to be able to improve the way a family actually lives and how they spend their time together. We really love being able to talk to [clients] and learn about what they like to do for activities and how they like to spend their time together. Do they love cooking? Or do they watch movies together? So let’s make sure we have the best space for that,” Leferink said. “It’s really fun to very much personalize the process and make a home exactly what our clients need and make it their dream home.”
While this was a large project to take on, Leferink obviously had a headstart on understanding how the family functions. Besides knowing the clients well as her aunt and uncle, she also knew them well as homeowners. This lake home project is the third home Leferink has had her aunt and uncle as clients on, the other two being their year-round home in Eden Prairie and their previous lake home, built about eight years ago. Already having identified the clients’ wishlist and knowing what elements they wanted to incorporate again, the process was off to a great start.
Working with Nor-Son Custom Builders, Interior Impressions was involved in the design and build from the blueprints all the way to fluffing the final pillow placements. New construction projects are Leferink’s favorite, as she gets the opportunity to think through every detail. She noted that sometimes she even works backward, designing a room around specific furnishings or a special piece of artwork so that it results in a perfect fit.
With creative freedom and reigns in hand, Leferink was ready to create something different from other lake homes in the region. “They wanted to do a bit of a coastal feel and not to the typical log lodge look,” she said. With many of the nearby homes having the very classic, rustic look, this home intentionally stands out among its neighbors.
A balance between on-theme but not too kitschy was the goal. Some areas leaned more nautical in theme while others nodded to farmhouse tendencies. Florals and gingham allude to southern inspiration while vintage accents from local antique shops bring the guests back to the Midwest. Leferink loves supporting local businesses and scouring for unique antique finds, so she used this as an opportunity to source goods from Brainerd and Nisswa artists and craftsmen. “Handmade items just bring in some unique personality and can bring in the vintage flair,” she added.
Being a rental home, and a lake rental at that, the accessories were intentionally selected. Leferink masterfully balanced maintaining the light and airy aesthetic while ensuring the decor was durable. “You have to think, is it going to hold up long enough? Is there something really expensive that is really breakable and if someone knocks it over you’re going to cry about it? So for the accessories and decor, you have to find nice things that look good, but are inexpensive. Because you never know if they could break or walk away,” she said. Creating a high-end look while still being practical is a challenge, but the Interior Impressions team pulled it off gracefully
Along with accessories, textiles were also paid special attention to. With rental guests in mind, some materials weren’t considered and fabric choices were made based on durability and ease of cleaning. Most cloth-based pieces were outfitted in fabrics from Sunbrella and Crypton, two textile brands intended for performance. And if the desired look wasn’t available from those brands’ selections, the chosen textile was treated with a protective FiberSeal. From wine spills to ketchup oozing off a Fourth of July hotdog, these furniture pieces are ready for any and all lake trip fumbles.
Other materials such as jute, rustic woods, black metal and rope added touches durability while also complementing the desired aesthetic. While details seemed to vary in texture and pattern, they stayed cohesive with a set color palette of soft water blues, navy and the blonde hues pulled from jute, nautical rope and light wood.
Ornamentations aside, Leferink and the homeowners knew they wanted the home’s bones to be neutral, flexible and classic. Accessories and furniture can come and go, but the base needed to be timeless. A favorite ageless accent of Leferink’s were the rustic, chiseled wood beams and collar ties on the luxurious vaulted ceilings. An additional wow-factor comes from black light fixtures that lead the eye upward and showcase the tall windows. Shiplap is another detail throughout that gives enduring character and style.
To inject some flair into the project, the Interior Impressions team gave each of the six bedrooms a personality. On the main floor lives the Master Suite, Martha’s Vineyard Suite, Superior Suite and Gull Lake Suite while the lower level contains The Nantucket Suite and The St Croix Room. “I think one of my favorite parts of the project was how we did each suite in a different theme and personality,” said Leferink. “It made it more interesting for us [designers] too, because instead of doing all the guest rooms the same, we had the opportunity to do something unique and fun in every single room.” This variety and playfulness create something special for guests to discover as they open each door.
From identifying the personalities of each room to installing artwork herself, Leferink set up this property for years and years of family memories. “It’s fun because I not only got to be part of the process, but I actually get to go there and enjoy it too,” said Leferink, joking that it’s her only project she gets to spend time in upon completion.
Ready to create your very own coastal-inspired haven? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Amy Leferink and the team at Interior Impressions. The design firm works all over the country, having done properties in from Florida to California and anywhere in-between. And for those not ready to embark on a full design, not to worry! Rent this very home for your next lake holiday by reaching out to Grand View Lodge and asking for the new coastal-style cottage.
ABOUT GRAND VIEW LODGE
Located in Nisswa, Minnesota is the Grand View Lodge on Gull Lake. Founded in 1916 and open for business in 1919, the Brainerd area lodge has provided guests with unforgettable vacation experiences. From a variety of restaurants, seasonal activities, a golf resort, spa and numerous lodging options, the Grand View Lodge has something for everyone.
Grand View Lodge’s Main Lodge was selected for the National Registry of Historic Places in 1979. The structure is one of the most well-preserved log resorts in existence today, boasting a grand staircase that leads guests down to 2,500 feet of Gull Lake’s sandy beach. In addition to the Main Lodge, Grand View’s property also includes North, a new 60-room boutique hotel; a woodsy Roy Lake community of cabins, cottages and villas; The Pines Golf Course’s townhouse, suite and villa accommodations; and East Side Beach cabins and cottages. Spanning an impressive 750 acres, the resort provides privacy and an oh-so-scenic atmosphere.
Learn more and book your stay at www.grandviewlodge.com
Location: Grand View Lodge
Interior Design: Amy Leferink, Interior Impressions
Builder: Nor-Son Custom Builders