Photography: Chris Davis

This spiffy new house has the feel of a lovable old one. Glass-enclosed walkways connect the silo to the upper floors.

ARCHITECTS: Martin Kläschen, Mike Meiners
LOCATION: Southeast Wisconsin

“The owner had a vision for a house with a silo,” says interior designer Cindy Galvin, who helped create the inside of this large lakefront residence in Delavan, Wisconsin. What looks very much like a renovated barn is actually a big, comfortable house built from scratch in 2008, complete with a gambrel roof and what appears to be a silo.

Designed by architects Martin Kläschen and Mike Meiners of the Chicago firm HouseHaus, the sustainably built five-bedroom, six-bath house sits on a wooded lot and looks out on a swimming pool as well as on Lake Delavan. Inside, knotty pine paneling, exposed ceiling joists, open shelving in the kitchen, and simple furnishings keep the rusticity going.

The owners, who live on Chicago’s North Shore and have two children, use this getaway as often as possible. Galvin says the husband fondly recalls spending summers at his grandmother’s farm when he was growing up, and he wanted his children to have the same kind of memories.

“This is a low-tech house,” says Galvin, who owns Bardes Interiors and Maze Home in Winnetka. “The family are outside all day and at night they come in and play board games.” She designed a game table for this very purpose, honoring the husband’s wish that the house “be like his fishing club in Canada.”


Designer Cindy Galvin created a vignette in the house’s main corridor with a vintage table,
an old scale, and a rustic painting on wood.


A shady spot for a backyard sit-down.


Throughout the house there is a warm mix of wood and white. “It was a lot of back and forth, playing with the balance of the two,” Galvin says. On the second and third floors, she added red to the palette. “In old cottages, they would often paint the floors white,” Galvin explains. “Painting them red was a bold move.”

So, the silo? Inside, it turns out, is a spiral staircase that runs from the basement to the top of the house, with the upper floors connected to the structure by means of glassed-in walkways. The third floor is home to eight sleepover-friendly built-in bunks fitted in under the slanting roof; skylights flood the space with light.

“The kids feel like they’re in a fort up there,” Galvin says. “What a great way to use architecture to create a cozy environment.”


Curtains can be drawn for privacy on the eight bunks on the third floor.


A seating area on the wraparound porch is furnished with loveseats and a painted trunk that serves as a coffee table.


A restored 1950s-era Chambers range inspired the design of the old-fashioned kitchen.
Repurposed warehouse lights hang over the marble-topped island.