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Our Serene & Stylish Connecticut Lake Retreat: Halo Hollow Haus Renovation Reveal

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Our Serene & Stylish Connecticut Lake Retreat: Halo Hollow Haus Renovation Reveal

I'm so excited to finally unveil the transformation of our beloved Connecticut lake home, affectionately named Halo Hollow Haus. After we bought the property, we embarked on a full multi-stage renovation that breathed new life into this sweet home.

The Background On Our Lake Retreat

When we returned to Brooklyn, NY after 14 months away during the pandemic, I wanted to be sure we had a space of our own for retreat and escape. I was maybe a little scarred from leaving our home unexpectedly for SO long. So we bought a little weekend home in the country – near a lake in Litchfield County, Connecticut. We found we loved it so much that we made the decision to move our family full time to the country and to sell our Brooklyn home

Nestled in a picturesque lake neighborhood, the house had great underlying character but was yearning for an update to better suit our family (it had a lot of dark brown walls and floors…yuck). Dive in below for the details of this incredible makeover journey!

The Inspiration: Light, Bright, and Modern With An Eclectic Edge

Tali Roth Upstate Home Project via Instillerie
Tali Roth Upstate Home Project
T Townhouse by Hovey Design via Instillerie, Photos: JONATHAN HÖKKLO
T Townhouse by Hovey Design, Photo: JONATHAN HÖKKLO

As we jumped into the renovation journey, my guiding vision was to create a space that lived up to the essence of light, bright, and modern. I was particularly inspired by the stunning work of interior designer Tali Roth on her Upstate Home project. I wanted an airy ambiance, clean lines, and a harmonious blend of natural elements and contemporary design. This fueled my design choices throughout the project, from the bright white walls, matte black fixtures, and light flooded rooms to the carefully curated mix of modern furnishings and organic materials. I really wanted to infuse Halo Hollow Haus with a sense of serenity yet with an eclectic edge that felt right for our family. Emily Henderson’s Mountain House was another source of inspiration. 

Emily Henderson Mountain House Living Room via Instillerie, Photos: Sara Ligorria-Tramp
Emily Henderson Mountain House Living Room, Photos: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Looking at the inspo above still gives me such a sense of calm. Because the lake house was originally our weekend escape from the city, a calming effect was really important. I wanted minimal clutter, minimal distractions to the eye, and a lot of bright light. 

Now let’s take a quick peek at some before shots so you can see what we were working with…

Lake House Before: Dark, Brown, and Dated

As I’ve said, there were a lot of brown accents in this house. Like…a lot. The house has this gorgeous mid-century modern vibe and incredible light. You’re surrounded by nature in a way that it’s almost like you’re living in a treehouse. But for some reason the previous owners leaned in hard on the color brown. I’ll never understand. 

Instillerie Lake House Before
Instillerie Lake House Before
Instillerie Lake House Before
Instillerie Lake House Before
Instillerie Lake House Before

Luckily the house layout mostly worked for us (minus the tiny entry landing, which was challenging but we couldn’t really tackle it) and we really didn’t have to do too much structurally, aside from a complete teardown of the primary bathroom and a slight reconfiguring of doorways and hallways. 

An Airy Upstairs Transformation

We decided to tackle the upstairs first, since that’s where our primary living areas were located (it’s a raised ranch, so the kitchen, dining, and main living room are all upstairs).

Halo Hollow Haus Living Room, Photo: Katelyn Perry

We made a few major changes to create a more bright, luxurious, and functional space. The primary bathroom underwent a complete gutting, and we updated it with a sleek vertical white subway tile and glass shower, a modern soaking tub with black matte finishes, and large format concrete-esque floor tiles for a modern and polished look.

Instillerie Lake House Primary Bathroom, Photo: Katelyn Perry

In the kitchen, we opted for a more budget-friendly and eco-conscious approach by painting the existing cabinets (which were luckily solid and quality), updating the hardware, and installing new lighting and floating white oak shelves in place of a bulky counter cabinet. These changes not only breathed new life into the space but also made it feel so much more open and airy.

Instillerie Connecticut Lake House Kitchen, Halo Hollow Haus, Photo: Katelyn Perry
Instillerie Connecticut Lake House Kitchen, Halo Hollow Haus, Photo: Katelyn Perry

To tie it all together, we refinished all the hardwood floors, taking them from dark brown to light and bright, and painted the entire upstairs in my favorite bright white – Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore (including the beams running across the ceiling). 

Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Connecticut Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry
Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Connecticut Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry
Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Connecticut Lake House Primary Bedroom, Photo: Katelyn Perry

The Cozy & Eclectic Downstairs Transformation

Heading downstairs, which had a basement-like feel due to the home’s raised ranch layout, we made some substantial changes to create a bright yet cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Instillerie Connecticut Downstairs Living Room, Halo Hollow Haus, Photo: Katelyn Perry

We said goodbye to the stinky, dated carpet (oh happy day!) and installed LVP flooring that aligned with the hardwood flooring upstairs for a more modern and durable solution. I would have loved to go with real hardwood but because the downstairs is essentially basement level, it wasn’t really an option. 

Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry
Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry

Fresh paint throughout worked wonders! (I swear by a fresh coat of paint.) We used Chantilly Lace to brighten the downstairs living area, hallway, and bathroom. I went with Farrow & Ball’s soothing Cromarty for the guest room, and the kids chose our now beloved Cole & Sons Woods wallpaper, which added a sweet touch of whimsy to their room. 

Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry
Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry

In the downstairs bathroom, we kept the updates simple and sustainable by replacing the old stained floor tile, toilet, vanity, and fixtures while retaining the existing shower insert which was perfectly functional.

Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry

Sprinkling In Unique & Special Touches 

Throughout Halo Hollow Haus, we ditched the dated and dusty vertical blinds and elevated the vibe dramatically with stunning window treatments from Shade Store. I chose sleek roman shades with blackout backing for the bedrooms and roller shades that beautifully filter the natural light for bathrooms and living spaces.

Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Connecticut Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry

The exterior also received a dramatic facelift! We transformed the outside of the house (including the spacious back deck) with Benjamin Moore Soot.

Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Connecticut Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry

I updated the deck furnishings to create an inviting outdoor relaxation zone and added a cozy fire pit area with Adirondack chairs to the yard, perfect for enjoying starlit nights and roasting marshmallows.

Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Connecticut Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry
Halo Hollow Haus, Instillerie Connecticut Lake House, Photo: Katelyn Perry

One of the most special things for me as we went through this renovation was simultaneously creating a beautiful garden space outside to compliment our home. I planted daffodils, lilacs, hellebores, lilies, dogwoods, and more, and the house is truly now embedded in a lush garden oasis. 

Ashley of Instillerie at Halo Hollow Haus

A Labor Of Love

This renovation has been a true labor of love and the result is a special place that our family will cherish for years to come. Not only will our family enjoy it, but we’ve also opened it up as an Airbnb! Time for a new journey!  We love that this house reflects our values of sustainability and functionality, and that it fosters relaxation and connection with nature. We’re so excited to welcome others into this space to make their own special memories here. 

Reactions Or Feedback To Share?

Would love to hear your thoughts! Let me know in the comments.

xoxox, A

Photography: Katelyn Perry

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Ashley Patterson