Name: Rashelle Roos and Joe Agati
Location: Miller Beach — Gary, Indiana (Southern tip of Lake Michigan)
Size: 2,800 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 6 years
The moment you step through the gate of Rashelle Roos and Joe Agati's getaway house on the south shore of Lake Michigan, you have the overwhelming feeling of having arrived somewhere very special. Perhaps it's due to Joe's monumental sculptural work, Looking Through, which greets you in the front yard. Or maybe it has to do with Rashelle's canvases that line the walls of the house, or the basement store room that serves as a workshop for Joe's furniture design. The home is a living art gallery, and it breathes passion and inspiration into the works of both these talented artists.
Rashelle is an artist with a background in fine arts, Middle Eastern studies, art education and art therapy. There is a whimsical energy and lightness to her paintings, which perfectly reflect her good-natured personality. All of these influences have given her a keen eye for stunning interior design moments, and the ability to display fine art. Joe is a sculptor with a background in engineering and a business in furniture design. The sculptures he produces consist of materials such as metal, wood and stone; inherently hard by nature, Joe has the ability to carve a softness into the material that also reflects his nature.
Rashelle and Joe didn't care what the home looked like when they bought it because they had a vision. Upon moving in, they lived for a while with the studs completely exposed, to get a better feeling for how open the space could be. Rashelle especially wanted to live with the studs before making any decisions on placement of the walls. After a little while, they realized that they in fact did not want any walls! The result is an unobstructed view from the front door to the living room, kitchen, dining room, and finally to the deck, backyard and the dunes.
The colors and textures of the dunes themselves, and of Lake Michigan, were inspiration for several finishes in the house, but most importantly encouraged the couple to maximize the view to the exterior. The dark textured brick on the outside of the house gives way to its opposite inside: crisp white walls, sandy stone tiles, and white glass throughout. The vaulted ceiling in the entry gives the space a grand gesture, but your attention is quickly directed outside to the view of the dunes and the lake. Floor-to-ceiling windows are a must if you have the chance to celebrate such a beautiful view, and when the couple had the chance to remove the old, short windows for these tall beauties, they jumped at the opportunity.
When you bring your focus back inside, you realize Rashelle and Joe have a serious collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and memories. Just seeing all this artwork proudly displayed tells you a lot about this pair: They are genuinely passionate about their work and they love to celebrate each other's art. From room to room, the couple effortlessly mixed old and new, expensive and economical, serious and playful. There are costumes worn by the late James Brown over the entry, a chic DIY light fixture in the guest bathroom, a master closet at the end of a luxurious bathroom that is to die for, niches with sculptures, and fun bathrobes for all guests with Miller Time embroidered on the front. It's truly an adventurous and amorous collection.
If you have the opportunity to visit Rashelle and Joe, take it! Not only will you have an amazing time exploring their fun collection of art and objects, you're in for some of the best hospitality you'll ever receive. One day may not be enough Miller Time—a long weekend getaway in definitely in order.
Get the look! → Get the Look: Artful Beach Getaway
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Clean, minimal, contemporary art museum—White so the art and the view POP! I also wanted an indoor/outdoor connection, so the accents are blue to coordinate with the lake and sky, and wheat/gold to coordinate with the sand and golden dune grass in the fall.
Inspiration: A pop up art "museum" we stumbled upon during Venice Biennale! It had eclectic contemporary art and installations painted on white walls, with windows overlooking the canal.
Favorite Element: The gold tree I spray painted in the living room mimics the real tree three feet away (outside).
Biggest Challenge: My husband! Ha! Getting him to agree to my design and purchases takes major psychological strategizing :) and… patience.
What Friends Say: Wow! And "What's for dinner?" (We love to entertain, so we renovated the house around the kitchen counter, where we have ample seating for ten.
Biggest Embarrassment: The number of nail holes in the walls, because the artwork is constantly revolving as I make new pieces and others go to new homes.
Proudest DIY: My ball chain light fixture. I just took apart an Ikea light frame, cut a bunch of ball chain, added fasteners, and voila!
Biggest Indulgence: Windows that go all the way to the floor. Worth every penny!
Best Advice: Design your home around the way you live, not around a pre-existing idea. (We turned a guest room into our closet, and it gets 100% for more use this way!) Do it exactly as you want to, because you are the one living in it!
Dream Sources: Unlimited budget while travelling the world and stumbling upon great finds, loaded with beautiful memories of our time together in a particular city.