Elise's Miller Beach House in the Trees

Elise's Miller Beach House in the Trees

Smith Schwartz
Oct 25, 2010

Name: Elise, Founder/Director of the ReBuilding Exchange
Location: Miller Beach — Gary, Indiana
Size: 1,000 square feet
Type: 1930's cottage
Years lived in: 1½ — owned

Feeling beat down by the Chicago winter and fueled by an open bar at a fundraiser for the Rebuilding Exchange, I was swept away by the silent auction offering of a weekend beach house stay. Unfortunately for me, it was February in Chicago and I would have to wait six months to redeem my impulse buy.

A sunny summer weekend in Elise's beach house was certainly worth the wait. Tucked away on a large, wooded lot two blocks from the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, Elise's home was built in the mid-1930's by a Norwegian carpenter. At that time, a matching cottage stood next door, but it was reduced to a pile of appliances and cinder blocks when it burned down in the mid-seventies. When I returned to shoot the House Tour this fall, I learned of Elise's plans to dig out the detritus and install a fire pit or screened-in porch to further enjoy the tree canopy above. The interior of Elise's home mirrors the coziness of the tree-filled exterior. She has a keen eye for vintage and handmade items that make her home feel as if she's been there for many years even though she's only lived in the cottage a short time. Every object in her home is carefully and thoughtfully placed to create a cozy and welcoming environment.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Found objects

Inspiration: Flea markets

Favorite Element: The feeling of being in a treehouse

Biggest Challenge: Finding counter space in my kitchen

What Friends Say: It's so cozy in here!

Proudest DIY: Reupholstering the dining room chairs with fabric screenprinted by a friend.

Biggest Indulgence: The walnut dining room table.

Best Advice: Spend more time in second hand stores, at yard sales, and&mhellip;at the ReBuilding Exchange!

Dream Sources: Good yard sales.

Thanks, Elise!

Images: Smith Schwartz

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