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How White House Decorator Michael Smith Tackles a Boathouse

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Give presidential decorator Michael Smith a 1920s Wisconsin boathouse and he'll do exactly what he does best: drag in nonchalant, easy elegance. He's known for keeping places at risk of descending into overwrought frivolities comfortable and classy, which is important only because this adorable, grounded Art Moderne boathouse, featured in this month's Arch Digest, was on the precipice of falling into the land of the twee and overworked. Sited next to an estate on Lake Geneva and boasting an aesthetic reminiscent of the "baronial Chicagoans" that have occupied the holiday spot "since the steel, lumber, and cattle industries minted major fortunes in the city," the guest house's interiors are meant to have the feel of "a prewar yacht," AD writes.

For the structure's reboot, architect Dennis Rupert studied vessels from the 1920s and '30s, ultimately replacing porthole windows with mahogany-lined updates and rehashing the floors with alternating finishes, a nod to the decks of old Chris-Craft power boats. "[In boats of that era] their millwork was perfectly fitted, with a flushness to it but also a remarkable softness—nothing too sharply defined or overexpressed."

As far as interiors go, Smith keeps it blue and preppy, bringing into the fold vintage cherrywood armchairs and a cocktail table from the '70s for the living room (top), while procuring rope-tethered chairs for the blue-and-white sunroom and a Swedish flat-weave rug for the master bedroom (above).

More photos, over at Arch Digest.

· Michael S. Smith Brings Art Deco Flair to a Waterfront Home [Architectural Digest]
· All Michael Smith coverage [Curbed National]
· All The Printed Page posts [Curbed National]