Bespoke and Boutique News and Tips

Creating a Historical Custom Home

Colby Construction has built many beautiful, unique custom homes – homes built based on a dream the homeowner has, from lake homes, to modern homes, to rustic homes, and modern farm homes to name a few.  Then there is a custom home that is based on family history and the desire to build a new home based on the past that meets today’s current lifestyle. The opportunity to build such a home came to Colby Construction via the great-granddaughter of a renowned architect.

Creating a Historical Custom Home

The new, custom home, lovingly named “The Lake House” is just that, a beautiful, modern home that was conceptualized, created and built based on family history. When the owners of “The Lake House” decided they wanted to create a new home on a historical property, they worked with their architect and Colby Construction to bring to life a home that was part of their family history.

Set on a small, picturesque lake in southeastern Wisconsin, the tucked away property has been in the family for generations. Originally purchased as a Gentleman’s Farm at the turn of the century, the current owner’s great grandfather created a place that would be loved and adored for generations to come.

In 1904, the great-grandfather purchased the abandoned property, created and built a sanctuary that he and his family could escape to and enjoy, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. As the years and generations developed the land, the property included a cottage for the family, a house for the work hands, a large barn, root cellar and icehouse, along with other out buildings. The family cottage was continuously updated and remodeled as the architect would up-cycle leaded glass windows and other treasures brought from homes he was working on or renovating in the area. This family cottage was the inspiration for the present day home, “The Lake House”, which now sits on the location of the former farm hand home, just up the hill from the original family cottage, which is still in use and is a summer home for another member of the family.

The goal of the homeowner was to create a home that had the charm and warmth of a 1930’s lake home. A few of the features that were a priority included a screen porch, a central part of the home where family members and visitors can gather. The original family cottage featured just this type of porch, and the unique windows were recreated for the new home. These windows are single-hung sash and well counter weighted. The windows push down from the top, and the window completely disappears into sash pockets in the basement below. These windows were hung on all three sides of the porch, and the new “Lake House” features the same (brand new) single-hung sash windows.  Other features that were inspired from the original cottage include the leaded glass windows featured in the dining room. Like the original cottage, the new home’s dining room looks out over the lake through beautiful leaded glass.

Throughout the home, there are items that, like the homeowner’s grandparents and great-grandparents before her, have been repurposed. The counter top around the kitchen sink and the rocking chair in a bedroom are details and styles that are similar to the adorable cottage. As you move throughout this brand new home, you feel as though you have been taken back in time, a time when Guernsey cows roamed on the land and gardens surrounded the property. Each room was thoughtfully planned and designed to feel as if you are living there almost a century ago, but with all of the modern conveniences of custom, luxury home.

a historical custom home by Colby Construction

While the land has been divided, much of it remains in the family. Now there are new homes, and the barns have been renovated and rebuilt, and will last for the next generations to come. Today, strolling on the grounds of this estate, you truly feel as if you are part of history. You can almost imagine the family patriarch creating his next architectural masterpiece while enjoying the views of the lake. Stay tuned in the weeks to come to learn more about the features of “The Lake House”, outbuildings and history.

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Bespoke and Boutique News and Tips

Luxury Appliances for Your Custom Kitchen

As you build your custom home and begin to make selections in the process, one of the most important decisions you make are the appliances you select throughout the home. When working with a custom home builder like Colby Construction, you will have guidance from the experts on these selections to make it easier in a world of so many choices to select the luxury appliances for your custom kitchen. Let’s break down the product options and dream about having the latest and greatest in your luxury kitchen.

The appliances in the kitchen are likely the most important ones in the house. If you love cooking and want products that will enhance your culinary skills, or see cooking as a chore and want products that will simplify your life, you will want to do some research and find the appliances that best meet your needs.

Luxury Appliances for Your Custom Kitchen

Ranges, Cooktops, Ovens and Stoves:

Cooking is an essential part of living, and with families staying in and cooking together now more then ever, the choice to make this happen in crucial.

In 2000 Sub-Zero acquired Wolf, which offers a variety of high-end range options for your culinary needs. From 30” to 60” gas ranges with 4 to 8 burners, infrared griddles and charbroilers, Wolf Ranges offer an option for every size kitchen and customer’s needs. With their signature red knobs, they now offer black and silver as options as well to customize your look.  Wolf also offers gas, electric and induction cooktops. Looking for the best in a stand-alone built in stove? You will certainly find one you love choosing between the options in convection ovens: standard, steam and speed, ranging in size from 24” to 36” in width.

Like Wolf, Miele is another top of the line manufacturing that offers a wide range of options for your cooking and baking needs. Miele was founded in 1899 and is a family-owned high-end appliance company from Germany. They feature built-in convection, speed and steam ovens, cooktops and ranges in a variety of sizes.


When building a custom home, the refrigerator is definitely an important part of the kitchen, not only for functionality but also the look and feel of your space. A high-end kitchen calls for a built in refrigerator, regardless of the size or style you want. Whether it will be stainless or have custom panels to match the cabinets, it needs to be built in. Aside from the main refrigerator, the kitchen may also feature beverage centers and wine coolers as well.

Sub-Zero offers a variety of options, from the classic to professional series, giving a variety of configurations to meet your family’s needs. They also offer a variety of under counter options from drawers to cabinets. A wine cooler adds a distinct look to a custom home, and you can select from under cabinet options to built-in full size coolers. Other top rated refrigeration options include Thermador, Viking, Bosch and Kitchen Aid. There is a wide range of options in all of these brands to meet your needs and your budget.


Dishwashers are an essential part of the custom kitchen, and they have certainly come a long way since their introduction to the appliance world. A quiet dishwasher is certainly a desired option for your luxury kitchen, and of course ability to clean the dishes and drying styles are important features as well.

The Bosch Dishwasher continuously ranks as one of the best options on the market.  With multiple configurations for 3 racks, very quiet and different drying options, they offer a variety of sizes and options in their dishwashers.

Like their ranges, Miele Dishwashers are also ranked very high every year too. Thermador offers an excellent dishwasher option as well. All of these appliances are offered in stainless steel with the option of a custom panel.

Luxury Appliances for Your Custom Kitchen

Other Appliances:

Microwaves: Like other appliances, the microwave has come a long way. What used to take up counter space and was loud and clunky, now is a sleek unit, built into the wall, island or under the counter. There many options to meet your family’s needs. Some of the top brands include Bosch, Viking, KitchenAid and Dacor.

In order to make your custom kitchen truly custom, there are other appliances you will want to invest in.

  • Built in Coffee Systems: This luxurious option for a high-end kitchen will feature plumbed water system, whole bean grinder and coffee options from espressos and drips to lattes. Some of the best ranked brands are Miele, BSH, Bosch and Thermador.
  • Steam Ovens: Steam ovens have recently gained popularity, particularly in high-end kitchens. They are a great alternative to a microwave and offer a healthy cooking and baking option. Top ranked brands are consistently Wolf, Miele and Thermador.

Luxury Appliances for Your Custom Kitchen blog post - microwave close up

Like all the selections throughout your custom home, do the research, talk to your builder and understand your family’s needs. There are so many great products on the market that you will be sure to find items that fit your style, kitchen design and budget.


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Bespoke and Boutique News and Tips

12 Custom Features to Make Your Home Truly Custom

The concept of building a custom home that’s created and designed around you and your family’s wants and needs is what really makes a home custom to you. You can create exactly what you want, and you’re only limited by your imagination and budget. The home of your dreams can become a reality.

This is where many people get stuck, however, being paralyzed by all the possibilities and choices. When you start designing your luxury home, begin by dreaming of all the custom amenities that will give you the house you want.

Your luxury dream home should reflect who you are, but we would like to give you some inspiration. Use this list of 12 popular custom home features as guidance and think of the possibilities. This can be a launching pad for your ideas – because what you’d like to see in your kitchen, pool, or bathroom should be unique for your and your family. Your home is your sanctuary, where your family gathers to work, play, relax and be together. Beyond your family, your home is a place where you entertain your extended family and friends, so make your home exceptional.

12 Custom Features to Make Your Home Truly Custom

1) Entryways

When entering the front door, you want your guests to be wowed, so make sure your entryway is unique, welcoming and custom by selecting statement pieces for your hardware and light fixtures. Perhaps consider custom built in shelves and nooks.

Entering from the garage needs to be functional versus spectacular. This area is called the “drop zone” – the place where parents drop their keys, wallets, phones, and purses, and kids drop their backpacks, shoes, sports equipment. Consider all the possibilities to make this area work for your family. Add charging stations for electronics and bulletin boards for messages. Built in shelving and cubbies for each member of the family can help clear the clutter.

2) The Kitchen

From high-end appliances to seating around an oversized island to an enclosed pantry and even the sink, current design trends focus on the kitchen as the focal point of the home, especially in terms of how the family interacts. Things to consider for your functional but beautiful kitchen:

Under cabinet lighting: Nothing says warm and inviting like installing expanded lighting options below your upper cabinetry.

Kitchen nooks: Set aside more than a bit of extra floor space for a kitchen table and create some a substantial space that is a dedicated location where your family can gather for meals, snacks, homework, or private conversation.

Floating Shelves: These create space to display everything from dishes to plants to treasured antiques and family heirlooms.

3) Catering kitchen

Traditionally called a “Butler’s Pantry” in older homes and mansions, this is a small preparation station off the main kitchen and eating area where you or anyone helping can work to prepare things during events while staying out of the way.

3) Home bar & Wine Cellar

This isn’t just a small wet bar area offset from the main room that you keep stocked with a few drinks. Create a room of its own where you can entertain in a truly bar-like atmosphere.

4) Game room

Dedicate a room entirely to free up your family room from the chaos and fun of gaming. Keep all of your activities and electronics out in the middle of high-traffic areas. A game room can contain big items like pinball, shuffleboard and ping pong tables and a big television for gaming.

5) Playroom

When you have young kids, this area can serve as the toddler-friendly space. As your kids age, it can convert into the room where homework gets done – kind of like their version of the large office the grownups have.

6) Outdoor living space

Gone are the days when a luxury home was a fortress. Contemporary high-end homes fully embrace “indoor to outdoor” living. Where and how people spend time on the exterior of the house is just as important as the interior. Invest the time, money, and effort into creating a seamless flow between spaces, and then take the outdoor experience to the next level (and beyond).

Things to include in your outdoor space:

Outdoor kitchen: Make the family’s chef happy by embracing their grilling dreams. This well-appointed space allows the cook to remain outdoors with the rest of the family.

Pool and hot tub: Consider a custom pool, one that first accentuates the geography of your backyard while encouraging the flow of traffic between the outdoor and indoor spaces. And, a hot tub is a perfect place to unwind as a couple by soaking in the bubbling jets.

Outdoor lounge seating with a fire pit or fireplace: No outdoor living space is complete without a comfortable and tasteful place to relax and eat the meal created in that outdoor kitchen.

7) Expansive master bedroom

Everyone needs a quiet cocoon in which to relax, reflect, and recharge. We love the trend that is to develop a luxurious space that mirrors what you enjoy when staying at a high-end hotel. If you can afford the best when you’re abroad, you definitely deserve it at home.

When the end of the day arrives, you need a restorative bedroom with ample space and sumptuous materials, whether it’s your king-size bed, reading nook, curtains, or bedding. This is your place, so you should enjoy it.

8) Spa-style master bathroom

Create the perfect retreat from the rest of world by indulging in your spa-style bathroom. Not just en suite, but a place where you go to truly get away from it all. Which means this is not the place to cut corners.

Walk-in shower: Perhaps even a steam shower with full-body jets, custom tile, and perfect water pressure, you will want to stay in the shower all day.

Standalone tub: Enjoy a long soak in a large tub and watch your worries escape

Personal walk-in closets: Sharing with your spouse is a great idea, but you don’t have to do it all the time. Give your clothes, shoes, and accessories their own private area with enough room to breathe.

Well-Reasoned Closet Space in a Custom-Built Home

Large dressing room: Take the walk-in closet to the next level by expanding it to contain display racks for your shoes, full-length mirrors, couch, and island for arranging your jewelry and other personal decor.


9) Sports area

Family fun time is easy to enjoy when you have a sports area. Your options are endless, but they also depend upon your preferred recreational sport. From built-in basketball courts, tennis courts, putting greens, golf simulators and more, bring your favorite sport to your custom home.

10) Bowling alley

Why not have your own bowling alley? If you love entertaining, what better way to gather with your friends and family than by having a bowling alley right in your own home!


11) Home gym

This year more than ever is the convenience of a home gym an absolute must-have luxury. You can sweat it up in the privacy of your own home – without having to wait for your favorite machine or having any concerns. Complete your home gym with a sauna or a steam shower too.

12) Guest Quarters

Make your guest feel at home with their own space to retreat to when spending the night. The quarters should include a bedroom, a small living space with amenities like a beverage center and coffee maker, and of course a private bathroom. This space can be adjoined to your home or be a separate space altogether.


The possibilities are endless! If you can dream it, we can build it. Don’t stop with this list, as there are many options to customize your home. To view all of the possibilities, visit our gallery or our Houzz page,, where we have been given the “Best of Houzz” Award 6 years running. Our experienced team will listen to what you want in your home and then create the perfect luxury custom home for your family.

We hope our list of custom home features proves useful as you begin to dream about your personal wish list for your new dream home.


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