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A Belgian Style Farmhouse near the shores of Lake Michigan


A month or so ago, while scrolling through the explore page on Instagram, I came across a stunning home that stopped me in my tracks. A new account by Yoanna Kulas, I assumed by the style of interiors that the location was somewhere in Europe. Curious, I got in touch with Yoanna, and found out that in fact, she resides in Winnetka, Illinois. We got chatting, and as luck would have it, she had an upcoming home shoot planned following a trip away with her family. Fast forward a few weeks, and in addition to providing imagery of her beautiful home, she very kindly filled in all the gaps regarding her background and her home project, which I'm excited to share with you today. 

Completed in May last year, this is the second home that Yoanna has built with her husband. Wanting to downsize from their previous home - a large French provincial home on three acres of land - and move closer to the city, nearer the beautiful Lake Michigan in Winnetka, they found just the right property. Surrounded by beautiful trees, Yoanna immediately had a vision for the new home, which she shares with her husband, two sons and two miniature Yorkies. 

Wanting to live a much simpler life and create a lovely environment for her family, Yoanna, a former model, says she was both fascinated and inspired by Belgian style architecture and interiors, and also very much influenced by Scandinavian design. "I always loved fashion, it is a big part of me and defines who I am, my style is simple, feminine and minimalistic. I tried to achieve the same thing with my home, keeping the colour palette neutral, mixing different textures and bringing light inside by choosing the right windows. It was very important to me to be surrounded by beautiful things without clutter and unnecessary objects". In terms of what inspires her, she goes on to say "Most of my inspirations come from travels but I also find Pinterest and Instagram to be extremely helpful in finding new ideas."

Taking two years to complete, Yoanna worked with architect Michael Abraham of Michael Abraham Architecture and Mick De Giulio of De Giulio Design for the kitchen and master bath. She carried out all the other interior (and landscape design) herself, carefully choosing every element including wide plank European White Oak flooring, White Carrara honed marble countertops and custom wood cabinetry. The same approach was applied to the furniture, lighting and accessories. The master bedroom and kitchen lighting is by Belgium brand Delta Light, and the dining room table and benches and kitchen counter stools are by Antwerp-based AM Designs. The living room features Togo sofas and chairs by Ligne Roset, lamps by Flos and hand made hemp rugs from Turkey. 

With a natural eye for design, Yoanna, who was born in Poland and emigrated to the US in 1990, says she developed a strong passion for interior design, architecture and gourmet cooking after having children. Needless to say, the home's award-winning kitchen is a favourite area, where they cook everyday and enjoy family dinners together. Yoanna says she also loves the open floor plan and abundance of natural light that comes in through the huge windows. 

Large-scale art works that feature throughout the home are by Wesley Kimler and Marc Chagall, and the beautiful kitchen china is by Belgium designer Piet Boon. Wanting to create the master bedroom and bathroom as a calming place to relax and unwind, Yoanna chose Gervasoni Ghost furniture by Paola Navone and a beautiful freestanding bath. The gorgeous powder room accessories are by London-based designer Malgorzata Bany, whose work I introduced you to here

Yoanna says that function and livability were hugely important when it came to the design of the home. The incredible indoor-outdoor flow is defined by huge steel and glass doors that open up to a covered barbecue area, where natural timber furniture creates a seamless connection with the interior. Yoanna's landscape design beautifully compliments the exterior of the home, a mix of white stucco and cedar wood, while the custom front door, hand made in Poland, creates quite an impact.   

Photography by Belen Aquino

Huge thanks to Yoanna for sharing her inspiring home with us!

To see more, follow along on Instagram (@yoannasworld). 

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