Stylemakers: Stephanie and Cory Lake
Posted on January 01 2014
This couple curates a private domain of beauty and drama.
Stephanie and Cory Lake describe their style as “formal aesthetic with a casual attitude.” That is, they don’t save their china for a special occasion because every day is special. “What makes us happy and at ease is inhabiting this,” Stephanie says, gesturing around the couple’s living room.
Stephanie designs her own line of jewelry and is creative director of the Bonnie Cashin Foundation; Cory ownsAmerican Guitar Boutique. Together, they sponsor the annual Dress Rehearsal, a fashion-filled evening that benefits a rotating cause of their choosing (last year’s was musical instruments for the Boys & Girls Clubs).
The couple had been searching for a new home for quite some time, waiting for exactly the right thing. “I was preparing for this house for 10 years,” Stephanie says. It’s just blocks from Cory’s childhood home, and they moved into it just weeks before their daughter, Odette, was born.
The Lakes’ previous home was equally lovely, but considerably fuller and darker, showcasing collections and art around every corner, with backdrops of ebony and charcoal. This entire house, Stephanie ruefully admits, is painted the ubiquitous Navajo White: “I had someone in here to paint match, and I was so in love with this ivory home. I was convinced it was some special ivory—and the painter comes in and tells me ‘Yeah, that’s Navajo White.’
“The more refined backdrop of this house lent itself to paring down,” she continues. “Our former home was like a cabinet of curiosities; this is more like a gallery.”
Stephanie’s affinity for her surroundings, possessions, and the stories behind them was honed by training: She holds a doctorate in decorative arts, design history, and material culture. She indoctrinated Cory into the world of loving one’s environment. “I feel so lucky to be living this way,” he says. “We didn’t buy this collection all at once. It’s ever-evolving. Your life is richer when you make changes.”
Stephanie often thinks of Bonnie when designing her jewelry and her home. “Bonnie used to say that there are only so many spheres where you can maintain your environment: your body, your clothing, and then your home. After that, it’s public spaces, which you can’t control,” says Stephanie. “For us, it’s kind of like what they say on the airplane: Put your own oxygen mask on first. Our interior design is vital to being happy and feeling accomplished when we head out there.”
Your favorite local place for home goods:
Spinario. The owners have keen eyes, amazing resources, and only distinctive, high-quality art and furniture. We are lucky to have them in town.
Most surprising place you’ve found a piece you love:
“Agate Days” in Moose Lake. It’s an annual gathering of gem and mineral dealers in a school gym and parking lot. We purchased a colossal, Congolese, museum-worthy, malachite specimen.
How do you incorporate your mentor, fashion designer Bonnie Cashin, into your home?
With her sketches. I look at her work and think of her creative life well lived, and how supportive she was of mine. Her sketches allow me to feel like she is present in the most beautiful way.
-Katie Dohman, Minnesota Monthly