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2019 Commercial Design Awards: You've got personality!

Winning commercial building designs reflect the personality of their tenants.

(page 6 of 12)

Summer House Grill & Bar

Best New Development or Renovation–Restaurant or Bar

Reviving what was a tired “locals” bar and restaurant on the outskirts of Wisconsin Dells and turning into a destination on scenic Lake Delton, the Summer House renovation was a nod to the memories made there. While the existing restaurant and bar’s waterfront location is one of only two dining establishments located directly on Lake Delton, a point of distinction that should have easily attracted tourists and lake-users alike, the building was rundown, outdated, and in desperate need of a major overhaul.

To reach its full potential, the designer’s vision was to create the ultimate waterfront family dining experience complete with rustic summer-inspired décor. The reborn version features a laid-back vibe reminiscent of a quintessential Wisconsin lakeside house. “We’ve all been to these dreary, neighborhood bars, and this looks like it was one of those, and what they were able to convert it into was quite astounding,” marvels one CDA judge. “It uses some of the materials you might find on a fine boat — outdoor planks for example,” he added. “The use of wood was quite successfully done, and it looks like they opened up the building to the outdoors quite a bit more than had previously been the case. In terms of a transformation, this was quite well done.”

Over the years, the building had morphed from a lakeside cabin into a bar, restaurant, and watersport venue, but cobbling together systems, architecture, and building additions posed several challenges. Rather than demolish the building, owners decided to save the structure and invest in renovation, and our CDA judges agree the greenest approach was to reuse the existing structure.

“Hats off to them for trying to work within the existing building,” he remarked. “That’s also important because a restaurant and bar is a place where many people create memories, so they chose to extend that history rather than tear that history down.“

Project credits

Location: 1280 E. Hiawatha Drive, Lake Delton, WI 53940
Owner/Developer: Elvis & Miza Investments LLC
General Contractor/Construction Firm: George Smolinski
Architect/Interior Design Architect: Architectural Design Consultants Inc.
Engineer: Strategic Structural Design
Photography: JakeRost Photography
Completion Date: September 2018

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