Designing Barrington Lifestyles

Interior Design By Katie Wozniak

A couple’s newly designed family lake house combines a touch of formality
with the inviting, comfortable warmth of a Tuscan villa.


story by lisa stamos | Photo by Jim Prisching


The Dream of a Tuscan Style Lakeside Home to Entertain Family and Friends Comes True

For homeowners JoAnn and Dominic, this lake house would be the last one, after having other homes on the same lake over the past 34 years. This would be the one to house 20–25 members of their family, as well as friends, over most weekends from spring to fall. This would be their dream home, with touches of Tuscany brought home with them from their visits to Italy. Here it would all come together—their crowning achievement. “It’s where we will retire,” JoAnn says.

JoAnn had collected a large number of images for her dream home ideas into a large binder. “These were my inspiration images, organized by room, and by style,” she said of the home’s décor, where color would play an important role in its interior design. When she met Katie Wozniak, the owner of Katherine Elizabeth Designs (located in Wynstone’s office park, soon to be relocating to Barrington) she knew it was a match. JoAnn found her through a parade of custom-built homes, and loved the overall style of Wozniak’s design work. “Katie understood our ideas and showed great depth and wonderful access to resources,” JoAnn said. “She’s a great listener, is very thorough, and was able to help us implement our ideas from start to finish.”

Wozniak delivered 3-D, hand-rendered illustrations of the key spaces to her clients, working off the architectural plans for the newly built home. “We carefully considered the look, feel, and functionality throughout the home. Decisions included having a pizza oven (a built-in wall oven beat out a wood burning oven) combined with a coffee bar created a gathering space in the sunroom adjacent to the kitchen,” Wozniak said. Upstairs, a man cave featuring Dominic’s favorite décor includes a bar, table games, cigar deck, its own bathroom, and seating areas. The large upstairs space quickly became a family cave where people gather to watch movies or for parties on the weekend. Dominic is proud that his new home is efficient, with geothermal heating, all LED lighting, and that it’s a smart home he can run from his iPad.

A custom lake house lifestyle is now complete for this couple and their large family, thanks to a strong partnership with their interior designer and her team. Now their focus can shift to JoAnn’s creative weekend pizza parties in the kitchen, or packing coolers to take on the boat, where friends on the lake make a flotilla, tying the boats together. “Everyone knows the routines, their job, and helps contribute something,” JoAnn says of warm weather activities. Her husband Dominic offers a sigh of relief after the construction job of two years, and two more years for the interior design. And while there will always be some minor updates, Dominic says, “We’re done!”

Katie Wozniak, owner of Katherine Elizabeth Designs, loves to begin her projects from an inspiration point, something her client absolutely loves that can be blended with a keen eye toward the functionality of the space she is designing. While some of the homes that she designs, like the one featured here, are very large, she enjoys doing design work for homes of all sizes. As the daughter of the hands-on owner of a custom home design/build firm, Wozniak has a knowledge base of all aspects of home construction first-hand. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Marquette University, which she says helps her with the practical side of her business. Intense, hands-on classes at the Louvre and Cartier locations in Paris with the Parsons College of Design were followed with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Harrington School of Design. Katherine Elizabeth Designs is currently located at 108 S. Wynstone in North Barrington. They are planning a move to Barrington soon. Learn more at To reach Katie Wozniak, email, or call 848-381-9892.