There’s a collective exhale as you walk into Giuliana and Bill Rancic’s Idaho vacation home in Gozzer Ranch. Perhaps that’s because, upon entering the 4,900-square-foot home perched on the side of Lake Coeur d’Alene—which National Geographic chose as one of the top five lakes in the world—you’re smacked with breathtaking water views through the crystal-clear all-glass folding wall in the cathedral-ceiling great room.
“People have no idea what they are getting into because you can’t see the view from the street,” Bill says of their northwestern hideaway. “Then, when you walk in that front door and turn your head it’s like, wow.”
The couple knocked out the back wall to create a seamless indoor-outdoor living space, revamped the kitchen, ripped out built-ins, and added thoughtful design elements that reflected a more rustic minimalism style. “I wanted to have that cabin feel,” Giuliana says, “but we wanted to keep it really clean, beautiful, and simple.”
To succeed in that vision, the Rancics worked with interior designer Lonni Paul, who was also at the helm of the pair’s homes in Brentwood, California, and Chicago, as well as a handful of other projects. Paul took Bill’s passion for lake views, Giuliana’s “rustic minimalism” mantra, and added in her own ideas of “easy living” to create the ultimate urban lodge.
The result: a home filled with a blend of high-end statement pieces and inexpensive yet functional décor that enhances the property’s natural beauty. The great room, for example, is outfitted with white sofas from Highland House, but covered in performance fabric from Lonni Paul for Duralee. “I wanted their [six-year-old] son, Duke, to come in from the boat with dirty feet and lay on the sofa without anyone worrying,” Paul says. “It’s supposed to be a place for the family to relax and not fuss.”
The furniture, along with the oversize tree-trunk coffee table from Phillips Collection, was also chosen because of its low profile, so that nothing would obstruct the view. “We wanted to make sure that when you’re standing there, you can see the lake,” adds Paul. “Even the lanterns on the Palecek console table are open so they won’t interfere with your sight line.”
So the home’s precious vistas remain intact, sure, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some eye-catching design elements indoors as well. Suspended from the ceiling is an antler chandelier from CDN Antler Designs and a pop of hot pink comes courtesy of the custom neon sign that hangs over the bar.
“I get my crazy ideas late at night,” Giuliana says. “So I texted Lonni at like midnight saying I wanted a neon sign because it’s not something you typically see in a cabin.” Paul was on board, and they decided to use a saying from the Giuliana’s Italian heritage: cent’anni. “It means a toast to 100 years of life, health, good times, happiness, and love,” Giuliana adds.
The craziest idea of all, perhaps, was to create a DIY Instagrammable log wall. “When we removed these big built-in bookshelves near the fireplace, we were left with a hole,” says Giuliana, who also launched her skin care line, Fountain of Truth, early last month. “I thought it could be fun to fill it with logs. We spent days sanding and gluing each log, which we found on Etsy, into place to create a unique showpiece. Now, when people first come in, they ask to take a picture in front of the wall.” Anything for the Gram, right?
The rest of the five-bedroom house follows suit with that simple yet bold balance. The master bedroom has a similar neutral color palette to the great room, but in the master bath, the space gets some modern flair from the sculptural Kohler tub replete with—what else—lake views.
Duke’s room has a traditional bunk bed but gets a playful touch from a bear-shaped bookcase and lighting. And the outdoor patio has a full living and dining furniture set that’s topped off with a high-definition TV.
“We keep those back doors open most of the time, so the indoors really just flows outside,” says Bill. “I get up really early, have my espresso, and watch CNBC out there.”
Giuliana opts to sleep in before joining her husband of ten years with a latte and cozy blanket. “Bill and I chat for a while before Duke gets up,” says the mom of one. “Then once he does, we have breakfast out there together.”
She adds: “This place is really special, and we’re so happy with how it turned out. It’s one thing to see it in pictures, but to actually live in it, be in it, and breathe it—it’s just an incredible feeling. We are truly creating beautiful memories as a family.”
This story was published in Architectural Digest in November 2018.