By Melanie Radzicki McManus | Photography by Shanna Wolf
Lala Duncan was living in New York and working in Los Angeles when her partner, John Rusin, began sending her real estate listings from his home base in the Madison area. But every home was underwhelming. Then one day, Rusin sent a listing for a modern-industrial home on Lake Kegonsa.
“As soon as I saw it, I said, ‘I don’t know where this house is, but this is it,’” she says. Duncan had recently lived in Copenhagen, and missed everything about the Danish capital. This new home in Stoughton reminded her of the quintessential Scandinavian summer house — a contemporary, angular structure with vertical wooden plank siding. So she was instantly drawn to it.
Yet despite her strong pull toward the home, the couple ultimately decided to pass, as they were in no rush to purchase a home. But every home they subsequently considered never measured up to this one. So in February 2021, the couple made an offer on the home. Soon, it was theirs. And they’ve never looked back.
To create the 3,200-square-foot abode, the Schultzes, a Stoughton-based family, tore down an old cottage on the small lot. Ryan Schultz, owner of Opening Design, served as architect; brother Jason Schultz helped with construction; and parents David and Susan Schultz worked as general contractor and interior designer, respectively.
“Modern Scandinavian architecture resonates with me, so I wanted to explore that design aesthetic,” says Ryan. “It’s both rustic and modern at the same time.”
To achieve this goal, the home’s façade features vertical blue spruce siding, porcelain tiles and cast-in-place concrete set with a wood-grain pattern. On the back of the home (the lake side), a sprawling deck sits largely atop the boathouse. Inside the home, a spacious great room features exposed ductwork and Glulam wooden beams, plus a soaring steel fireplace. To the left of the fireplace, a floating staircase serves as the home’s centerpiece. The signature structure, crafted from steel and solid maple, is cantilevered in the space, with no columns underneath the main landing. The home also boasts four bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths and an attached boathouse — which is rare to find in a lake property.
While the staircase is impressive, the lake views can’t be ignored, which spill into the home from the dining room and kitchen, which features floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors. “Being able to look out at the lake is one of my favorite things to do,” says Duncan. “And we have an unobstructed view, because there are so many windows in the home.”
Meanwhile, out in the attached boathouse, you won’t find a boat or any lake-worthy accessories. Instead, it’s home to a well-equipped, 370-square-foot gym, essential to the couple’s careers. Duncan is a virtual personal trainer with The Dog Pound, a New York gym, and lululemon Studio. Rusin is a fitness-industry educator with several different companies.
The two have been in their home nearly two years now, and continue to be thrilled with their choice. For Duncan in particular, the home isn’t just a cool-looking space. It represents hygge, a Scandinavian word that describes coziness and contentment.
“I have never really lived anywhere where I always wanted to go home,” Duncan says. “Now, I’m always looking forward to coming back. Even if we’re staying at nice hotels, nothing compares to our home.”