Northwest Indiana is home to a remarkable number of scenic views and properties, including many that are somewhat under the radar compared to famous spots such as the Indiana Dunes. One of these is White Oak Farm, a beautiful, all-occasion venue nestled away in Michigan City. Featuring 83 acres of serene fields, woods, meadows, ponds, and trails, the venue has two, beautifully-crafted barns that blend rustic charm with modern amenities.
The location, originally settled over half a century ago by local businessman Harry Frey, caught the eye of Greg and Rebecca Engstrom in 2016 while they were looking for wedding venues for their daughter. Greg Engstrom, who worked in real estate at the time, had the property listed and noticed its scenic, but aging barn.
“We thought, ‘hey, let’s rehab the old barn and have the wedding there,’” Rebecca Engstrom said. “The project kept growing and evolved into much more than rehabbing an old barn. After a lot of calls to contractors and trying to general contract the project ourselves – it became too much. We weren’t getting anywhere.”
The Engstroms turned to Pete Peuquet, CEO of Chester, Inc., a local contracting firm with a history in the community that stretches back nearly as far as the farm itself.
“Greg had known Pete for many years, and as soon as we signed with them, they hit the ground running for us,” Engstrom said. “They were incredibly attentive, knew exactly what we needed, supported our vision, and exceed our expectations by far. There was constant communication, and they always showed a willingness to go above and beyond for us.”
Chester, Inc.’s goal is to serve as a one stop shop that supports their client’s vision. From architecture to the build itself, Chester, Inc.’s in-house teams worked in tandem with the Engstroms to sculpt every aspect of the barns and the landscape into the scenes they saw in their dreams.
“The influence and conversations with Rebecca and her team were creative and exceptionally efficient,” said Chester, Inc. Director of Marketing & Business Development Rich Shields. “The project really shows off the talent in design that our architectural team possesses here at Chester, Inc., and the impeccable detail Rebecca and her team put into all the personalization and beautification of White Oak is breathtaking.”
The final products of the collaboration are White Oak’s Poplar and Cedar barns. Cedar is the larger of the two, with a capacity of up to 300 guests, while Poplar seats up to 100. Both are equipped with features such as bridal suites, luxurious mezzanines, and wood fired pizza ovens, and Cedar even includes a grooms’ quarters with a pool table.
“It’s a must visit for those looking for event space on any level,” Shields said. “The craftsmanship and woodwork that went into the design is exquisite in bringing forth the beauty that the entire venue encompasses today.”
For the Engstroms, White Oak Farm is more than just a venue – it marks the start of a new chapter in their lives as they welcome guests into the space that they worked so hard to build.
“Running something like this was a dream of mine for a long time,” Engstrom said. “Chester, Inc. is a top-notch contractor, and we’d highly recommend them to anyone considering building.”
To learn more about Chester, Inc. and how their quality, hard-working team can create your next project, visit their website at https://www.chesterinc.com.