In the case of this Whitefish Bay remodeling project, familiarity
breeds harmony, not contempt, as the old saying goes.
Thatís what architect Jim Grote of Cream City Construction,
Milwaukee, and interior designer Karen Kempf of Karen Kempf Interiors,
Waukesha, learned after working on two home remodeling projects for a
The latest project was the first floor in the execís newly
purchased two-story home in Whitefish Bay. Grote says working with her
previously and knowing her style and what furnishings and accents were
of value to her helped him know what to incorporate into the newly
Her tastes, he says, are eclectic ó she likes the old and the
new, the antique and the contemporary. And blending the two was
challenging. The house was built in the mid-1930s, and had a closed-in
feel. Grote managed to work with much of the houseís original
structure, but "the flow of the house is much better. Itís more
open," he says.
The house was what he called a transitional home, and one with few
embellishments ó no crown molding, for example.
Kempf says the newly remodeled space has a West Coast sensibility.
The homeowner previously lived in San Francisco, as did Kempf. She
says they achieved a feeling of serenity and calm through texture and
color. "We took our cues from nature and being on the lake,"
Kempf says. "I think one of the reasons it feels so serene is
that there arenít any jarring changes," Kempf says. "It
has a very soft palette."
For Groteís part, he wanted to create an elegant look to the
space. Without a lot of architectural elements, Grote says it was
easier to go a bit more contemporary, with cleaner lines.
vintage light fixture in the office reflects the homeowner's love
of antiques. The office was once a bedroom with a closet,
but that was removed and floor-to-ceiling cabinets were
built. The window treatments are the same color a walls so
nothing interrupts the eye, says Karen Kempf, interior designer.
The fireplace in
the living room is completely remade and replaces a flagstone one
without a mantle, a style common to homes built in the 1930's.