Wisconsin barn wood and fieldstone create a warm, cozy mood in
the great room of the River Hills home renovated by Wade
Weissmann Architecture, Moore Designs and Peabodyís
embarking on the renovation of their River Hills home, the homeowners
came to the drawing board with family furnishings, previous renovation
experience and four active children, now ages 2 to 11. They teamed
with Wade Weissmann Architecture, Peabodyís Interiors and builder
Moore Designs in a superior collaboration to rework the interior flow
of a 1970s home. The reveal is a thoughtful, relevant and beautiful
family gathering place. Josť Carlino, design director, Peabodyís
Interiors, and Wade Weissmann, principle, Wade Weissmann Architecture,
talk about the project.
M: The great
room is a statement room. What is it saying?
think itís really about rustic and informal living. The room was
transformed to make it cozy. When we first got to the room it had a
very different feeling. We created the existing living room to be the
dining room. Now this room becomes more of the public entertaining
room because we did create a family room adjacent to the kitchen,
which is where the kids live. This is more for entertaining or quiet
time for the parents."
M: What are its
reclaimed barn wood on the ceiling and the reclaimed stone fireplace.
(The fireplace) was moved from the corner of the room to give it a
focal point opposite the bay window. There is a bar adjacent to the
room, which was a hallway before. It serves well for entertaining
since it joins the great room and the dining room."
M: In what ways
do the interior design and architecture work together?
flow of the house really sets the tone for the project. We reworked
renovations and additions that the house had incurred over the years.
We repositioned doors, windows and architectural features that allowed
for better furniture groupings, art and decorative lighting. Then the
palette of materials used for the floors, walls, ceilings and features
could re-emphasize each space to work with its neighbor while
heightening the experience of the interior design when fully
fireplace separating the kitchen and family room was moved to
an outer wall to join the two rooms and improve the views of
the property from the kitchen. A lower ceiling over the island
defines the two spaces. The family room ceiling echoes the
dramatic ceiling of the great room.
M: Describe the
personality of the home design and the homeowners and how they mesh?
homeowners are a young, vibrant couple with young children, and with a
flair for style. The wife had supervised the renovation of several
homes before settling in Milwaukee. Having lived in Texas and on the
East Coast and being from the South, she has a flair for color ó
bold, and what we called zesty, decorating ó adding modern touches
to furniture that had been handed down from family. So itís a
collection of family antiques, comfortable upholstery and formal
shapes, but very informal fabrics and a color palette thatís warm
and fun or Ďmodern zesty.í We embraced what we had and added
pieces that were more in keeping with the scale of the rooms."
M: What is the
function of the hearth room?
children playing; itís quiet time with parents and children; itís
reading to the children. There is always something going on or someone
in the kitchen. Itís the private area where the kids and family are
together; the housekeeper, dogs and pets all are very comfortable
M: What is the
color palette and how did you go about choosing it?
sort of evolved. My experience is that people from different regions
of the country have different tastes in colors. In the south, there
are longer summers and (a tendency toward) brighter colors. We paired
those with darker, richer colors for the Wisconsin winter to make it
feel more comfortable. We used orange, reds, greens and browns."
M: What are the
imperceptible elements of the architectural design that give the house
"Wherever possible we used informal materials to contrast formal
geometries like in the gathering room. There we let the reclaimed barn
wood bring down the space while still providing the soaring ceiling.
The small vestibule entry to that room was given the perfect contrast
by positioning a collection of porcelain against the reclaimed wood.
The biggest change is really not recognized when experiencing the
house, which is the addition of the pantry that helped push out the
kitchen toward the family room, thus opening up the kitchen space into
a well-lit room. Likewise, reclaiming a circulation spine along the
stair from the master closet allowed the house to feel logical in the
general plan organization."
M: If this house
were a painting, in what style would it be?
"Fauvism because of the bright, bold use of color.
Architecturally our inspiration all along was an English cottage in
M: How have the
architectural changes altered the personality of the house?
"Hopefully the context of the property and the style of the house
from the exterior are reinforced by acknowledging the country
influences in the design of the interiors. By refashioning the details
with historic accuracy and simplifying the flow, we have made a more
pure form of the existing house. When experiencing the remodeled
version itís hard to imagine the house in its previous state. The
design team wanted the new version to be logical and comfortable in
vestibule that includes a wet bar leads to the great room.
childrenís bath was gutted and renovated to double as a guest
bathroom for out-of-town visitors. With its arched openings,
white tile and marble tops, itís kid-friendly yet
sophisticated. Josť Carlino and Jennifer Schuppie of Peabodyís
Interiors worked with the homeowners and architect to create and
execute the interior design scheme for the home.
guest room is located on the second floor near the childrenís
existing bed and bedding were the inspiration for the girlís
room. A large-scale floral pattern wallpaper gives the room a
boldness, Carlino says. A cabinet fitted with mirrored doors add
a modern touch. The roomís 11-year-old occupant embellished
the light fixture with handmade paper flowers.
fireplaces add to the English cottage feel of the home. The
outdoor fireplace shares a wall with the great room fireplace.
wanted it to be glamorous and bold and seductive," Carlino
says of the first-floor powder room. Itís accented with dark
purple wallpaper with gold star bursts, modern lighting and a
high-lacquered custom vanity.