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Inner farm girl
'Modern' tastes evolve while living in the county



In the home’s mudroom, rustic hickory flooring, zebra print chairs, exposed brick wall and a mule deer antler chandelier made by Kruepke’s father give visitors a peek of what to expect inside.

Sheila Kruepke has come full circle from the 16-year-old teen who was "devastated" when her parents sold their multilevel modern house and bought a condemned farmhouse. "I thought my mom and dad had gone bankrupt," Kruepke recalls, noting her bedroom had "nothing old" in it.

Today, she and husband Jerry are restoring an 1868 farmhouse in West Bend, and Kruepke fully embraces her restoration lineage. "It’s in my blood," she says. "My brother does the same thing. My parents have done half a dozen homes that I can remember."

Kruepke’s parents own the barn next door to the five-acre property and also the surrounding 45 acres on which they raise elk.

The farmhouse renovation included practical matters such as beefing up insulation and replacing windows. "Design-wise, we wanted to keep the integrity and historical look of the home, but with modern conveniences and design," she says.

Her playful eye for design is evident throughout the home. "I don’t like things that match," she says. "People tell me, ‘Did you ever hear of Garanimals when you were a kid?’"

She worked with Kelly Neumann of Vyolette Interior Design Consulting, Milwaukee, to push the design limits, such as bringing in some unique Tracy Porter chandeliers to play off the themes Kruepke had established. "I appreciate the history in the old pieces, especially family heirlooms," Kruepke says. "I wanted to tie them in with fun, modern pieces of furniture."

The couple did much of the work themselves, with some help, of course, from family.

A Tracy Porter rooster chandelier is a glamorous splurge in the butler’s pantry, which includes an antique work bench and overlooks a summer kitchen the couple is restoring.

Exposed Cream City brick walls bridge the shower and tub areas of the master bathroom. The Tracy Porter chandelier and a copper bathtub add elements of luxury to the room.


A playful color palette and exposed wood beams create a warm bedroom environment. 


A Birch and Willow twig light fixture in the dining room plays off the rooster rug under the antique dining room table.

Raw-edged Cambria on the island and a concrete farm sink are unexpected details in the kitchen. Though the footprint of the kitchen didn’t change in the renovation, the Kruepkes changed the room’s layout.

Nature-themed Thilbaut wallpaper plays off the mule deer antler light fixture made by Sheila Kruepke’s father. A copper vessel sink sits atop an antique wash stand.