a one-acre lot in Oconomowoc, Steve Puetzer and Tricia Shayís
modern farmhouse interpretation is surrounded by public green
As husband and
wife photographers ó he advertising and she architectural ó Steve
Puetzer and Tricia Shay have been like-minded in the design of their
farmhouse in a rural Oconomowoc subdivision. "Weíve been
through a couple of different building projects in the past,"
Shay says. "We reclaimed an 1850s log cabin and put all the
details in. We work well together and our choices are really similar.
Itís as much him as it is me."
They worked with
Chicago architect Paul Konstant ó a client of Shayís ó for the
home design, and tapped into other contacts for guidance on colors,
lighting and landscaping, though they made most of the design choices
on their own.
When people ask
them which part of the house is original, they know theyíve
accomplished what they set out to do. "I love that," Shay
says. "We wanted it to be timeless."
Q: Describe the
style of your home.
A: Iíve been
calling it an urban farmhouse. Itís got a traditional farm look, but
itís a little edgier than that.
Q: How does the
farmhouse theme play out throughout the house?
A: Going into an
old farmhouse, thereís something warm and inviting in them, the
house pulls that out. There are no rooms in our house that we donít
use every day. The dining room is part of our living room. The kitchen
is a gathering space and is warm and inviting. Weíre taking a long
time to finish each space. Itís still a work in progress. I found an
old crate in an antique store and put it up on the wall in the powder
room. For me, new pieces donít compare. They donít have the
history or the character that those old pieces have.
Q: The house is
a study in neutrals. Why did you go with a neutral color palette?
A: We have a lot
of hallways throughout the house. To tie rooms together we kept it
neutral through the hallways, with little pops of color here and
there. The powder room is orange; the green of the kitchen I call pea
soup green; a kitchen accent wall of slate blue goes upstairs. The
grays and beiges of the bedroom started from a piece of fabric I
found. Itís a soothing palette for the bedroom.
Tricia Shay says she has learned that itís OK to mix older
pieces and newer ones in the design scheme.
Q: Are those
your photographs in the photos?
A: A lot of
them, yes. The one above the bed is mine. The one of New York is one
of my husbandís. Weíve used some of our images we had printed up
for art shows. It actually all started when for one of Steveís
birthdays I came up with the frame concept just for fun and made the
frame for the New York print. As we find images of ours that work, we
put them up. Itís not so much that I want my images on the wall. We
love collecting other peopleís artwork, too.
Q: There is a
use of organic materials and wood accents in the house. How did that
A: Iím a
hobbyist furniture maker and I love wood. Through MATC in Oak Creek Iíve
been taking the same millwork class with the same group of older
gentlemen for almost seven years now, both semesters. Itís a
creative outlet for me. The console table is rustic walnut; the table
in the entryway is actually reclaimed barn wood from the 1850s. Each
piece of wood is inherently fascinating to me. Furniture should be
clear of cracks and knots, but I gravitate to those. I love the
character they lend to furniture.
Q: Whatís on
your wish list?
A: My biggest
thing is a cool, old dining room table. Iíd like to find an old
harvest table or something like that. Weíre currently working on
plans for making a backyard outdoor entertainment area.
colors along a hallway off the main entrance unify the spaces
treatment fabric inspired the color palette in the master
bedroom. Shay, a hobbyist furniture maker, made the bedside
table, bench and cabinet in the room.
Puetzerís photograph of New York City hangs above a console
made by Shay.