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Art lives here
Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse celebrates art, architecture and interior design

By JANET RAASCH

 

The expansive oak-paneled room was created from several small rooms and a hallway in a 1929 remodel, and includes a Tudor style cast plaster ceiling designed by Matthew Orlandini. Designer Kerry Shannon for Boston Store Furniture Gallery treats the room as gallery to feature, among other works, the 1992 Roy Lichtenstein "Wallpaper with Blue Floor Interior," two Roberto Matta etchings and Tara Donovan’s "Bluffs," made of buttons and glue. "Art and architecture are the stars here, creating an impactful yet inviting space for conversation or contemplation," Shannon says. "This room’s design is intentionally subdued, textural and tasteful." It debuts pieces from Boston Store’s Lauren Ralph Lauren Lake Shore Drive Collection.


When one of the pre-eminent homes in Milwaukee’s North Point South Historic District went up for sale, Andy Nunemaker knew he had to act. After all, it’s not every day that such a property is on the market. "It was one of five houses in Milwaukee I liked better than mine," says Nunemaker, who lived just two houses away from the mansion at 2221 N. Terrace Ave.

He loves the neighborhood for its location on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, its closeness to downtown and the close-knit feeling among the residents. "I would never want to move from this neighborhood," he says.

So he bought the house, which was built in 1905 for grain merchant William Sawyer, with the intention of restoring it. "I view myself as a caretaker of the home," he says. "I want to make it last for generations to come."

He is collaborating with Milwaukee-area designers in making over the home as this year’s Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse for a Cure. It’s the 15th anniversary of the fundraising showhouse tour, which has raised more than $4 million for breast cancer and prostate cancer research at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Starting last fall, designers, contractors and a cadre of BCS volunteers ­— many of whom have been involved since the very first showhouse ­— have been transforming the historic house into a 21st century showpiece.

"The criteria and challenge to renovate this space was to maintain the traditional character of the home while accommodating the contemporary choices of the homeowner," says Sandra McSweeney of Design Services Inc., who designed the 12-foot-by-18-foot bathroom in the master suite from a dressing room and small compartmentalized bath.

With the antique billiards table as his starting point, Nicholas Konzal of Nicholas Carl Design created focal points in the former dining room using modern art pieces, such as Oliver Herring’s "Chris After Hours of Spitting Food Dye." The large-scale art is flanked by 10-foot windows. Underneath is a handmade mahogany console table topped with a Kenneth Snelson aluminum and stainless steel sculpture. Dermond Peterson pillows were custom-made with the artwork in mind.


The property consists of a main house and a two-story carriage house separated from the residence by a courtyard, totalling about 11,000 square feet. The renovation, led by general contractor Living Space Design-Build Co., involves four floors of the main house, including a complete lower level designed for entertaining with bar, lounge and cabana with access to a new in-ground pool outside.

Designers took their inspiration from the architecture, historic interior detailing and the homeowner’s extensive collection of artwork that ranges from Chagall and Picasso to Reginald Baylor and Dale Chihuly. "Knowing that the designers would have access to one of the most unique modern art collections in the city was exciting," says Nicholas Konzal of Nicholas Carl Design, who redecorated the dining room as a billiards room at the homeowner’s request. "I created the design by paying close attention to the delicate balance of art display and dynamic interior design," he says.

Design Chair Patricia Virnig of Ivy Interiors says the showhouse will be of interest to a wide variety of people. "It appeals to those with an interest in historic homes, those who love art and those who love interior design," she says.

Nunemaker notes that a previous owner of the home, Virginia Booth Vogel, was a collector and patron of the arts. Several of the pieces she and husband William Vogel owned were donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum. "The home has had a history of art," Nunemaker says. "My collection is not even close to hers, but the house is full of art again."

The Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse for a Cure will be open June 2-17. For ticket information, tour hours and related events, go to www.breastcancershowhouse.org


This page clockwise from top: Marcia Klode of Mille Tesori Design Studio acknowledges the home’s traditional past with her design of the breakfast room that includes built-in china and silver cupboards and the authentic call station in the former butler’s pantry. The classic diamond pattern of the black and white ceramic floor and an 1894 August Renoir etching inspire the scheme. MacRae’s architectural table sets a casual tone; a square iron chandelier offers a modern twist.


 


Taupe glass beaded wallcovering and glistening white glass tile used in varying sizes throughout the master bathroom establish a calm feeling in the room designed by Sandra McSweeney of Design Services Inc. David Dimichele’s "Broken Glass" photograph hangs above the bathtub.


 


Custom-painted canvas by Wendy Williams of The Faux Image Ltd. looks like tufted leather on the wall of the dining room. Its Harlequin pattern is also on the silk taffeta fabric of the dining chairs. The wood inlaid dining table from Honquest Furniture is crafted in Italy; Berardaud table settings from George Watts & Sons depict images from the ceiling of the Paris Opera House by artist Marc Chagall.