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Lake effect
Condo's views lure business exec downtown



The furnishings of this Breakwater condo are inspired by the homeowner’s newfound love of Lake Michigan. "This lake is a spectacular morning lake," the homeowner says. "The colors are unbelievable." Haven Interiors designer C.J. Mueller says the design also reflects the homeowner’s world travels and his request for a relaxed yet elegant home. "It was important for him to be comfortable in it and not feel like he was in a show house," she says.

Don’t call this downtown Milwaukee condo a "man cave." The homeowner, a single 50-something business executive, bristles at the suggestion.

He prefers words like "relaxing," "tailored" or "upscale cozy."

"When we met with our client, his request was to create a warm, comfortable home to entertain and to take into account aspects of living on a great lake," says C.J. Mueller, an interior designer with Haven Interiors, Milwaukee.

The Lake Michigan views are what drew the homeowner to the condo and sparked a hobby, too. "Having lived in Milwaukee and the North Shore suburbs for 30 years, I never really acquainted myself with the lake. I (started to take) a personal interest in the lake, reading about it, going to museums and learning about shipwrecks," he says.

That led to Mueller’s "water design" for the condo. "We applied a navy grass cloth wallpaper on the focal wall to be a backdrop for vintage shipwreck maps of Lake Michigan, along with photos from a local artist of Wisconsin coastal lighthouses to create interest as guests find their way into the great room," she says.

The open concept of the living room, dining room and kitchen are ideal for maximizing lake views and for entertaining.

While some downtown condos are all about the modern, Mueller intentionally softened the harsh angles and stark white walls of the condo by using warm, textural, neutral fabrics and colors. And even though drapes were installed to create a softness to the glass walls, they don’t diminish the views. "Because of this I feel like somewhere other than home," says the homeowner, pointing to the lake. "It’s just very relaxing."