Ruiz endured a serious house hunt — from Hartland to Wauwatosa —
before putting in an offer five years ago on the 1937 Lannon stone
fixer-upper on a dead-end street in West Allis. Yet the house was no
dead end: its good bones realized Ruiz’s remodeling dream.
walked into the house I could immediately see the potential,"
says Ruiz. "It was very well-built, but way out of style."
Out went decades-old butterscotch shag carpeting, lacy kitchen-window
curtains and outdated bathroom tile. A wall between the kitchen and
the living room was removed, and the staircase to the second floor
opened up. Closet-shelving space was quadrupled. Now, a palette of
autumn-inspired hues throughout — like the pumpkin wall at the top
of the staircase, or the kitchen’s milky chocolate walls — marry
with accents such as the Café au Lait granite master-bath vanity, the
breakfast bar’s quartz countertop with mirror chips, and shimmery
glass-tile backsplashes in the kitchen.
with home-remodeling experience (he’s a project manager for his
family’s business, Quality Remodeling Specialists in Pewaukee, and
the house is a showroom for clients), Ruiz kept only the exterior
brick and the house’s frame. Everything else is new, including
copper gutters, the roof, two walk-in showers, shiny stainless-steel
kitchen appliances, and even heated tiled floors. Plumbing, electrical
and HVAC were updated too. Yet there’s a nod to the past in each
room, such as crown moldings in the guest room and reeded-glass doors
on kitchen cabinets.
best part lies in the upstairs master-bath suite, former attic space
converted to two bedrooms in the 1960s that Ruiz gutted to install a
high-end bedroom and bathroom, as well as a skylight. Drawers built
into the bedroom’s half walls store clothing and audio-visual
equipment, and beyond a curved glass-block wall is the room-size
shower with Travertine stone, a heated bench and floors, and shower
heads and body sprays for two (with separate controls).
inclusion in this year’s NARI Spring Home Improvement Showcase
brought Ruiz his best compliment. Not only did it win "Best in
Show," "the people who previously owned it came through and
they were brought to tears," Ruiz says.
is super important to how the space is going to feel," says
Ruiz. He installed top-notch halogen and LED lighting (with tags
to depict the mood, such as "Entertain,"
"Movie" and "Relax") that can transition
with the flip of a switch, whether it’s a football-game
viewing party in front of the 65-inch flat-screen TV, reading in
bed or putzing around in the kitchen making morning coffee.
Throughout the ceiling of the entire home are 3-inch and 4-inch
recessed lights, also on the stairwell steps, and in quirky
spots like a half wall in the master-bedroom suite. All lights
in the home are controlled by electronic dimmers. "I
brought the whole house up to speed for how we live today,"
says Ruiz, adding that thanks to an iPhone app he can easily
"turn off the lights" while lying in bed at night,
simply by tapping his phone.