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Collected casual
Creatives let personal expression rule in midcentury update


October 2012

Three-foot overhangs give the ranch house a sheltered quality, says homeowner Allen Washatko. A new metal roof is a good match for the style of the house and also for its low-maintenance qualities. The deck wraps around the house and offers great views of the three-acre woodland.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

The 1954 Cedarburg ranch wasnít what Allen and Jody Washatko were looking for, but once they saw the property along the banks of Cedar Creek and the adjoining three-acre woodland, they knew they had found their next home. "We had looked for two years for a lot we liked that we could build on," says Allen Washatko, principal in The Kubala Washatko Architects.

The setting was the main attraction; the house itself ó though sturdy and well-built ó was outdated. "We knew we could redo the house to make it adaptable for our lifestyle," Washatko says.

New, larger Marvin casement windows expand the views of Cedar Creek and wooded lot.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

They embarked on an ambitious top-to-bottom remodel of the 2,000-square-foot house, completed in less than four weeks. "We had seven contractors standing at the door at 7 a.m. Monday morning," Washatko says. "By Tuesday noon the house was gutted."

Gone were the blonde wood, soffits and the hand-painted paneling depicting the hometown in Germany of the previous owner. Doors were moved and closets were removed to improve the layout. "We tried to stay in spirit of the house," Washatko says of the changes and the finish selections.

Neutral-toned cross-cut travertine tile on the fireplace is the focal point of the living room. The couple found the forms for making work gloves at an antique sale in Cedarburg and turned them into sculpture.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

The radiant hot water heating system in the houseís ceiling posed some challenges in regard to positioning lighting, but the homeowners like the efficiency of the heating system and worked around it. Energy-efficiency was a prime concern throughout the project, such as the low-maintenance metal roof, LED lighting and dual-flush toilets.

Jody Washatko is a sales and design associate at Lakeside Stoneworks and made tile selections in keeping with the style of the house and also with the interior design scheme, which she describes as "midcentury eclectic." The house is a mix of modern furnishings, antiques and finds from the coupleís world travels. "Certain things just catch us and thatís it, we have to have it," Allen Washatko says.

The floors throughout the one-story ranch are FSC certified cherry wood. Kitchen cabinetry is made from natural beech wood. The counters are a brushed granite and the backsplash is a carrara marble mosaic.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

The coupleís previous home was a historic home in Cedarburg, and many of their furnishings didnít translate to the midcentury modern home. "It took us about two years to get our furnishings right," he says. "With the 8-foot ceilings anything tall makes the room look small."

Tau Corten large format floor tiles in the master bathroom appear to have a metallic patina. The vanity is made from reclaimed redwood the couple obtained from the late Pieter Godfrey, a salvage dealer and preservationist.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

But itís the natural surroundings that have had the most impact on the homeís neutral design. "We both love Japanese architecture and real materials so thatís really what drove us in that direction," Jody Washatko says. "To me the colors on the outside are what come into the house. The house is very balanced as far as color and that is something we wanted to achieve," she says.

A travertine mosaic tile covering the entire wall of the small powder room is a dramatic design element.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

The chalkboard paint behind a Dale Malner painting in the kitchen is a conversation piece when the couple entertain. "When we have a dinner party or gathering we have everyone write their name or doodle on it," Jody Washatko says. "It just loosens people up. With both of us being artists we like to bring that out in others."

"It makes the house less precious when you can write on it," Allen Washatko says. "We like surprises. I think our house reflects that. There is a creative flow to all of it. Itís always changing and never done."


This story ran in the October 2012 issue of: