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Showplace kitchens
Four projects recognized for great design


July 2013

The remodel of this Mequon home by Fein Design was featured as an extreme home makeover on the "Building Wisconsin" television series.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

Into the Light

In approaching the whole house remodel of their Mequon home, Rob and Amy Prellwitz wanted first to bring in more natural light, particularly in the kitchen. Architect Rory Palubiski of Fein Design brightened up the north-facing room with lots of glass and some skylights. Norm Petersen Cabinets created the clean-lined custom cabinetry and contrasting island. The large granite-topped island from Lakeside Stoneworks is the go-to spot for the Prellwitzes and their three children; it most recently served as a buffet for a family gathering of 35 people. Interior designer Ellen Angelo of EMA Design assisted with finish selections and Mary Lee Hannan of MLH Consulting provided advice on appliances for the revamped space.

Kitchen Refurb

Carmel Builders has completed multiple projects at this River Hills home, the most recent a family room and kitchen update.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

In updating their kitchen, the owners of this River Hills home didnít want a complete overhaul, just some of the same amenities they enjoy in their house in Florida. They kept the cabinets and granite counters, and with the help of Carmel Builders and interior designer Marianne Kohlmann of Blue Hot Design, new appliances and fixtures were retrofitted into the space. Kohlmann selected Kohler Vault sinks and Kalista faucets to give the kitchen a more contemporary edge.

The space adjoins a dining room, family room and great room. A 1997 remodel by Carmel included the great room and a two-story bedroom addition; the 2011 project included the kitchen and the family room, which garnered a 2012 Wisconsin Remodeler of the Year Gold Award.

Interior designer Leslie Dohr recently received the platinum award for residential design by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers for this Lake Drive kitchen remodel.
Photo by Tricia Shay

The Flow Principle

Perhaps when this Lake Drive foursquare was built around the 1920s, it made perfect sense to have the bathroom located between the kitchen and the dining room. And when the house was remodeled in the ensuing decades, maybe there was some logic in stripping the first floor of its architectural details and turning the kitchen into a sea of gray laminate sometime in the 1970s or í80s.

But in the second decade of the 21st century, none of that makes any sense at all.

Enter the team of Leslie Dohr of Leslie Dohr Interior Designs; architect Meg Baniukiewicz, HB Designs; and contractor Dennis Dubnicka, Dubnicka Builders.

"The original space was really very confining," Baniukiewicz says. "The bathroom prohibited the homeowners from being able to see their guests in the dining room. If you were in the kitchen, you were secluded."

So they took it all down to the exterior walls, relocating the bathroom to the back of the house, installing insulation where there previously was none, updating the windows for energy-efficiency and improving the layout for entertaining.

Now the kitchen is efficient, open, with plenty of storage, and itís connected to the dining room. "I like the fact that the kitchen and the dining room are combined but still are separate spaces," Baniukiewicz says. "They are two distinct spaces but work together in making a large space.

"The first floor gets fabulous light and the ceilings were really tall," Baniukiewicz says. "The previous kitchen didnít take advantage of either of those things."

Dohr and Baniukiewicz discovered architectural details still intact on the second floor and reintroduced them on the main floor.

Dohr says the stone on the island, with its bronzes, greens and blues, was the starting point for the roomís color palette.

Custom white cabinetry is offset by the dark wood island, both crafted by Jim Budiac of First Quality Woodwork. Bronze 1-by-1 iridescent tile sparkles under the lighting plan by Steve Klein of Klein Lighting.

Textures, fabrics and rugs combine to give the rooms a coziness, says Dohr. "Even though there is a lot going on, everything just harmonizes with each other," she says.

Maple flooring also unites the two spaces visually, and is warmed by radiant heat that works off the existing boiler.

Oszkay Construction Inc. completed the general contracting and Philip Merrill Interiors did the demolition and finishing work on this Shorewood remodel.
Photo by Adam Bertling

Dream Fulfillers

Since purchasing their Shorewood duplex 12 years ago, Mark and Krista Verhein have been converting it into a single-family home, and planning their dream kitchen for a very long time.

"It was the last major push to combine the electrical, the flow of the entrance and the functionality of the entire space," Krista Verhein says. The plans had been drawn for four years before they started the work in late 2011. "We were just waiting for the right time because we had to move out of the house for eight months," Verhein says.

Through a collaboration among the Verheins, architect Patrick Smith of DesignSmith and longtime friend and interior designer Leah Knox, the couple achieved both their functional and aesthetic goals. The entire space was reimagined within the footprint of the existing house so as not to lose precious outdoor space. "When you donít have a huge backyard even 12 more feet on the back of the house makes a difference," Knox says. "An addition doesnít always have to be the answer."

Half of the first floor was taken down to the studs and a bedroom was knocked down to create the large kitchen area that features an open prep area with seating at the counter, a dining area with banquette and lots of storage.

"They have a large circle of friends and are constantly having people over," Knox says. "In the blueprints I had a hard time understanding how much storage space I was going to have," Verhein says. "It passed my expectations. The design was well thought out for our lifestyle that we lead," she says, noting they entertained 15 people comfortably for a Motherís Day brunch.

Knox added sex appeal in the form of top-of-the-line appliances, Kohler fixtures, marble counters and cork floor laid in a basket-weave pattern. "I love the appliances in general," Verhein says, "because we lived with such poor quality appliances for so long." A built-in Miele coffee maker is the main attraction. "My husband was a reluctant approver, and is now the biggest fan," Verhein says.

Knox received a gold award for residential design from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers for the project.

"Itís the kitchen they were waiting for for so long. It just fits them so well," Knox says. 


This story ran in the July 2013 issue of: