and Nelson purchased the buffet in the dining room from Paris
sight-unseen on eBay.
Hackbarth and Eric Nelson purchased their 1891 Victorian 10 years ago,
it had good bones but no style, Hackbarth says.
They went to work
painting the walls, restaining the woodwork, redoing the floors and
replacing light fixtures. The house began to take on their style and,
like the other places they lived, became a favorite place for family and
friends to gather.
The couple most
recently opened their home in support of the Milwaukee Symphony
Orchestra as this yearís Holiday House.
furnishings in the home of Mark Hackbarth and Eric Nelson have
been collected through the years. Some are family pieces; others
are antique and eBay finds. Hackbarth says a friend once described
his decorating style as "Ralph Lauren on steroids."
But after the
holiday decor has been packed away, the home remains a study in eclectic
design, reflecting the styles of the homeowners. "Our tastes
complement each other," Hackbarth says. "I like things that
people donít expect."
cultivating his design style as a child growing up on Lake Drive in
Whitefish Bay. His father was a particular influence, he says. The late
Milwaukee interior designer Jon Schlagenhaft was a friend whom Hackbarth
loved to bounce ideas off of. "His taste was impeccable,"
Hackbarth says. "I learned a lot from him."
1891 Victorian in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Milwaukee served
as this yearís Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Holiday House.
Rich walls and
textiles create a sensual color story throughout the house. "Red is
one of my favorite colors," Hackbarth says. "I like the energy
of it. It looks good day and night and it doesnít wash you out."
purchased a 60-inch Wolf range from a kitchen design showroom that was
closing, the time was right for a long-awaited kitchen remodel.
Renaissance Design and Renovation took on the challenge of updating the
100-plus-year-old space, replacing ancient plumbing and knob-and-tube
wiring. Taking the walls down to the studs, Jody Ryg of RdR encountered
a few puzzlers in the remodel. The walls were not square and the floors
sloped a full 3 inches from one end of the room to the other. Ryg
compensated by creating custom molding to disguise the deficiencies
along the ceiling and on the island. Ryg also discovered a chimney right
in the middle of a wall that ran the full four floors of the house.
"I took a hammer to the plaster wall and realized the chimney was
old Cream City brick," Ryg says. With the range and the windows
being locked into the design and the expense of removing the chimney
daunting, Ryg acid-washed the brick and designed a china cabinet around
it. Itís now a focal point of the room where the homeownersí Versace
dinnerware is beautifully displayed. An old radiator next to the chimney
received a decorative makeover and a full-height bookshelf displays
Hackbarthís cookbook collection.
Renaissance Design and Renovation received a first place award for
kitchen design from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, one
of six awards the firm received in the 2014 regional competition.
Cabinets: custom-designed Wood Mode; counters: white tundra
granite; faucet: Sigma; chandelier: Savoy.
Hackbarth and Nelson entertain, their guests gather at the 11-foot long
island, and Hackbarth couldnít be happier. "The kitchen is a
dream come true," he says. "I truly love cooking and enjoy
experimenting. Itís a kitchen thatís not just for show."
RdRís Kris Bilty
says the project not only brought the kitchen up to date, but also
preserved the homeís history. "I love that we brought the
character back," she says. "I feel like that kitchen could
have been there forever."