the second-floor sunroom, Ken Michaels Furniture designers
Michael Carter and Cathy Williams reinvent the traditional
sunroom of florals and wicker with a sophisticated palette of
greige — a gray/beige — yellows, reclaimed woods and a mix
of metals. Gold and brass mix with silver details, and rustic
pieces contrast with glam accents, such as the reclaimed wood
chest and the set of mirrors above the sofa. "We wanted to
nod to the notion that brass and golds are back," Carter
says. "Almost everyone has spent the past decade slowly
converting from all the brass and golds in their homes to all
the silver variations, only for brass to once again come into
the mainstream," Carter says. The chevron pattern on the
chest is more subtle than using the pattern on a rug or pillows,
views of Lake Michigan are an impressive feature of the 2014 Wisconsin
Breast Cancer Showhouse for a Cure, but the architecture of the
Classical Revival Georgian home on East Lafayette Place has secured
its standing in one of Milwaukee’s most distinguished neighborhoods
for more than 100 years.
Add to that
historic-preservationist owners — past and present — and a team
consisting of dozens of designers and volunteers, and this year’s
tour house is indeed a showhouse.
6,158-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-bathroom house was designed by
prestigious Milwaukee architects Ferry and Clas, whose credits include
Milwaukee Central Library, the Capt. Frederick Pabst Mansion, the
Woman’s Club of Wisconsin clubhouse and Cudahy Tower.
poppy and lime green accents brighten up an otherwise gray and
white kitchen. The kitchen had undergone a remodel a number of
years ago, so designer Cheryl Ryan of Kitchens by Design focused
on making the space more inviting through color and fabric.
"With our gray winters, we need some pops of color,"
Ryan says. "I wanted the kitchen to feel like it was a
traveled couple who lived there," she says. For interest,
she wallpapered the inside of the china cabinet and displayed
Asian and African artifacts inside. New stools at the island and
new light fixtures play off the dark brown tones of the granite.
A carved wood piece from Elements East above the range is more
artful than practical, she acknowledges.
The house, known
as the Fitzgerald-Herzfeld Mansion, displays Old-World craftsmanship
throughout, starting in a large foyer lined with quarter-sawn oak
paneling and a coffered, barrel-vaulted plaster ceiling. Other
first-floor architectural highlights include walnut wainscoting in the
living room, 10 1/2-foot ceilings in the dining room and two of the
home’s five fireplaces. A wood-paneled staircase leads to a library,
sunroom and two bedrooms on the second floor. A third-floor features a
large ballroom and a spiral staircase that accesses a rooftop terrace
via a ship-type hatch.
itself is amazing in terms of architectural details, but it’s not a
cookie-cutter version of a classical Georgian," says Alvin
Heitmann, a designer with Ethan Allen. "One of the really
wonderful things about the house is that for a large home it feels
Heitmann’s styling of the dining room was inspired by the
luxury of 1940s Hollywood and the clean lines of early
midcentury design. "I wanted to express the joy of a
champagne celebration into everyday dining," the Ethan
Allen designer says. The existing corset chandelier is a
striking accent over the table. "I chose a round table
because I wanted to create a feeling of intimacy in the room —
friends gathering for dinner in a joyous, compatible
space," Heitmann says. On the table, Heitmann creates an
unexpected grouping of vintage Raymond Loewy dishes and a faux
mink to give the impression of a dinner party in the making, or
perhaps one that has ended. Heitmann imagines the Rondo swivel
chairs right out of a 1930s Gable/Lombard movie or imagery ala
Halston/Manhattan in the 1970s. "They aren’t pigeonholed
to a certain time."
In preparing the
house for this year’s tour, designers juxtapose the classic stylings
of the architecture with fresh visions for modern living. Designers’
individual schemes come together to present a cohesive and fresh
palette that flows throughout.
go into a showhouse you just imagine what things can be like, not
necessarily what you are going to live with," says Cheryl Ryan of
Kitchens by Design. She infused the kitchen with a contemporary color
scheme. "I wanted to show some unexpected touches to give people
ideas and show them things that are current," she says.
reflective silver quality of Lake Michigan, viewed through the
windows of the master bedroom, provided the design inspiration
for Nicholas Konzal of Nicholas Carl Design. "I wanted it
to be really soothing, more in a monochromatic color
palette," Konzal says. "Silvers and grays are really
hot colors right now." Violet accents add a touch of
vibrancy, but it’s texture and pattern that elevate the
luxuriousness of the design. The tete-a-tete is covered in
Barbara Barry fabric; the custom headboard is covered in black
velvet with a geometric pattern shorn into the fabric. Konzal
opted for a grasscloth wall covering, framed by custom molding.
"Pattern (as in a wallpaper) can be overwhelming,"
Konzal says. "Grasscloth doesn’t have an in-your-face
pattern, but still adds textural interest." Specially
designed window treatments keep the views of the lake unimpeded
while adding warmth to the room.
The house has
been painstakingly restored throughout the years by a number of
owners, most recently Randy Bryant and Cecelia Gore, who have owned
the home since 2003. Gore is executive director of the Brewers
Community Foundation; Bryant is president and chief executive officer
of Ten Chimneys Museum in Genesee Depot and president of the Milwaukee
County Historical Society board, among other posts. After many months
of research for historical and architectural accuracy, the owners
began a major restoration of the home and a kitchen renovation.
guest room is a collaboration of Wendy Williams of Wendy Lee
Designs Inc. and Mario and Cathy Costantini, owners of La Lune
Collection. Williams knew which direction the design would go
when she spotted the 1904 green potbellied stove in the room.
"When I first entered the room, it was crowded with
furniture and felt like an afterthought of a guest room,"
she says. The stove and the stained glass on the door called out
to her. The twin beds were deliberate. "One bed means only
one guest or a couple," she says. "So I chose to have
twin beds. That way you can have two friends stay there, or push
the beds together for a couple." The colors — green and
blue, sky and land, air and water — were chosen with La Lune
furniture in mind.
Past owners of
the home included famed Milwaukee architect Alexander Eschweiller, who
eventually converted the house into a two-apartment duplex in the late
1930s. It remained a rental property until it was converted back into
a single-family home in the 1970s. (Milwaukee Bucks great Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar was perhaps its most notable renter.)
The house was
commissioned in 1901 by shipbuilding heir William Fitzgerald, but
construction was halted and the structure dismantled after Fitzgerald
died unexpectedly in 1902. The house was eventually rebuilt according
to the original plans, and Carl and Helena Herzfeld became the owners
in 1906. The Herzfelds are tied to Boston Store, one of the first
department stores in the country.