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Investment property
Initial research pays off as family builds dream home

Photos by Doug Edmunds 

March 2014

Free-form light fixtures over the tables in the living room act as pieces of art, adding interest without taking up visual space. The light fixtures complement the table area when the tables are apart or together, allowing for flexibility when entertaining. The stone on the fireplace adds a textural element to the living room, interior designer Robert Schroeder says, and sets off the burning metal sculpture inside the fireplace. Cerused oak cabinets flank the fireplace.

Years ago, on a trip to Colorado, a house featured in a newspaper home section caught the eye of the traveler. He carried that newspaper home with him to Wisconsin, and when he and his wife began to concept their family dream home, that house influenced the design.

The couple searched the area for the perfect lot on which to build, deciding on an exclusive location in Mequon. From there, they were connected to interior designer Robert Schroeder of RGTS Robert Schroeder Design, referred through family friends. "When we met him we knew immediately we wanted to work with him," the homeowner says. Schroeder assisted the couple in their meticulous search for an architect and builder, eventually selecting Moore Designs Inc., a design/build firm in West Bend. "We were doing this in 2008-2009, in the worst part of the housing downturn," the homeowner says. "We were worried some of the builders weren’t going to be in business.

"We were also looking for a custom home, not a model home from a builder," the homeowner says. "We kept asking (builders) to show us something unique they had done. They were hesitant to show us pictures, saying ‘Just let us know what you like,’ and dropping off 50 or 60 magazines for us to look through."

In Moore, they found a builder who had built numerous custom homes, gaining the clients’ trust and confidence. "After Moore, there wasn’t even a close second," the homeowner says.


Rusty-orange coverings on the chairs in the kitchen complement the polished quartzite island and rich wood of the cherry cabinetry designed by Moore Designs.


Moore’s challenge was to accommodate the clients’ desire for a contemporary design and the subdivision requirements for traditional architecture, which proved to be no small task. Add to that the city’s stringent restrictions on removing certain trees from the lot while accomplishing the homeowners’ desire for an H-shaped floor plan. "We researched architectural designs out of California and Texas and just branded it with our own description," says Dave Moore. He calls the design as organic earthy contemporary. Through the use of stucco, stone and timber work and a metal roof, the design has echoes of a Colorado mountain lodge or Napa Valley retreat. "We were able to marry together their want to have something very contemporary yet still be in keeping with the neighborhood," Lisa Moore says.

A boomerang shape creates privacy along the back of the house, which features a fire pit and outdoor living room with fireplace where the homeowners can enjoy the outdoors in any weather, thanks to powered screens that enclose the space at the touch of a button.

The street-facing side of the house affords nearly complete privacy for the family with garages on either side of the main entry. Upon entering the house, visitors have an expansive view of the rear yard past a custom staircase made of iron and glass with wood accents and timber steps. "At night it’s a beautiful entry to walk into," the homeowner says.

Galleries on either side of the main entry lead to symmetrical rotundas, one near the kitchen, butler’s pantry and family room and the other to the master suite, which rivals any boutique hotel.

The wood batten ceiling in the master bedroom and the striking vinyl headboard are dramatic elements in the master bedroom design. Schroeder’s use of textures — silks, linens and wool — and contrasting light and dark elements, also contribute to the room’s striking look.


With its many windows, the back of the house offers gorgeous views of trees and the natural surroundings, yet maintains privacy with its modified H-shape, which looks something like a boomerang. "The lot was calling for something like this to be done," Dave Moore says.

Bedrooms for the couple’s three children are on the upper level. The lower level is designed for recreation, and includes a movie theater, pool table, pingpong, X-box and a basketball court.

In-wall iPad minis contain control systems for the entire house, put in place by Techteriors. Audio, video, lighting and security is all wired into the Apple-based system, which also can be accessed remotely.

Schroeder says the contemporary interior design takes its cues from the architecture and also the clients’ tastes. "I let the client come through," he says. "It’s their house; I am a guide to get them there."




This story ran in the March 2014 issue of: