experiences create a high level of design," explains Blavat.
The area rug is from Persian Rug Gallery, Milwaukee. Custom wall
coverings and furniture-like finishes are the work of Yulia Minina
& Paul Steffes, with finish carpentry by Bruce Nordgreen of
Northgreen Builders, LLC, Mequon.
Blavat and Richard Scherer of Deep River Partners, Milwaukee,
encountered a unique experience when recently remodeling a Gothic
Victorian on Milwaukee’s East Side — one in which the homeowner
served as the project’s general contractor. Blavat and Scherer began
working with the homeowner and her husband more than five years ago,
transforming their home into one fit for a contemporary couple.
Blavat and Scherer
initially completed a master plan for the entire home, with the
intention of approaching each portion of the renovation in phases. Since
the home’s original floor plan had no real master bedroom, the
architects combined two bedrooms and an almost "unusable"
bathroom to create a private master suite for the couple. Preserving the
historic integrity of the 1890s-era home was key, so the existing
fireplace was maintained, serving as a natural buffer between the
bedroom and spa-like bathroom.
by Todd Leppien of Stonehouse Tile & Marble, Milwaukee, the
accent tile set in the marble floor creates an area rug feel. The
applied molding on the ceiling mimics this pattern, tying the
floor plane to the ceiling plane.
Not lacking in
amenities, the master bathroom features dual showers, separate toilet
rooms, and heated floors and towel bars. "It’s very modern in
amenities even though it looks so traditional," adds Blavat.
"It is possible to combine modern trends with historic
trends." The bathroom vanity, designed by Ryan Fillinger of A.
Fillinger, Milwaukee, provides a generous amount of built-in usability
— nearly every piece is functional.
Like the bathroom,
the master bedroom maintains a traditional scheme but with an added
freshness. The homeowner worked with interior designer Susan Scherer of
Deep River Partners to keep the room warm and inviting, employing a
monochromatic color scheme. "It truly feels like a great escape at
the end of the workday," she says. The custom millwork, which
appears throughout the historic home, is also the work of Fillinger.
"It was truly
a collaboration," says the homeowner, whose satisfaction with both
the team at Deep River Partners and the finished product — a
sojourn-like master suite — is clear. "They allowed me to grow
and learn, and they gave me enough support and help on everything. I don’t
think this could have been possible with anyone else in this city. They
were true mentors."
walk-in shower’s three dividing towers are lined with oceanside
glass mosaic tile handmade in Mexico. Its iridescent effect
provides contrast against the room’s otherwise neutral tones.
Kevin and Jackie Leis, remodeling the master suite of their Brookfield
home meant incorporating technology-rich features and modern amenities
without compromising the sleek design of the space. The couple retained
Jake Ruiz from QRS Group, Pewaukee, and Marianne Kohlmann from Blue Hot
Design, Glendale, to achieve their vision. Both Ruiz and Kohlmann worked
with the couple on the first-floor renovation of their home.
bathroom, we wanted to incorporate technology without it being
complicated," says Ruiz, who led the architectural, design and
contracting aspects of the project. The result is a digital sound system
that can be manipulated via iPad or iPhone, and a keypad that adjusts
the room’s lighting according to a specified theme.
Italian tile surrounds the Heat & Glo
fireplace. The 2-by-4-inch tiles coordinate with the floor and
wall tiles used throughout the bathroom without directly
square inch of space was also important, so Ruiz added storage wherever
possible, including cabinet space behind each of the two bathroom
mirrors. The less visually appealing necessities, like towel hooks and
the toilet paper holder, are hidden, further enhancing the sleekness of
the space. Other features include heated floors throughout and the
digitally programmable Kohler carwash-style shower. "It’s very
simple, elegant and modern looking but also easy to use," adds
separate the bathroom from the master bedroom, which now serves as a
cozy place of respite. "Because Jake and I had already remodeled
their first floor, I knew they liked sleek and modern design, with an
emphasis on blocks of rich color and original artwork," explains
Kohlmann, who assisted Ruiz with the material selections and interior
design elements. The mural hanging above the Leis’ bed, for example,
was painted by Jackie’s brother, so Kohlmann used the mural’s color
palette as a source of design inspiration.
presence is also felt in the master bedroom, where Ruiz installed a
full-panel surround sound system. The speakers are tactfully concealed
and a digital, theme-specific keypad, similar to the one installed in
the master bathroom, controls the room’s lighting, fan and fireplace
uncommon for projects to be inspired by their natural surroundings, and
such was the case when remodeling the bathroom of a boathouse on
Oconomowoc Lake. "It was definitely inspired by the lake
setting," says Lisa Moore of Moore Designs, Inc., West Bend, who
served as general contractor. The floor, a matted stone tile, resembles
the lake’s rocky shores, and ceiling is made of pecky cypress wood
salvaged from the deconstructed areas of the boathouse itself. The
vanity mirror, which is mounted on the millwork between two windows,
gives off a floating effect, adding to the room’s overall soft and
airy feel. Wade Weissmann of Wade Weissmann Architecture, Brown Deer,
was the project architect.
professionals living in Whitefish Bay, finding a way to accommodate
similar morning routines was key when remodeling their shared master
bathroom. "Their schedules sync up, so when we did the bathroom, we
had to plan for getting them out at the same time," explains
architect Russ LaFrombois of Russ LaFrombois Architects, Milwaukee. The
result is two identical marble-topped vanities, each equipped with a
large mirror to magnify the space. "The design is very
straightforward — simple lines, simple materials and a lot of
light," adds LaFrombois.