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Natural Influence
Hubertus home reflects family's deep love of nature

Photos by Doug Edmunds

February 2015

The foyer’s chandelier is constructed from driftwood pieces collected by the couple and their two children at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. A vase filled with natural prairie grasses further enhances the organic feel of the home’s entryway.


For Hubertus-based mother of two Ann Schellinger and her husband, Brian, building a third home together meant the chance to incorporate their family’s favorite pastime — exploring and enjoying nature — into the home’s design. "There’s so much beauty in nature, and we all just enjoy it so much," adds Schellinger, who co-owns and operates a design expediting and organizing business.

The couple’s first two kitchens featured white cabinets, but with two young children in tow, they chose grey/taupe-colored cabinets for their new home. "We learned our lesson," jokes Schellinger. The dining room’s area rug was selected for its resemblance to water. The beams were inspired by a photo seen in M Magazine.

The business, named Milwaukee Home Design and Organizing, aims to bridge the gap often found between a contractor’s expediter and an interior designer, ushering each client through the entire building process from a design standpoint. Drawing from firsthand experience, Schellinger practices a very customized approach. "I always tell each new client, ‘your home should be a representation of your family,’" she says. "It’s very important to get to know the client, what has meaning to their family, and then bring that into their home."

The powder room features the third and final use of authentic barnwood in the home (seen here in the mirror’s reflection) — the other two being in the great room and master bedroom.

Schellinger applied that same philosophy when decorating her own home, where nearly every textile, color and design selection was influenced by nature and has a story behind it. The "nature bowl" perched on the living room’s coffee table, for example, features a rotating assortment of items picked up during the family’s walks, from empty wasp nests to wild bird feathers. The paint color coating the main hallways has meaning, too. "We all enjoy the water and the soothing part of it, so we considered that even down to the paint colors," Schellinger explains. "The paint color through the hallways is called Riverway, and it flows through our home."

Continuing the theme of incorporating natural elements throughout, the master bedroom’s north-facing wall is flanked with real barnwood. The drapes were custom made by Schellinger and her mother-in-law with fabrics from Manhattan Textiles, and the light fixture was designed by Elektra Lights.

But it’s the great room’s barnwood beams that are the true centerpiece of the home, says Schellinger. She wanted to keep every item as authentic as possible, so Schellinger sourced, cleaned and stained the barnwood herself, a process that required not one, but two attempts. "The first set of beams were too small," laments Schellinger. She set out to find additional barnwood, eventually securing pieces from a local metal sculptor in Colgate. "They were originally too heavy, so we had to find someone to cut them. Then we had to call an exterminator because there were powderpost beetles in them," she explains. "It was quite the process, but so worth it." 



This story ran in the February 2015 issue of: