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Walking the line
Modern melds with traditional in Lakefront home

Photos by Elisabeth Witt

January 2015

The millwork in the office features a gray-green finish. "I wanted it to feel classic but I didnít want it to feel old and stodgy," says interior designer Amy Carman.

With it's classic symmetry, Cream City brick and black shutters, the Georgian revival brick home along Lake Michigan in Fox Point looks as if it has been there for decades. 

"Part of the clients' goal was to build something timeless," says interior designer Amy Carman of Amy Carman Design, Elm Grove. The previous structure on the property had been torn down before the clients bought the lot, so they were starting with a  blank canvas.

Rustic furnishings in the dining room contrast the formality of the wainscotting.

Carman joined the project before construction began on the 8,000-square-foot, six-bedroom, 6.5-bath house. "At the time I was working on a room in the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse for a Cure, a beautiful East Side mansion built in the early 1920s," Carman says. " I spent a lot of time studying the millwork in that old Georgian mansion." 

The interior selections - from the crown molding to the flooring to the furniture - are influenced by traditional design. "It's a fresh take on traditional," Carman says. "It's a neutral color scheme but there are a lot of layers and a lot of contrast. Its' not boring," 

She chose colors in the midrange of the neutral palette to give the interiors a richer feel. "everything feels very authentic," she says, noting that the dark colors, such as the hand-scraped walnut floors, balance the lighter neutrals of the millwork and wall colors. "It's bright and airy, classic and timeless.  It's something you can live with for a long time."


In the office, distressed leather chairs with classic nailhead trim look very lived in. Oil-rubbed bronze fixtures add contrast and the old books on the shelves add to the roomís story.


Tile set in a herringbone pattern on the floor of the sunroom provides a modern accent to the roomís traditional decor. Walls of windows showcase views of Lake Michigan.

The kitchen features two large islands topped with a natural quartzite material that has the look of petrified wood. "Itís twice as dense as granite," Carman says. The pendant lights above the island are a bit unexpected in a warm brass finish. White cabinetry and a white subway tile backsplash are hallmarks of classic design.

Carman opted to paint the millwork on the lower level black. "At the end of the day, black is a neutral, too. Itís just at the opposite end of the spectrum," she says.



This story ran in the January 2015 issue of: