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Contemporary Casual
Menomonee Falls home blends high design and livability

Photos by Doug Edmunds

July 2015

"The homeowners wanted it to be an open concept for good entertaining," says Betts. A small room beyond the kitchen provides an intimate gathering space for family and friends.

If you are interested in building a contemporary style home but are concerned about blending into a traditional neighborhood, Stephen Betts, an interior designer with SGB Designs Ltd. and Penny Mustard Furniture in Menomonee Falls, says you need not worry.

"It’s a big design dilemma," says Betts. "Clients ask, ‘How do I build a home that is soft contemporary and fits into a salt box neighborhood?’" To accomplish a "soft contemporary" style, he recommends combining traditional building elements and Frank Lloyd Wright-style ceiling architecture — both of which were applied when working with a local couple on their new Menomonee Falls home. Zach Building Company, Oconomowoc, assisted Betts in this endeavor, serving as the project’s exterior architect, general contractor and builder.

People often shy away from contemporary styles, says Betts, because they feel the designs are too cold and not suitable for family life. "The majority of people want it (to feel) warmer because we live a number of months in darkness, cloud and snow," he adds.

Betts worked with the homeowners to ensure their new home’s interior felt "contemporary yet livable," a task achieved through pops of warm color and natural textiles while using locally sourced materials.

Incorporating playful, unexpected design features was equally important. The master bedroom’s shower grout, for example, is embellished with silver glitter, adding a touch of glitz and glamour, and the staircase’s lower base is lined with hand-stacked grey marble, complementing the fireplace’s ivory-toned aesthetic. 

A Thomasville rosewood buffet serves as the focal point of the dining room, which Betts says "transitions toward traditional." The buffet’s ebony granite top completes the ensemble.

The quartz kitchen countertop was scaled larger to fit the size of the space, and the upper kitchen cabinets are made from a striated gray oak, requiring very little stain.


Betts says the lanai situated adjacent to the master bedroom functions as "an extension of the master bedroom," offering a quiet place to read a book or enjoy a cup of coffee. Like the rest of the home, the bedroom walls are painted in summit gray by Sherwin-Williams.

The master bathroom, which Betts describes as "spa contemporary glam," boasts clean lines and lucite adornments. Its most intricate and unusual detail, however, is the shower grout, which is speckled with silver glitter. 

A pedestal bamboo sink and brushed French gold faucet anchor the powder room. "Interestingly enough, this is the only cabinet in the house that’s an espresso color," adds Betts. "Everything else is a gray color."



This story ran in the July 2015 issue of: