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Timeless Tuscan
Annual showhouse combines villa architecture and lake views

Photos by Doug Edmunds

June 2015

"The first floor of the home is very traditional in design regarding all the woodwork and architectural details," explain designers Michael Carter and Cathy Williams of Ken Michaels Furniture. "Keeping that in mind, especially in our space (the living room), we decided it was necessary to do a design that complemented, rather than fought against, these design elements." The room’s color palette accentuates these details, and the red leather tufted barrel chairs offer a modern take on Mediterranean style.

Now in its 18th year, the annual Showhouse for a Cure is traditionally held in a historic East Side home, but its presenting organization, WBCS Inc., took a new approach this year, instead selecting a newer home as its 2015 showhouse location. Built in 2004 and designed by Milwaukee-based architectural firm Deep River Partners, Ltd., the Tuscan-style home sits across the street from Atwater Park in Shorewood. "This house was sited on this lot, and in my opinion, it couldn’t have been sited better," says homeowner liaison Ellen Irion.

Above: Interior design duo John Edbauer, ASID, and Jessica Forston of Fringe Home Furnishings, Whitefish Bay, played off the home’s Asian-inspired features and paneled elements when designing the master bedroom. "We really were inspired by the architecture of the house and combining that with an eclectic, casual lifestyle," says Edbauer. The bed covering is by Dwell Studio.

The asymmetrical home’s position on the lot affords 180-degree panoramic views of Lake Michigan. Its multiple levels and warm interior make it feel much more intimate than its square footage (an expansive 5,762 square feet of living space) suggests, which is an attractive feature, says Irion. "Sometimes, the large homes are really hard for people to relate to, but this is a very livable home," she says.

And despite its youthful age, the home itself comes with its own unique history and charm. Its lot, for example, was the last remaining single vacant lot in Shorewood when it was sold, and Asian-inspired decor elements, like a 100-year-old antique iron pot from the Gan’su area of China, introduce a new depth of character.

The showhouse will open its doors on May 29, and tickets are $20 if purchased in advance. The home, which features 13 rooms and more than 20 different design spots, will be on view until June 14. Tickets can be purchased at or at various ticket outlets throughout the area, and all proceeds benefit breast and prostate cancer research at the Medical College of Wisconsin

"It’s a wonderful, big kitchen great for socializing, and we wanted to play up that aspect," says interior designer Betsy Hoke of Sturgeon Interiors, Ltd., Whitefish Bay. Hoke worked together with fellow Sturgeon designer Claudia Francis to foster a place that encouraged people to gather by incorporating multiple seating areas. Aqua and red accents were chosen to help flow in the color schemes from the dining and the living rooms.


For interior designers Deb Zunker and Glenn Mielke of Boston Store Furniture Gallery’s Interior Design Studio, inspiration was drawn from the dining room’s ceiling medallion. "The colors, the texture, the pattern — we pulled it out in the upholstery, especially in the settee, because we thought it mimicked the ceiling’s abstract pattern," explains Zunker. The duo also incorporated eye-catching pieces from Milwaukee’s own David Barnett Gallery throughout the room, again playing off the medallion’s vivid color scheme.




This story ran in the June 2015 issue of: