Matthew Jahns of Refined Renovations helped the
homeowners reimagine the first floor of this Whitefish
Bay home by opening up space while maintaining a
Photography courtesy of Refined Renovations.
Creating space in any home
remodeling project requires the ability to work within boundaries
and craft a sensible scale that fits the big picture.
Such is the case of two projects
intended to better match needs. One is a refresh of a newer, 15th-floor
condo with Lake Michigan views on Milwaukee’s Prospect Avenue completed
by Nick Konzal of Nicholas Carl Design. The other is a thoughtful
expansion of a modestly sized, prairie-style home in Whitefish Bay
guided by Matthew Jahns of Refined Renovations. Each designer shared his
philosophy regarding space considerations and project details.
All about scale
“This project tested our creativity structurally as well as (how to
respond) to this family’s needs,” Jahns says of the Whitefish Bay
prairie-style home. “We took the home from a small, 1,300-square-foot
house (with three bedrooms and one bath on one floor) to a two-floor
home with four bedrooms and two baths — one a master bath.”
The project involved tearing off the original roof to build the second
floor and reimagining the first floor to more directly connect the
living room, dining room and kitchen. It was done to a scale true to the
prairie style, Jahns says, because the family wanted to preserve the
home’s original character.
Jahns says many of the materials, such as Brazilian sapele wood, help
tie the rooms together while giving each its own personality.
Also, all mechanicals were updated, and more windows — with efficiency
in mind — were added.
Adding storage was part of the challenge. While a small desk nook
occupies a corner of the kitchen area for various family needs, a smart
cabinet unit sits at the top of the stairs on the second floor for
additional bathroom-related items.
The result is appreciated by client Lecia Johnson, who along with her
husband and two children are getting used to the new digs.
“We lived in the home for 12 years before we had it renovated,” Johnson
says. “Over time, and now with children, we had collected a lot of
things and needed more space.”
Johnson says she appreciates modernizing the interior while maintaining
the prairie-style exterior, an architectural style that grew on her. She
says warming up to an open interior concept has taken a little more
time, but adds that it’s more family-friendly.
“The storage, the extra windows and how it all fits our family really
works,” she says.
Reflecting a coastal
“Space is always driven by function,” Konzal says. In this case, his
clients, who also keep a home in Florida, wanted their smaller,
1,500-square-foot condo to emulate that same coastal vibe for
entertaining when in Wisconsin.
Through furnishings and lightly refreshed paint colors, Konzal used a
monochromatic backdrop, weaving various reflective whites, silver and
light grays with occasional splashes of attention-grabbing color.
Taking a cue from a
spectacular lakefront view, designer Nick Konzal of
Nicholas Carl Design gives this living and dining room a
translucent quality with low-back sofas, glass tables
and a crystal light fixture.
Photography by Doug Edmunds
Examples abound in various rooms — each with their
own kind of monochromatic-splash mix.
starburst mirror and sculptural table holding a simple, clean piece of
pottery and sleek candlestick holder set the tone in the foyer. Low-back
sofas were selected to accentuate the living room’s spectacular
lakefront views, while a glass-top coffee table helps open the space and
provides a desired translucent quality. The theme extends to the dining
room, where a 6-foot-wide, glass-top table sits on a custom steel base,
surrounded by white fabric chairs. A crystal light fixture floats above.
statement-making art piece stuns in the foyer, adding a
splash of color to an otherwise whitewashed palette.
Photography by Doug Edmunds
The kitchen and master bedroom offer more white-on-white layering, with
nautical splashes that break up the otherwise white-washed space while
reflecting the clients’ penchant for the coastal life.