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Labor of Love
A family-friendly Brookfield home marries modern design and functionality


February 2017

Photo by Doug Edmunds

A perfect blend of design and organization emerged as the ideal solution for a busy physician couple and their three young children as they moved into their newly built, 8,000-square-foot modern craftsman home in northeast Brookfield.

Designer-expediter Ann Schellinger and organizer Nikki Packee of Hubertus-based Milwaukee Home Design and Organizing lent their expertise to the project, which Schellinger says is a showcase of functional design.

“We were able to begin working with this family before their home was built by visiting with them in their Muskego home,” Schellinger says. “This gave us the opportunity to see how they live and what they wanted in the new house.”

A two-story library, complete with a rolling, movable ladder that reaches an expansive array of shelves, sports customized touches, including a window seat and a set of lower windows edged top and bottom in mosaic tile.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

Once they assessed lifestyle and new home needs, Schellinger and Packee went to work coordinating with the builder and specific trade pros to ensure the homeowners’ design and organizational goals were met. “The client(s) can’t always be on site, so our job is to make sure everything is going as planned,” Schellinger explains.

To accommodate a desired interior style that heavily leans to modern craftsman, Schellinger mixed various shades of gray and earth tones with metallic flourishes and an emphasis on texture.

The living room’s signature feature, for example, is a gray porcelain fireplace wall that reaches to a tray ceiling and is imprinted to subtly mimic rising flames. It was exactly the statement the homeowners wanted to make, Schellinger says. Furnishings, also awash in various grays, feature microfiber fabric — a textile that is dually stylish and practical for family use. In-laid ceramic flooring arranged in a herringbone configuration appears as an area rug in the dining room, surrounded by stained oak flooring that extends throughout the home.

The first-floor powder room gushes pure rain forest. The inspiration behind its design was the bamboo sink — the manufacturer’s last of its kind, thanks to the persistence of designer Ann Schellinger.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

The first-floor half bath was designed to meet the clients’ wish to create a rain forest environment and is infused with various green and brown tones. A bamboo sink was a must, so even after the manufacturer had discontinued the clients’ top choice, Schellinger negotiated for a “one-more” production to complete the look.

It is the library — Schellinger’s favorite part of the overall project because of what it meant to her clients — that may best showcase tone, texture and organization. Diagonal oak flooring forms the base for tall, built-in shelving units; a movable, rolling ladder enhances easy access; and an accent strip of octagonal mosaic tiling frames the room’s large windows. The two-story library and adjoining office space include a loft area too.

The overall success of the project, Schellinger says, was found in the ability to work with her clients, who developed their style from what has become a growing idea starter — online design sites.

Clearly sporting a modern feel with a customized hood, stainless steel appliances and granite counters, the kitchen blends softer, craftsman elements with wood-look ceramic backsplash while mixing dark and light stains and paint tones in the cabinetry.
Photo by Doug Edmunds

While the look is important, the home must also function well, Schellinger continues. That’s why much of the storage built in to the kitchen and library accommodates what the children need. Examples include a mini drop-off area in the kitchen for tech and other school needs and craft drawers built into select library cabinets.

According to Schellinger, the reward was helping fulfill the homeowners’ “labor of love” project while making modern work functionally. “A lot of people think modern design is not family-friendly,” she says. “Working together with the homeowners, we were able to meet both expectations.”


This story ran in the February 2017 issue of: