The pressed tin ceiling inlay was
entirely the homeowner’s idea — and her vision brought
to life. Interior designer Jessica Forston added the
leather bar stools, which balance the kitchen’s modern,
clean-lined aesthetic with the rustic nature of a nearby
informal dining table.
The dining room,
which Forston describes as “casual but formal,” boasts a
custom-made, solid-wood table made in the mountains of
North Carolina. “It was handcrafted to the exact inch,”
Despite having good bones, many homes require certain
tweaks or updates to accommodate their new owners’ wants and needs —
or, in the case of this Kohler area home, an extensive, whole-house
renovation spanning nearly a year’s time.
“When you look at the space in its entirety, we reconfigured it to
better suit the family lifestyle,” says Steven Peskie, principal of
Sheboygan Falls-based Distinctive Design Studio, LLC. The architectural
designer collaborated with the homeowners to transform their home into
one custom-tailored to satisfy the needs of their young family, which
includes five children under the age of 17 and an English bulldog. The
kitchen layout was redesigned to improve functionality, common living
spaces were added, and thoughtful architectural features were
incorporated throughout the home to soften the space.
room combines user-friendly fabrics with playful
touches, like the faux dinosaur skull Forston pulled
specifically to appease the family’s youngest son.
(The family’s bulldog loves this room too.)
“The vaulted ceilings were there originally,”
explains Peskie, “but there was nothing on the ceiling. It felt very
open and cold. … That’s why I prescribed adding the
tongue-and-groove wood beams. They brought some warmth into the
space, and also brought some of (the room’s) height down.” The
beams’ deep, walnut color appears in other areas of the home too,
establishing an overall sense of continuity between the various
As the renovation neared completion, the homeowners enlisted the
expertise of interior designer Jessica Forston of Fringe Interior Design
& Home Furnishings in Whitefish Bay to add the finishing touches.
“Because they have such a busy lifestyle, they wanted to come home to
something that’s nice and soothing,” says Forston, who incorporated a
neutral color palette rich in tone and texture to achieve her clients’
desired look. With five children and a dog roaming about, durability was
imperative, so Forston pulled kid-proof and pet-proof fabrics for each
piece of furniture, from the dining room’s easy-to-wipe leather chairs
to the master bedroom’s custom-made bed frame and headboard.
she based the master bedroom’s interior design off the
existing overhead pendants.
The nightstands’ facades are finished in white shellac,
coordinating with the pendants, and the bedding
complements their geometric pattern.
The master bathroom’s
metal-framework window combines both functionality and
style, flooding both the bathroom and adjacent walk-in
closet with natural light while enhancing the space’s
Inspired by the home’s architecture and Peskie’s
directive to soften and warm the space, Forston also strategically
placed organic elements, including greenery and raw wood, in each
room. “(The homeowners) asked me to pull back the reins on the
modern feel — it was starting to feel too sterile,” she explains.
“Adding little rustic pieces to a modern space makes it feel more
relaxed. Plus, with authentic wood, you’re not going to notice the
dings, scratches and knicks when a child drops a plate on it. (The
flaw) just adds to the character of the piece.”
Additional assistance by Forston included rearranging existing furniture
and styling bookshelves. “It’s helpful to have a fresh eye come in and
switch up the layout,” she says. In the living room, for example, a
strikingly beautiful piano was tucked in the corner, so she moved it to
a different spot, where it now serves as a focal point of the space.
When styling the bookshelves, Forston’s approach involved what she
refers to as the “three-pile rule.” “I ask my clients to divide their
belongings into three piles: the pile that you have to have on your
bookcase, the pile you love but could do without, and then the ‘I
couldn’t care less about it’ pile,” she explains. Forston then works
with each client to add any supplemental items, from well-traveled
accessories and home accents to artwork and books, and styles each shelf
appropriately. “Less is best in bookcases,” she adds.
Now, more than two
years after initially purchasing the home, the homeowners and their
children are settling into their refreshed abode — a refined,
family-friendly retreat that seamlessly blends comfort and functionality
with modern-rustic style.
How to Re-Create the
custom-made, statement-making hood by Wolf is positioned above the
stove’s gas range. subzero-wolf.com
110-inch-long dining room table, which seats 12, is by Charleston Forge,
a furniture company located in North Carolina. The line can be sourced
locally at Fringe Interior Design & Home Furnishings.
kitchen pairs “greige” cabinetry tones with natural wood and natural
quartzite countertops. Architectural designer Steven Peskie sourced the
quartzite from Milwaukee-based K.G. Stevens. kgstevens.com
family room’s reclaimed wood, bluestone-topped coffee table is available
through Fringe Interior Design & Home Furnishings.
master bathroom’s steam shower features the Kohler DTV Prompt digital
showering system, allowing the homeowners to control body sprays and