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Industrial Abode
With modern touches and airy designs, this downtown condo is a city lover’s dream.


April 2018

The homeowner’s colorful collection of glass artwork was used as color inspiration for the finishing touches in this airy family room.

Located in the bustling Historic Third Ward, this newly renovated penthouse proves that you can indeed have privacy in the busiest area of the city.

Nick Konzal of Nicholas Carl Design worked closely with homeowners Kathy and Rick Weatherly to completely redesign this historic loft space to fit the family’s needs.

The long layout of the home caused a slight hiccup in the design phase, but tearing the walls down to concrete and studs made the layout feel much more open and airy.

“We blew everything out,” Konzal explains. “We tore every wall out; we went down to the concrete walls, concrete floor (and) concrete ceiling and then built out from there.” The result is a 4,400-square-foot, industrial-style penthouse with three bedrooms, three full baths, a half bath, office, and living and family rooms.

As the space is situated on the top floor of a warehouse, Konzal kept the building’s industrial origins top of mind while creating his design plans. “It’s kind of a blend of (the) industrial area and being more of that warehouse-loft style, but mixed with her style of fun art (and) color,” Konzal says of the design inspiration. “It was really a blend of the client and the environment.”

The hub of the home boasts beautiful walnut floors, ambient lighting under the steps to the living room, a stunning yet sturdy 16-by-6-foot island, and a tweed-patterned wall wrap to bring in texture and soften the look of the kitchen.

To create the industrial look, he sought out brick for exposed columns as well as walls in the living room, and he didn’t have to look far. An original warehouse kitty-corner to the penthouse was being torn down at the time Konzal was building out the space, so he reclaimed several pallets of the original Cream City brick to use in the design.

“(For) those two (columns) that were exposed, we bricked all the way up just to give it a different feel,” Konzal says. “We did several interior walls of just brick, and the client loves those — (they’re) very industrial.”

An original Hunt Slonem painting adds bright pops of color against the authentic Cream City brick lining the penthouse’s living room walls.

To keep the industrial theme warm and modern, Konzal kept finishes to warmer colors, such as golds, browns and whites, as well as bronze finishes and a walnut flooring that had to be craned into the penthouse due to the elevator’s smaller size. Konzal reserved the most square footage to make the hub of the home the proper entertaining space, resulting in an open-concept chef’s kitchen complete with  a 16-by-6-foot island that boasts a curved, walnut-inlayed breakfast counter.

Taking full advantage of the exquisite city view, Konzal designed a cozy sitting area outside the private elevator entrance to the condo with a large bay of windows and a cantilevered, white-tiled canopy, complete with a special LED backlight to create a soft glow — which he lovingly nicknamed “The Cloud.” This unique accent piece isn’t the only part of the penthouse with ambient lighting; Konzal added light under stairs and window sills and additional accent lighting to enhance the city lights through the sizable picture windows.

Dual sinks and mirrors in the master bathroom combine symmetric decor with functionality.

The hub of the home boasts beautiful walnut floors, ambient lighting under the steps to the living room, a stunning yet sturdy 16-by-6-foot island, and a tweed-patterned wall wrap to bring in texture and soften the look of the kitchen.

“It’s designed so that when you are entertaining and there’s all this ambient light it’s not too directional, just a soft glow, and when you’re looking out onto the city, (it’s) all light, and the city lights are coming in. It’s just gorgeous,” he says.

Konzal had the idea to add another impressive light feature to the space: chromotherapy in the shower of the master bathroom. “The theory behind that is if you let light therapy cycle through the colors, that it slowly reduces your stress level and sends your body back to equilibrium,” he explains. Floor-to-ceiling strips alternate soft shades of blue, purple, pink and green to unwind in the relaxing rain shower.

With ambient backlighting over a glossy white tile and banks of windows overlooking downtown, this private elevator entrance provides aserene sitting area, exuding light and breathtaking city views.

The penthouse is nestled in a location perfect for anyone interested in the different restaurants, nightlife and overall lifestyle downtown Milwaukee has to offer, and that location played a part in the open-concept design.

“The design was inspired by the location, by active lifestyle, … (by) enjoying the city and being a part of the city,” Konzal says. “It’s definitely a condo for that — for entertaining (and) having people over.”

Resource Center: How to Re-Create the Look

»The warm walnut flooring used throughout the house was sourced from Gehl Flooring Supply Inc.

»With wallpaper coming back with a vengeance, interior designer Nick Konzal sourced printed wallpaper from Cole and Son (Wallpapers) Ltd. to add texture to rooms.

»The patterned rug from Surya warms the entrance area and adds a bold statement piece to the space.

»Helping to keep the room light, the white settee in the entryway is from Arteriors.

»Ghost chairs in the entrance infuse the area with a modern touch and are available through Vanguard Furniture.

This story ran in the April 2018  issue of: