conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Clean Sophistication
A newly built Lake Country home effortlessly fuses
function and style.


Jan. 2018

Subtle pops of color complement — but don’t distract from — the kitchen’s
stunning countertop and backsplash.

Interior designers are no strangers to relationship building. Referrals become one-time clients, and one-time clients become repeat clients. So when a young family of three sought interior design assistance for their newly built Lake Country home, they turned to Warren Barnett Interiors — and the staff they had previously worked with: Director of Design Emily Ebben and interior designer Mary Lewandowski, WRID — for help.

“We’ve had a relationship with the homeowner for years, so that part made it really fun,” says Ebben of the design process. “We knew what her family required in terms of living.”

To start, practicality and durability were top priorities. “They get my style, and they really helped me find things that are good-looking and functional,” notes the homeowner, who says she isn’t afraid of her toddler jumping on the living room sectional.

Despite the room’s size and floor-to-ceiling windows, Emily Ebben, director of design for Warren Barnett Interiors, and Mary Lewandowski, WRID, an interior designer at the company, worked to ensure the space still exuded warmth.

Highlighting the home’s interior architectural features was also imperative. “The homeowner had a pretty clear grasp of (residential) architecture, so we worked with her to enhance the design of the house,” explains Ebben. “There’s a clean sophistication, but it’s still very livable and comfortable. It’s not your average lake home.”

“It’s Lake Country, but still hip,” echoes the homeowner, adding that the home’s open-concept floor plan was entirely intentional. “The back wall of the house was built with steel (to serve as the foundation) because I didn’t want any walls blocking anything. I wanted to be able to see from one end of the house to the other.”

“It’s pretty monochromatic, but has a very soft, inviting look,” says Ebben of the master bedroom. “That room is all about the view.”

Rich, navy velvet chairs by Thayer Coggin and a statement-making piece of art, all sourced from Warren Barnett Interiors, anchor the lower-level seating area.

And yet, Ebben and Lewandowski worked closely with the homeowner to ensure the space radiated a certain sense of warmth and coziness. “Although it’s an open-concept layout, we didn’t want it to feel cold, so fabrics and textures played a huge role in keeping it warm,” Ebben explains. In the living room alone, the leather lounge chair and adjacent ottoman are modern yet inviting, while the upholstered, Century Furniture sectional provides a cozy respite for the entire family. Additional fabrics and textures are layered throughout the space, found in throw pillows, lighting and more, and the homeowner’s favorite pieces, a pair of Thayer Coggin end chairs, flank the room’s west end. “We added a seating area by the big, beautiful windows because we didn’t want to ignore that space,” says Ebben. “The chairs are swivel. (The homeowners) can have coffee in the morning or a drink at night, and swivel around and enjoy the views.”

A seamless mix of fabrics and textures continues upstairs in the master bedroom, where a patterned area rug — also a homeowner favorite — grounds the space. “(She’s) loved that rug since we worked with her previously,” Ebben says. Incorporating the piece into the design of the new home was a sentimental and thoughtful touch.

The lower-level bar area is the entertaining hub of the home. “To enhance the bar, the fabricand- leather combination on the bar stools is a chic way to still be functional — fabric on the back (and) leather on the inside, so (the fabric) can’t be damaged,” notes Ebben.

When asked to describe her favorite part of the process, it’s clear Ebben appreciates the opportunity to work with like-minded clients and understands that the ultimate success is bringing their vision to life. “I think it’s one of the most spectacular new builds we’ve worked on,” she says. “That being said, it’s very much my taste in architecture. But also, the collaboration between Mary, the homeowner and I — that part was really fun.”

Resource Center: How to Re-Create the Look

»Signature Builder Inc., a Pewaukee-based company, served as the home’s architect and builder.

»An exercise in conservation, walnut wood harvested from the property was used to construct the living room’s built-in cabinets and coffee table.

»The homeowners’ “Beastie” sculptures — by Wisconsin native Dennis Pearson — are peppered throughout the home. (Pearson has reportedly ended production of these popular sculptures.)

»The artwork hanging above the living room fireplace is by local artist Peter Kudlata. His work is on display at Warren Barnett Interiors.

»In the master bedroom, an upholstered bed and artwork introduce new tones and textures. The bed, a custom Warren Barnett Interiors piece, can be sourced directly through the store.

This story ran in the Jan. 2018  issue of: