A colorfully landscaped fire pit area, crafted by
LandWorks Inc. and M Design Build,
lends additional warmth to the outdoor-entertaining space.
Jim Gleason paints a vivid picture of what he loves
about his newly renovated River Hills home.
“[There was] a doe walking through the backyard with her fawn who was on
wobbly legs, very young,” Gleason says. “She slowed down to let the fawn
catch up before moving on. It was a moment.”
That moment, amid an array of natural wonders and combined with
recreational elements, anchors the inspiration for the home’s exterior
makeover. It was provided by Mequon-based M Design Build, which
coordinated a team of subcontractors. The revamp was finished in 2018,
not long after an interior transformation was completed.
single-again retired owner of two medical technology firms, Gleason
sought the 5-acre property that reminded him of growing up with six
siblings on a large, natural lot in Menomonee Falls. He enlisted
professional help to carve out possibilities for relaxation and
recreation. The result is an array of new structures, as well as his
treasured natural elements.
The thoughtfully designed lanai combines the best
of indoor and outdoor living,
blending fresh air and lush natural views with quality.
The redesigned garage provides fine
accommodations for overnight guests — and also houses
Gleason’s cars, including his prized 1996 Porsche 911
twin turbo, shown here.
22-square-foot lanai attached to the back of the home provides a place
to lounge al fresco with just the right amount of shelter. The key,
according to Gleason and Mike Slawnikowski, M Design Build owner and
president, is the electronically-controlled roll-down screens that
ensure insect-free comfort.
Architect Meg Baniukiewicz of HB Designs LLC in Whitefish Bay designed
the lanai with a single-seam metal roof and columns she concepted to
give an added-dimension to the front door. Baniukiewicz also took cues
from the home’s Cape Cod architecture to build an additional two-story,
three-garage structure that provides an additional living room, kitchen
and sleeping space.
Interior designer Becky Grinwald of Peabody’s Interiors in Milwaukee
infused the garage/living space with a masculine vibe via earthy tones
such as gray, blue, taupe, cream and charcoal, plus wood and metallic
finishes and subtle tribal patterns.
Gleason’s new pool from Great Lakes Pool & Spa
features gorgeous tile work and a faux pebbled bottom. A brightly
striped umbrella from Laacke & Joys adds pop and protection to poolside
Dappled sunlight and lush recliners
from Peabody’s Interiors invite post-swim relaxation.
Gleason opted for a new swimming pool instead of spending more to repair
an existing one and had an outdoor kitchen added to the property. He
also has plotted out a space for croquet. Because he enjoys wildlife,
landscape accommodation was made for bee keeping, attracting bats, birds
and ducks at a shared pond at the far rear of the property.
Landscaping designs complement the indoor-outdoor areas, but do so in a
deliberately unfussy manner, says Bob Diel of LandWorks Inc. in Sussex.
“This is more of an English cottage garden design and landscape,” Diel
says, noting the informal style and the emphasis on blossoming perennial
flowers and boxwood that deter the deer that populate the area.
Diel also points out the wood-chip path leading to the
pond was created from trees removed from the property.
Rounding out the exterior ambience is an audio/visual system that
provides smart-phone-controlled satellite radio and includes more than
10 speakers and subwoofers around the pool. A large, flat-screen
television serves the lanai. The system was installed by Dave Klebenow,
owner of Oak Creek based Precision Audio Video.
The completed design project displays the full
impact of talented local teams working together
to turn homeowner Jim Gleason’s backyard into a welcoming oasis of
comfort, fun and relaxation.
Terry Perschbacher, production manager at M Design Build, coordinated
the multiple subcontractors to maximum effect. Perschbacher says the
exterior project’s details required all of the remodeling experience he
has accrued since the late 1990s.
“There is a lot of negotiating that goes on in this business,”
Perschbacher explains. “It’s really about building relationships and
being in a position to help each other out about what is needed and
within realistic deadlines.”
he says, helped make this project run smoothly. In late June, he was
helping coordinate the finishing touches to the grounds after a cool,
wet spring. “This is one of the best projects that I have done,”
Perschbacher says. “It was just a nice outcome.”