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Building the 'Unbuildable'
Many contractors turned down the offer to build 
the Reynolds home in Delafield, but Klapperich Builders took on the challenge and succeeded.

By DONNA PINSONEAULT

The Reynolds house is multi-leveled in order to accommodate the hilly
lot in which the home was built on in Delafield. The spacious dining room (above) overlooks the foyer and living room below.


"Unbuildable." That’s the term most professionals used to describe the hillside lot across the road from the former home of Gail and Gary Reynolds. Fortunately, the Reynolds didn’t believe them. Neither did Brookfield builder Bill Klapperich. Working with the architect Paul Schultz of SunArc Studios in Oconomowoc and Greg Holm of Peabody Interiors, the collaboration resulted in a welcoming structure with five distinct, but well-integrated levels. It took close to two years to finish, but today the Delafield lot deemed "unbuildable" hosts a nearly 10,000-square-foot home for Gail, Gary, their four children, two dogs and a kitten.

Klapperich calls the endeavor "a happy marriage" of talents among
architect, builder, designer and homeowners.

"We moved tons of stone and earth," Klapperich said, "compacted it and built a 26 course retaining wall to have a buildable site."

Now the house looks as if it has been nestled into this site forever. Visitors wind up a rose-bedecked driveway that curves under a portico at the rear entrance and opens to a wide brick-lined entrance porch at the front. In their foyer, the Reynolds decided to forego the vertical drama imposed by the soaring ceilings that are currently so popular. Here the drama unfolds without lifting the eyes, an intriguing invitation to explore levels above and below on either side or simply wander around the curving rail to see what lies beyond.

Gail leads the way first down to the lower level entertainment room. It’s hard to resist flopping down on one of the comfortable floral upholstered sofas to watch a little TV, but the game room beyond beckons with a jukebox, billiard table and foosball. Family photos nearly cover one wall above the four-foot paneled wainscoting that lines the game and TV rooms.

A massive stone-faced fireplace
in the living room is a warm welcome for guests.


Tucked into the corner, a smaller room, originally intended for storage, houses air hockey and lots of space for children’s toys and games.

"Now that they are getting a little older, we are slowly turning that space into a music room," Gail said.

Back in the entertainment room, there is time to enjoy how the
prolific use of wood creates the feel of an Old World pub.
Klapperich hand-selected the quarter-turned oak that would be used for the cabinetry and curved bar rail. Comfortable bar stools upholstered in leather, a smoky mirror, wine captain and a casually groomed life-size sculpted waiter add to the atmosphere.

A few steps below is the well-equipped workout room. A mirrored wall helps family members fine-tune their workout style and a well-placed TV gives exercisers a chance to catch the latest news.
A pleasant guest room is also on this level. Its adjacent bathroom features a steam shower and sauna.

Back on the main level the spacious dining room features a large rustic table that can be expanded to serve even more diners. Windows overlook a sculpted front yard backed by a grove of tall trees. Through a set of painted columns, the dining room also overlooks the foyer with its striking iron chandelier and the living room below.

The living room enjoys sunlight from walls of arched windows on two sides draped in a lush linen blend. "People are putting in such fabulous windows these days," Holm said. "We like to use panels that frame and enhance the windows rather than covering them up."

A massive stone-faced fireplace with an intricately carved mantel fills the far wall and rises to the 16-foot ceiling in this room. It also warms the intimate sitting room beyond. Colors in the room were influenced by a pair of overstuffed chairs upholstered in a cheerful red print. Textures create the rest of the mood.

Back on the main level, the master suite has ample space for sleeping on a bed luxuriously dressed in fabrics of gold and natural linen and for reading or chatting on two oversized chairs that overlook the pool area in the back yard. An adjacent room houses Gary’s home office. Holm placed a massive framed floor-standing mirror on the wall leading to the master bath where sunny patterned paper helps one greet the morning. The large glass-doored shower offers a multitude of controls for personalized water flow. The bath also has his and her sinks, vanities and storage areas.

Family members enjoy eating
at the large island topped with limestone in the kitchen.


Also on the main level, the kitchen work area is amply lined with new cabinetry and hand-hewn ceiling beams distressed to look old, as well as state-of-the-art appliances.

"I carried a picture of the look I wanted with me everywhere," Gail said.

An eat-at island is topped with limestone and offers comfortable iron stools for seating. Walls painted the color of summer melon, oak floors and simply-trimmed valances provide a cheerful environment for informal family meals in the breakfast area that overlooks the pool and gardens. The pool is currently undergoing a renovation. Originally built to be shallow, the Reynolds are adding a leg for
diving. When finished the pool area will also include a waterfall that serves the outdoor spa, then flows into the pool. In summer, Gail fills the surrounding beds with "lots of flowers."

Two dumb waiters in the kitchen allow homeowners to bring in groceries or deliver food to the pool level without having to negotiate stairs.

Off the kitchen a powder room is dramatically papered in a rich dark red with golds. A few steps below, a mudroom that serves the rear entrance houses four cubbies where each child can stow his or her personal gear.

The main level also houses a well-equipped laundry room, Gail’s office, a cheerful space for multi-tasking and a family room where woven textures, lush draperies, beautiful woods and a corner fireplace create a sense of coziness in the large space.
Klapperich paid special attention to lighting throughout the home. Here hidden lights wash the ceiling with patterns created by intricate wood ceiling beams. Beyond a three-season porch, heated by its own fireplace, is filled with new furniture that, though flawlessly finished, could have easily furnished a farm-house porch in an earlier generation.

The upper floor serves the children. Five-year old Maggie’s room is pastel pretty with a just-her-size "overstuffed" chair upholstered in chenille, a hand-painted table and chair set where she can entertain her guests and lots of room for dancing. The room has its own bath and a storage closet at the top of the back stairs, which Gail cheerfully calls "Barbie’s room," gives Maggie plenty of space to house play equipment.

Across the hall, Dillon’s room is done in deep green and twin brother Sam’s room in blue. The boys share a bath, but older sister Emma has her own bath. Emma chose a French-style color palette for her room softened with sheer curtains on a pewter pole.

"She just loves anything French," Gail said.

Foregoing the cathedral ceiling in the foyer provided upper level space for a large study that will see all four children successfully through their entire education. Here, as in the rest of the home, walls are lightly textured and enhanced with deep baseboards.

Other features that make this home special are not as easy to see.
Underfoot floors are warmed by hot water heating. Special humidifiers and dehumidifiers as well as adjustable water flow systems in the basement make it possible to control environments selectively. The basement also houses the "nerve center" of the sound system throughout the house.

When all is said and done, it seems that those who thought the lot was unbuildable were mistaken. What matters to all involved however, is not that the lot was made useful, but that the family who lives and grows there is satisfied. And there is no mistaking that. "We were thrilled with everyone involved in the project," Gail said. "They all did a great job!"