and Elizabath Neubauer created their own dream home by
adding a second story to the home they owned. Cornerstone
Studio won a NARI award for this project.
Jim and Elizabeth Neubauer took on the search for their dream
house they were surprised at what they found. Their 1950 Cape Cod
style house located on a quiet street in
Whitefish Bay where they were living had everything they were
looking for well almost everything.
We loved this neighborhood,
Elizabeth said. Our daughter Rachels school
neighbors. Were on a cul de sac with the JCC right behind us.
We loved the first floor of our house. It was the second floor
that needed work.
The Neubauers stopped their search
for a new home and decided to convert their existing home from a
Cape Cod to a 1920s Craftsman style bungalow. Sounds simple, but
maintaining architectural consistency throughout required a
contractor with an eye for details. Enter David Rinka with
Cornerstone Studio. The Neubauer remodel won a Milwaukee NARI
(National Association of
Remodeling Industry) Residential Addition Award for its quality of
work and complexity of the project.
The Neubauer home had two small
bedrooms upstairs and they wanted to add a bath, Rinka said.
What we did was remove the roof, raise the walls and complete a
full two-story. We enlarged both bedrooms, added a bath and
essentially created two bedroom suites.
The Neubauer family moved to the
first floor and remained in the house while Cornerstone built the
second floor. The project took about six months to complete.
Anytime you add a second floor,
you are working in a perilous situation, Rinka said. We made
the job easier by framing the exterior walls on the first floor.
We rented a crane and took out sections at a time.
A particularly perilous situation
arose when a storm with 70-mph winds
threatened the exposed house.
At the time of the storm, the
exterior walls were part of the new roof, Rinka said. We did
not lose a single tarp. Everything was just as it should be.
The night of the windstorm was the
only night the Neubauers didnt stay in their home during
Elizabeth and Jim were involved
with Rinka and his partner, Jay Iverson, in choosing the many
details that went into creating this home. Rinka and Iverson were
concerned with bringing the two floors together so they looked
like a home from the same era. Some of the architectural details
repeated throughout the home include battens, wainscoting and
geometric patterns found throughout the home. The pewter hardware
and three panel doors throughout also reflect the Craftsman style
homes of the 1920s.
The old fireplace was completely
rebuilt by a cabinetmaker to reflect the
geometric pattern of the new home. Ceilings in both living and
dining rooms were redone to reflect the new style as well.
One of the challenges was
telling them we needed to replace the windows on the first floor
to match with the second floor, Rinka said. We knew that the
windows were relatively new, but it had to be done to match the
style. They were very open to everything we suggested. They knew
things would come up as the work went on that had to be evaluated.
Elizabeth spent hours at the
library researching details of Craftsman design. She kept clip
files of looks that she liked and maintained organized files of
photos for each room.
know that Cornerstone appreciated the fact that Elizabeth is so
organized, Jim said. Im so glad we were both open-minded
throughout the entire process because there are so many decisions
to be made.
The new bedroom suites boast
ceilings of almost nine feet in Rachels room to 13 feet in the
master bedroom. The lighting is tucked in cove lighting that
shoots soft light on the ceiling angles. Elizabeth decided to keep
window treatments to a minimum to emphasize the windows and
architecture of the home. Even the beds in Rachels room were
handcrafted to match the style of the home. The new rooms each
have a custom paint job done by Potter the Painter.
We chose to put higher counters
in the new bathrooms which is so nice to use, Elizabeth said.
We didnt go with a whirlpool tub in the master because we
dont know anyone who uses theirs enough to make it worth it.
Instead, we chose two shower heads with four body sprays that we
The master bedroom suite features a
built-in bookshelf and a built-in art niche. Both new bedrooms
have generous window seats and the master suite features a
beautiful stained glass design in the front window.
Yet another newly created space for
the Neubauers from this project is the front porch. The generous
front porch is large enough for a dinner night out and comfy
enough for reading bedtime stories to Rachel. The ceiling is
beaded board and the light fixtures feature the four square
geometric patterns found throughout the home.
The porch is one of our favorite
places in the new house, Elizabeth said. Every time we drive
up to our home now, we are just so happy. It is so beautiful. We
loved our home before, but it just didnt give us the same
feeling. We are so pleased with the project and we never thought
we would do something like this.
The Neubauers arent the only
ones happy with the result.
This is one special project
where I am proud of every detail in it from top to bottom,
Rinka said. The best compliment is when people ask the age of
the house. That shows that it really looks as if it were
constructed in the 20s. That is the best feedback we can get.