can sit and relax in comfortable leather wing chairs in
front of a roaring fire at the Shevelands in Delafield.
Helen Sheveland heard company was coming, she headed straight for
the closet. The Shevelands had lived in their Delafield
condominium just a few weeks at the time, but Helen and her
husband Richard wanted to make their home as welcoming as
Their new residence was blessed
with an abundance of big closets closets galore, Helen
says among them a deep catchall storage area near the kitchen
and laundry room. Thats where Helen rummaged through stacks of
unpacked boxes to retrieve a hodgepodge of interesting family
mementos. Arranged atop the kitchen cabinets, the grouping would
create an artful, lively display that would bring a sense of past
and permanence to the home.
Everything up there has a
history, Helen said.
The delightful arrangement includes
colorful tin pretzel cans from her fathers pretzel-making
business, her great grandmothers turkey platter, a relatives
rolling pin, a stuffed rooster, and lots of antique baskets. On
the countertop, greenery spills over the edges of her 79-year-old
fathers metal lunch pail. The items are just a few of the
touches that make the house seem as if the Shevelands have lived
there for years. They also bring home the point that, in this
home, people-comfort was the guiding principle for the condos
The desire of my heart was to
re-create the vintage look I fell in love with in our European
travels, Helen said. What I like is Old English and Italian,
but I didnt want it to seem standoffish. I wanted rooms done so
people could come in off the golf course or tennis court and feel
comfortable and invited.
Every piece of furniture, every
fabric, and every accessory was chosen with that philosophy in
mind. It began with a simple consultation with Nancy Metz,
registered designer with the Boston Store Design Gallery.
We talked about their lifestyle,
Metz said. The Shevelands love to entertain. They wanted their
home to reflect that.
a wall in the great room allowed for plenty of sunlight
and a spectacular view at the Sheveland residence.
I want the furniture to say sit
and enjoy. Have a good time here, Helen said. Guests enter
the Sheveland home through a simple but elegant foyer that offers
visitors an unobstructed preview of the comforts that await. The
14-foot foyer ceiling is graced with a glistening chandelier that
formerly hung in what would have been the dining area just ahead.
A musician and piano teacher, Helen saw a better use for that
space, filling it with a studio grand that, even when silent
reigns as the homes true center.
Helen is the focus here, Dick
said with unabashed pride. She is a
fantastic cook and entertainer. When we have guests, they gather
around wherever she is.
Ironically, though Helen made the
final choices, it was an accessory Dick chose that determined how
interiors would evolve.
When I was just out of college,
I went to an old building that had estate materials for sale,
said Dick who works in real estate management and building
rehabilitation. I found this old painting covered with soot in
a big museum-style frame. Believe it or not, I tried to get the
price down below $15. Then I took it home, threw away the frame,
and had the painting cleaned and reframed.
Collectors have told the Shevelands
that the painting is worth a lot of money, but they wouldnt
dream of parting with it. To them its value lies in being part of
Dicks history. As a bonus, resting on the mantel as it does
today, the painting sets the perfect tone for the Shevelands
casually classic European-style great room, an eclectic room which
combines the artistry of Venetian craftsmanship with English
Flanking the fireplace, two
reclining wing chairs are covered in a happy combination of
leather for elegance and fabric for comfort. A lovely Old English
tapestry in a dramatic mix of plum and green covers the thick sofa
and echoes the shade of the green marble fireplace surround. Plum
corduroy upholstery warms another large chair. A whimsical animal
print tapestry covers the occasional chairs that also provide
extra seating for the dining table. The rich color of all of the
oversize furnishings is set off by the warm frieze carpeting
underfoot and autumn gold paint on the walls.
I didnt want it to reek of
being formal, Helen said. Nancy was so helpful. Her
flexibility and creativity really pulled this all together.
One of the first and most
significant changes the Shevelands made in the dwelling was
removing a wall. Originally placed to divide the living room from
a sunroom, the wall created too great an obstacle to the open,
inviting look Helen craved. Removing the wall not only filled the
great room with light from full windows on both the south and west
exterior walls, it also opened up space for a large dining area.
We regularly have 12 people for
dinner, Helen said.
The beautiful French-style wood
table is flanked by more upholstered chairs with accentuated
cabriole legs. I call them thunder thighs, Helen said.
Sheveland loves to entertain and regularly has 12 people
for dinner, she said.
Through every window, visitors can
enjoy wide views of both formal and informal landscapes. Though in
the home barely a season, the Shevelands have already managed to
plant pine trees and a wide lawn. Helen has plans for making the
most of their outdoor space, but wants to finish the inside first.
I dont want to spend the rest
of my life decorating, she said.
Helen actually calls the dining
area her gathering space. Open to the living area, it also
opens to the outdoors and guests are welcome to enter there
directly from the golf course or yard. Just beyond the dining
area, a bright spacious kitchen is a great place to relax with a
sandwich and cold drink or a cup of tea. With white painted
cabinets, cheerful fruit-filled wallpaper, and a long eat-at
counter flanked with unusually attractive rush-backed stools, the
kitchen provides yet another comfortable space where family and
friends gather. Its galley-style workspace is filled with
convenient extras like pull-out shelves behind the cabinet doors.
Beyond the kitchen a practical
laundry room provides more conveniences including a long drip-dry
bar. With its chicken wire patterned wallpaper, it also makes the
perfect spot for Helen to display favorite items from her
chicken-themed collection. Across the hall, an open staircase
leads to the lower level, the only place in the house where Helens
ideas take a back seat to Dicks suggestions.
I call this the mens club
room, Helen said, pointing out the huge screen television,
green leather sofas and game table. Dicks office opens to the
right and is partitioned from the media room with a glass wall and
framed glass French doors. Helens office also opens off from
the media room well-lit by the sunshine that streams through the
glass walls. Several rooms on the lower level enjoy outdoor views.
I love that everything is
exposed to the outside, Helen said.
The other side of the club room
opens into a comfortable guest suite with a full bath and a bonus
room with lots more closets.
Back on the main floor, the master
bedroom, with its own luxurious bath, features a comfortable brass
bed and lovely view of the adjacent Western Lakes golf course. A
second bedroom and bath are done in soft shades of blue and green.
A convenient two-way linen closet opens from both bath and hall.
Though new to Delafield, the
Shevelands are not newcomers to Waukesha County. They lived in
Brookfield for many years, then moved to Green Lake. It wasnt
long before they realized how isolated they felt from friends and
decided to return to the Milwaukee area.
When we moved back, Dick wanted
to be as far west as he could, Helen said. This is as far
west as I would go. The best part of owning this house was coming
back to the metro area and being close to family and friends.