Bowens sought to re-create the feeling of European hotels
70 years have passed since one of Mequons most elegant estates
was constructed in a woodsy glen near Zedler Lane. Horse-drawn
carriages once brought visitors down the winding, one-lane bridle
paths that led to a stable and hunting lodge known as Juniper
Hollow. It was the ultimate gentlemans retreat: a reward for
the time spent working in the city. It was far away from the urban
bustle yet near enough for a days fox hunt.
Even today, time seems to slip away
when driving down these same paths. Although theyre now covered
with asphalt, the narrow roads take the same winding route through
the forest. Branches form a picturesque canopy over the paths,
effectively hiding homes from view. Eventually, theres a break
in the trees, revealing the sprawling expanse of the original
estate. There are 36 homes on the property that once belonged
solely to Juniper Hollow. The current estate consists of about
In June 1998, Jim and Lori Bowen
took their first look at Juniper Hollow. They were originally from
Green Bay, where Jim worked for the Fort Howard Paper Company and
Lori was the primary caregiver for their two children. Retired at
53, Jim wanted to return to a place closer to his roots. His
family is from Whitefish Bay, and he is a graduate from Whitefish
Bay High School. Lori, 40, still had family ties in Green Bay. She
wanted a place that had easy freeway access for her frequent
visits to Green Bay. Juniper Hollow seemed ideally situated to
meet both their needs.
family room is full of historic drama. We wanted the
woodwork to stand out, to be a piece of art, explains
Their first thought was to build a
house in Mequon. But their search for land didnt turn up an
acceptable piece of property. At a relatives urging, they drove
out to Juniper Hollow. It wasnt love at first sight. The
property had been on the market for two years. Although the estate
was impressive, it needed extensive work. The house had undergone
some updating over the years, but much of the major systems hadnt
been touched since it was built. The roof and insulation were
overdue for some attention, and the electrical, heating and
plumbing systems also were inadequate for todays lifestyles. It
was a daunting project.
Yet the Bowens were charmed by the
homes unique nature. Photos of the original estate revealed
that successive owners had stayed true to the homes design. Not
intended for a residence, it still had the layout of a lodge and
adjoining stable. Combined, the complex formed a 7,000-square-foot
ranch. It had a main living area and a large central hallway that
linked extensive wings. The home had the warm, cozy feel of an
English country estate. Amenities included six original fireplaces
(two of which recently have been converted to gas). There were 14
doors leading to the outside; many of these are the original
stable doors. These heavy, paneled Dutch doors now gleam with
fresh paint and the luster of restored antique hardware. Extra
touches included an abundance of elaborate millwork and keystone
The Bowens agreed it would be a
wonderful place to raise kids, entertain company and enjoy a
beautiful natural setting. According to Lori, the homes
restoration would be a great retirement project for Jim, and was
something she could participate in, too.
most elaborate transformation
took place in the kitchen, completely gutted and rebuilt.
They purchased the property for
$760,000 and promptly began searching for a builder to help turn
their dreams into realities. They came to a meeting of minds with
representatives from Bartelt Filo in Menomonee Falls. The firm had
extensive experience with historic remodels, and it was known for
the quality of its work and especially its cabinetry. The firm had
won numerous national awards from the National Association of
Remodeling Industry, including National Contractor of the Year.
Bartelt Filo president Rick Filo was the projects expeditor.
ince the home was not originally a
residence, we had to get creative to bring it up to the 21st
century, Rick Filo recalls. Because the house was
constructed so well, it was especially difficult to take apart.
The challenges during remodeling presented a number of
opportunities to improve the homes design without disturbing
its unique appeal.
During this time, the Bowens spent
14 months in a tiny apartment on the property. They barely had
room for their belongings, let alone two young children (now ages
six and eight).
Like many vintage homes, Juniper
Hollow had been subdivided into a series of tiny rooms. The
remodeling firms mission was to open up the floor place and
improve access to the living quarters. Aesthetic issues played
a huge part in the renovation, Rick Filo says. We paid
meticulous attention to detailing in order to recapture the
gracious style of the original estate. The projects senior
designer was Geoffrey Ladish Gabor.
More than $500,000 was spent on the
six-month remodeling project, (during which, Rick Filo had daily
contact with the Bowens) with spectacular results. The area
formerly used as stables now houses a master bedroom, master bath,
dressing room and the childrens wing. The new activity center
was formerly a screen porch. The guest bedroom, guest bath and
laundry room were originally the caretakers quarters.
Cabinetry was largely responsible for
the homes elaborate millwork.
One of the homes new highlights
is a dressing room and closet for the master bath. The closets
were custom-made in cherry, featuring fluted columns dividing the
clothing sections. The room has the grace and cool elegance of a
Ralph Lauren mens store.
Perhaps the most elaborate
transformation took place in the kitchen. This area was completely
gutted and rebuilt. During construction, the original fieldstone
on the kitchens exterior was removed, cleaned and replaced as
part of the ceiling and wall restoration. The formerly cramped,
low-ceilinged kitchen now beams with light, thanks to new Pella
windows and a vaulted ceiling.
During remodeling, the original
butlers pantry was removed and replaced with a planning desk
that is large enough to hold a computerized recipe system. A focal
point of the kitchen is a large cherry hutch that matches the desk
and the rest of the cabinetry. The rest of the kitchen features
dark green granite counter tops, pewter and brushed nickel faucets
and hardware pulls, and white oak plank flooring that matches some
of the original floors.
he kitchens glass-fronted
cabinets feature a striking inlay of cherry beading that frames
the doors. The glass doors are handmade replicas of fine cabinetry
from the 1920s, with zinc grids. Although the leaded glass is new,
it has the slightly distorted look of antique glass panes.
Appliances are upscale as well, with a Viking griddle and grill
and twin Sub-Zero refrigerators.
Although the interior kitchen work
was extensive, the exterior is a flawless re-creation of the
original. Were very proud of retaining the historic
integrity of the property, Rick says. Not surprisingly, the
project won a 1999 National Association of Remodeling Industry
award for historic renovation.
The family room, too, is a dramatic
showpiece. The entry is a keystone archway that is a superior
example of the cabinetmakers art. Its made of cherry, as is
a concealed entertainment center that houses a TV/VCR on one side
of the fireplace, and stereo equipment on the other. An integrated
speaker system was added to the adjacent three-room area. We
wanted the woodwork to stand out, to be a piece of art, Lori
The homes elaborate millwork was
faithfully replicated in wall and window trims. Customized forms
had to be constructed to reproduce the desired results. The roof
also got a custom treatment. Its cedar shakes are larger and
thicker than average to producer a heavier, English appearance.