Burke has a critical eye for design. He had a distinctive
vision of what he wanted. He
wanted the bathroom to resemble a Roman bath with European
was to be highly personalized and individualized to suit
all want a bathroom that is beautiful and functional. After all, a
bathroom is the most used room in a house. At times it can be our
precious place of sanctuary and one of the only places where
others usually wont follow.
Greg Burke and his son, Tom, a
sophomore at University School of Milwaukee, moved into a
two-story Colonial house in Fox Point two Januarys ago.
Since the day we moved in, weve
been fixing, painting and expanding the house, Burke said. I
wanted to bring the house back to life.
One of the additions is a turret.
The turret was just the beginning of a dramatic bathroom design
that would follow.
The existing second floor master
bathroom included a separate vanity/dressing area lined with globe
lights and mirrors from floor to ceiling and across the ceiling.
It felt like stepping into a theater dressing room. Burke plans to
change this into a walk-in closet.
Burke met with several contractors
and chose Bartelt-Filo Design Build Remodel of Menomonee Falls to
design an entirely new master bath rather than remodel the
existing bathroom. Bartelt-Filo specializes in custom residential,
commercial and historical renovation projects.
As a former designer of outdoor
play equipment, Burke has a critical eye for design. He had a
distinctive vision of what he wanted. He wanted the bathroom to
resemble a Roman bath with European flair. It was to be highly
personalized and individualized to suit his taste.
Bartelt-Filo came up with the
most exciting plan, Burke added.
A design team that included Chad
Mertz and Tama Sundstrom came up with the idea of adding a turret
in the master bath. The height of the turret from ground level to
peak would be 36 feet.
Burke was thrilled. I liked the
shape and the turret look.
First, the exterior walls had to be
bumped out and a first floor addition had to be added in order to
build the bathroom and square off the house. The decision was made
to make the addition a conservatory.
Burke said, The idea with the
conservatory was to create a room for our African Gray Parrot,
Dennis. I wanted the bird to feel at home.
The conservatory became a place to
show plants and offer refuge for Dennis (although the bird will
remain in his cage). The adjoining room is now a billiard room. A
honey colored oak floor was installed, as well as bookcases and
two walls of windows. The conservatory and billiard room face the
east allowing the Burkes to multiply the view of the surrounding
wooded setting that lines their backyard.
of using traditional porcelain sinks, Burke chose spun
glass bowls from Kohler that
partially rest above the countertop.
Matt Jahns, Bartelt-Filos
project supervisor for the Burke remodel, said that when tackling
any remodel project it can be a surprise to find out what is
behind the existing structure. The house was built in 1941, and in
this case, there were no structural problems.
When the Burkes moved in the cedar
sided house was painted forest green with white trim. With almost
two acres of land that also needed attention, Burke saw the
potential in this Lake Drive home. The house is no longer green;
it is a soft gray with a green tint and cream colored trim, along
with a copper roof on the turret and copper gutters.
We wanted to stay true to the
design of the home. So we incorporated a look that was consistent
with when the house was built, Jahns said.
However, techniques have changed.
For example, wall thickness has changed and the structural
integrity of the floor trusses that would support the bathroom
foundation have changed, Jahns indicated.
Jahns and the crew needed to make
sure the foundation would support a tumbled marble floor in the
bathroom. Tumbled marble has a more natural appearance than a
finished polished marble floor.
Entering the master bath, the
breathtaking octagonal turret is framed by an archway and columns.
The space explodes into an airy light-illed room with a 15 foot
vaulted ceiling. The eight transom windows on each wall of the
turret will display the changing seasons. They illuminate the tub
area and provide natural light.
Designer Sundstrom explained that
it was unusual, but not impossible, to find the perfect Kohler
whirlpool tub with a waterfall faucet that fit into the octagonal
shaped turret. Each end of the tub is shaped like half of a
diamond. The tub deck is integrated into the shower which creates
a bench seat in the shower.
In the evening, wall mounted
sconces shaped like dragonflies will provide ambience in the bath.
A tempered glass shower enclosure is sandwiched by the columns
which in turn are anchored to the wall by the arches.
Instead of using traditional
porcelain sinks, Burke chose spun glass bowls from Kohler that
partially rest above the countertop. Sundstrom called them
Many times this type of sink is
mounted to a wall and the plumbing is visible. In this case, they
are set into limestone counter tops and it was our idea to obscure
the plumbing by gently sandblasting the bottom of the bowl,
A necessity to every bathroom is a
toilet. Bidets arent an essential fixture, but they can be
useful to a bathroom. Burke carried the European theme throughout
the bathroom and selected a matching toilet and bidet set. The
elegant brass fixtures echo those elsewhere in the bathroom. To
complete the room, a faux finish was applied to the walls.
Without a doubt, Burke created
timeless beauty and added elegance to his home. It was a
transformation of a good idea into reality, including all the
ingredients that would blend seamlessly with the existing home.