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Not just a pretty view
"It’s one of the most sought after types of property in our market and holds its value better than any other kind because they just don’t make it anymore. It is also a big responsibility because ownership means you are effectively an environmental steward as well as a property owner," says Mike Ruzicka, president of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.
From front to back
For homeowner and landscaper alike, meeting aesthetic and functional needs is ultimately important. "The key to a good landscape is listening and giving advice," says Mike Manke, landscape architect for LandCrafters in Wauwatosa and New Berlin. "You have to look at the home’s architecture and also the architecture of the neighborhood."
A professional perspective
Moving into a new house is like stepping onto a blank canvas. With so many possibilities, where do you start? Luckily, you can find a partner in an interior designer with experience transforming client wishes into reality.
Real Talk: Can a zero-net-energy home be achieved in Milwaukee?
"The first thing to understand about ‘zero-energy homes,’" says Steve Homa of Muskego-based PEA Builders Inc., "is that no home by itself can really ever be zero energy. Whether it be (in) Wisconsin or Arizona, at some point in time it will be too hot or too cold to sustain a comfortable temperature.
A personalized retreat
The master bedroom should be a place to escape the haste of everyday life, but for many homeowners the retreat often resembles a bad hotel room: a bed, a picture above the headboard, double nightstands with lamps, maybe a chair.
What women want
From her condo’s vantage point, where the Historic Third and Fifth wards meet, Nancy Lindenberg can view the city’s active urban landscape, stretched out from the confluence of the Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers.
Get the look: Easy Breezy
When Veronica Sosa Agnoli and her husband, Robert Conley, bought their Pewaukee home four years ago, its interior was cast in red and gold hues, loud wallpaper covered the walls, and honey-oak woodwork framed every window and door.
Countertop Counterpart
If you’re looking for the perfect counter for your kitchen, check out the profiles of these popular options.
Ultimate kitchens
Some kitchen makeovers just don’t work. That’s what the new owners of a nearly 100-year-old home on Milwaukee’s East Side discovered with their kitchen. Despite recent remodeling, the kitchen was neither functional nor beautiful. It did not match the character of the rest of the home.
Challenging the status quo
Tucked between spec colonials along the Lower Nemahbin Lake shoreline is a private residence roused to challenge the status quo. In an area branded for its sprawling suburbanism, the contemporary pied-à-terre both acknowledges and defies its surroundings. But that doesn’t mean this dwelling sticks out like a sore thumb.
Extended potential
Any residential landscape is potentially a feast for the eyes, especially in its blend of color and texture throughout hardscapes and plantings.
Light-filled lake home
"We wanted to create a perfect relaxing getaway space for easy lakeside living," say Jessica Forston and John Edbauer of Fringe Interior Design & Home Furnishings, designers participating in Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse Inc.’s annual Showhouse for a Cure. In fact, it seems most of the designers shared that goal for this year’s home on Oconomowoc Lake.
The careful edit
For Paul Apfelbach of Mequon, restoring historic homes is more than just a day job — it’s a passion. "I have a passion to resolve nonroutine solutions versus everything being prepackaged the way new construction is," says Apfelbach, whose many hats include real estate developer, residential broker and home-restoration expert.
Factoring in
Every great landscape begins with a plan. While the amount of space is an obvious parameter to any design, three local designers point to other factors. Peter Kudlata, principal of Flagstone in Cedarburg, Wendy Wiza, a staff designer at Hartland-based Century Landscaping, and Steve Brown, president of Outdoor Accents in Thiensville, emphasize architecture/spatial relationships, function, focal points and municipal codes over lot size.
Outdoor flow
With a need to elevate an outdoor living environment to match a newly created interior, Whitefish Bay homeowners conquered the challenge with the help of local landscape and architectural experts who know their way around creating seamless transitions.
Secluded escape
When homeowners Dawn and Cameron Knuth bought their property in Nashotah, the couple instantly knew the nearly 1-acre lot adjacent to a bounty of woods and wildlife would make the ultimate backyard paradise.
Historic homes
In the late 19th century, the splendor of the Gilded Age was in full effect as rapid industrialization and economic growth propelled the country forward. Much of the growth happened in the northern United States, including in Milwaukee — a bustling beacon during an era of grace and beauty. 
Everyday glamour
When Pamela Coleman and her husband moved into their 20th-century Classic Georgian Fox Point home, the living room wasn’t exactly inviting. With red walls, inadequate seating and insufficient lighting, it had all the stuffy feelings of an antiquated parlor. Far from reflective of Coleman’s warm personality, the room went virtually unused for years.
Playful plates
There are few design essentials that transcend interior styles as effortlessly as the subway tile. It is as equally at home in a contemporary bathroom as it is in a traditional country kitchen. But to say subway tile is making a comeback may be disregarding its endurance throughout a century of American design.
Connectivity reigns
When a Menomonee Falls family enlisted David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc. to make over their existing backyard patio, they had one goal — to create a place where they could come together as a family.
Defined spaces
A landscape project completed during a new home construction in Mequon achieved a twofold purpose: providing necessary drainage for a structure designed without gutters and downspouts as well as crafting attractive, multifaceted outdoor living spaces.
The modern tree house
When a Milwaukee architect helped a Portage-based couple move to Madison to better suit their careers, he also assisted in their transition from an 1880s Victorian/Italianate to a new millennium modern.
Harnessing the power of color
When it comes to choosing the right hues for your home, heeding the practice of color psychology probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind. Yet between all those fan decks, paint samples and fabric swatches is a world of emotion waiting to be tapped into — and it could significantly change the feel of your home.
Boosting the backyard
According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the top three most requested outdoor design elements for 2015 were fire pits, lighting and grills. Other popular choices were pergolas and decks and spa features like hot tubs, saunas and swimming pools.
High-end home trends
Although open floor plans and clean lines still dominate local home design, Milwaukee area designers are seeing homeowners increasingly embrace design trends that may once have been outside their comfort zone.
A leg up
The array of 20th century modern chairs exhibited since Nov. 24 at the Milwaukee Art Museum is more than a revealing window into past design — it is a study in various materials and shapes that some local designers say resonate today.
A repurposed gem
A repurposed home intersects with a repurposed life in Whitefish Bay, where build and design professionals created a rustic, modern gem.
Black and white resurgence
The European design scene has been experiencing a resurgence of black and white home décor as of late, and it appears the enduring duo is making its way stateside.
Redesigned and Reimagined
When designer Carol Johnson of AB&K in Greenfield tackled a master bathroom remodel in Mequon, she knew it would require a higher level of design for a taller-than-average couple. That included removing soffits to expose a vaulted ceiling and providing pivoting mirrors at the double vanity.
Natural Reign
A North Shore couple with a colorful business portfolio discovered how to put their home life in neutral (no pun intended) with the help of a local interior designer, who is ironically now part of their corporate family.
Recently renovated
Expanded space extends the possibilities. That notion was put into practice by Terri Schmidt, owner-designer of Delafield’s Dream House Dream Kitchens, when she helped an Elm Grove family expand the capabilities of their midcentury modern home’s kitchen.
Bowling in style
For Bill Koehnlein of Waukesha-based Collaborative Design, completing the bowling alley renovation of this Milwaukee area home was the final piece of the project puzzle. The house was built three years ago, but Koehnlein and the homeowners toyed with how to customize the bowling alley before deciding on a final design concept.
A collective effort
For Cameron and Dawn Knuth, building and moving into a new home meant more than fulfilling a lifestyle need for their family, which includes two children and two dogs. It also meant meeting that need with very specific style.
Accent with Brass
Brass is making a comeback. But if memories of Grandma’s house, "Dynasty" and shoulder pads come to mind, think again. Contrary to the shiny, polished variations popular in the past, this brass is set to complement any room — not to overwhelm it.
The hypnotic effect
Come gather around the fireplace. "Have you ever sat in front of a fire in the morning on a cold winter day?" asked Dennis Forston, owner of Forston Construction in Sussex.
Timeless treasure
It took a village of artisans to help a Whitefish Bay family make its 1929 home practical for today’s lifestyle without losing yesteryear’s charm.
Innovative practicality
It’s been nearly two years since the Meredith Corporation, a publishing giant whose subsidiaries include Better Homes & Gardens magazine, initially contacted Lakeside Development Company of Mequon. 
How to style a console table
Console tables are among the most versatile pieces of furniture in a home. Because they are shallow, they are great for spaces like a foyer. A console table in your home’s entryway welcomes guests and adds personality and function to your front hall.
Raising the bar
The bar has been set higher than ever. Homeowners seeking a convivial space to enjoy a beverage and much more are turning to design pros. Bill Koehnlein, president of Collaborative Design Inc. in Waukesha, and Tara Wilke, owner of McNabb & Risley Fine Furniture and Interior Design in Thiensville, served up their home bar expertise.
A majestic makeover
Hartland homeowners Jim and Sue Marriott more than refreshed their home’s 1995 contemporary interior. They reset the look and the impressive space to reflect their current life as well as their modern taste.
A sense of harmony
Renowned interior designer and fine arts expert Timothy Whealon credits his Midwest upbringing with influencing his approach to interior design. "Growing up in Wisconsin, I developed an appreciation for wide open spaces," says the Fox Point native, who now calls New York City home. Downtown Milwaukee landmarks and nearby Lake Michigan have also had a lasting impact on Whealon’s style.
Quality matters
When discussing trends in home remodeling, industry experts agree — quality is trumping quantity. "In the past, the most important thing was, ‘How big can I afford to make it?’" says Chris Egner, a member of the Milwaukee/National Association of the Remodeling Industry board of directors and owner of Design-Build-Remodel in New Berlin. 
Projects with a purpose
When remodeling the basement of a Washington Highlands home, Matthew Jahns of Refined Renovations, Wauwatosa, understood the homeowners’ desire to have an adult space to call their own.
Room with a view
Two Whitefish Bay homeowners and a local architectural designer/engineer spent a decade transforming a near-teardown home into a contemporary gem that takes advantage of Lake Michigan views and incorporates a plethora of building materials.
Perfect harmony
Glam meets mancave in a 6,500-square-foot contemporary home nestled in the wooded wonder of Delafield’s Kettle Moraine State Forest. The updated domicile came together from 2011 to 2014 in a collaboration between Lisa Minneti, an interior designer with Peabody’s Interiors, and longtime partners Christine and Rob. 
Eco-Friendly Furniture
Long before the green movement took root in interior design, La Lune Collection has been quietly crafting its environmentally friendly furniture in its Riverwest workshop for more than 35 years.
Birds of a feather
Home accessories and decor influenced by our feather-laden friends.
Historic beauty
After 13 years, the beauty, elegance and historic significance of living on Oconomowoc Lake is not lost on Dean and Tammy Laing.
Be bold
When it comes to color, Bill Koehnlein of Collaborative Design in Waukesha doesn’t like to follow trends. "I like the unexpected," he says. His room designs often incorporate blocks of color or ceilings painted a bold hue in contrast to the rest of the room.
Custom Comfort
Interior designer Linda Carver of Thiensville-based McNabb & Risley collaborated with the owners of this River Hills estate to create an environment radiating with comfort and warmth. "They live in each one of these rooms with their children, family and friends," she says of the homeowners’ lifestyle.
Lime Chandelier
Sarah Boardman-Miller built her design business, Lime Chandelier, on the premise of one simple question: "Can you do drapes?"
De-cluttering your counters
A clutter-free kitchen counter might sound like an impossible dream. After all, the kitchen is a high-traffic area and, let’s face it, a dumping ground. But there is a way to avoid clutter. Here are some suggestions of what to keep and what to let go of from Cheryl Ryan of Kitchens by Design in Elm Grove.
Furry family members get their space
Not so long ago, dogs lived in dog houses. But as we increasingly treat our pets like one of the family, we want to make space for them inside the house.
A fresh start
A trip to Las Vegas is not generally described as inspirational, but for Dave Belman of Waukesha-based Belman Homes, it was just that.
Luxurious leather
When it comes to designing kitchen spaces, installing leather cabinetry isn’t likely to top the list. Generally more enduring materials, such as wood, metals and glass, are considered. Leather, on the other hand, has long been viewed as extravagant or excessive.
Thoughtful touches
When your "roommates" include a husband and three boys, having a place to call your own is a welcomed luxury. Such was the case for a Mequon mother, homeowner and longtime client of interior designer Lisa Anne Minetti of Peabody’s Interiors, Brown Deer. "She refers to her kitchen as her own apartment," says Minetti.
Contemporary Casual
If you are interested in building a contemporary style home but are concerned about blending into a traditional neighborhood, Stephen Betts, an interior designer with SGB Designs Ltd. and Penny Mustard Furniture in Menomonee Falls, says you need not worry.
I spy DIY
For Jenni Radosevich, restoring a vintage rotary telephone and turning it into a trendy succulent planter is just another day at the office. The Wisconsin-raised designer turned DIY lifestyle blogger is the embodiment of a thousand Pinterest do’s, and she doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Heads up
Upholstered headboards first hit the design market years ago, but like any trend, they too have evolved. It was only until recently that manufacturers and designers began seeking inspiration from the more traditional headboards of the past, incorporating sleigh bed styles and wooden trim into their designs.
Contemporary Concepts
It was a slab of Statuary marble that served as Robin Swernoff’s inspiration behind the bathroom renovation in her Bayside home. Swernoff and her husband own Lakeside Stoneworks in Brown Deer, so it seems only fitting that her creativity spawned from a piece of opulent stone.
Timeless tuscan
Now in its 18th year, the annual Showhouse for a Cure is traditionally held in a historic East Side home, but its presenting organization, WBCS Inc., took a new approach this year, instead selecting a newer home as its 2015 showhouse location. 
Sunny 365
When seeing this 1952 River Hills Colonial for the first time, designer Anne Wangman knew it was special. "The moldings, doors and trim were intact, so it was important that the design of the interiors complement the millwork, not compete with it."
Dressing your windows
While they serve a practical purpose, window treatments can also make a huge aesthetic impact. Whether you’re partial to drapes or blinds, a stylish window covering will easily elevate the design of any room.
Modern glamour
Despite the public’s general aversion to wallpaper, Suzan Wemlinger, owner of Decorating Den Interiors/Suzan J. Designs in Milwaukee, says that wallpaper is "coming back in a big way." And what’s more?
A storybook ending
Despite tearing down the existing home on their Elm Grove lot, homeowners Madan and Gwen Kandula wanted their new house to blend into the established feel of the surrounding neighborhood. The couple hired John Van Rooy of John Van Rooy Architecture, Milwaukee, to take on the challenge.
Pool paradise
Design and build pros worked together swimmingly well to redefine outdoor residential life for a Mequon family.
Seasons of change
Being a transplant from California, I’m not a fan of long Wisconsin winters. I do, however, love experiencing the dramatic change of seasons. When it comes to interior décor, spring and summer call for a home refresh. 
Natural beauty
How do you double the size of a home, use its original foundation and salvage a crumbling wood ceiling without taking anything away from the natural beauty of the setting? That was the challenge faced by architect Bruce Wydeven and builder Erik Knuth of EarthRite Construction on a large-scale renovation project of a Lake Michigan cottage.
Vintage find
When Kim and Owen Sullivan of Wauwatosa found themselves on the brink of an empty nest, the parents of four wanted to find a home to emanate the next phase of their life. They mulled over a move west to Lake Country, then east to downtown Milwaukee, but ultimately realized they wanted to stay near and dear to their beloved Tosa neighborhood.
Taking flight
A Rockton, Ill., couple turned to a Milwaukee architect to make their dream of living on the Rock River a reality. The result is a modern three-bedroom structure — a "bird" the owners named Kingfisher that takes flight, showcasing natural beauty and melding the river’s shimmering surface and the sloping, sometimes rugged, terrain above.
2015 home trend forecast
Watching TV and film could easily lead one to believe that the modern home is loaded with enough high-tech, glossy amenities to make the Jetsons envious. Yet for all the world’s technological advancements, home designers say Milwaukee’s high-end property owners are striving to preserve a more traditional aesthetic.
The art of Oriental rugs
No matter what its color, scale, origin or pattern, a good-quality Oriental rug never goes out of style, and it works with just about any decor.
Wooded retreat
Originally, the owners of a home on the Root River in Franklin debated the idea of building a cabin in northern Wisconsin, but the setting of their own property made them change their minds. 
Farm Fresh
Before construction ever began, the owners of a new home in Mequon made two things very clear. The style should be modern farmhouse, and they wanted it to incorporate some of their favorite furnishings. Achieving that look started with the design of the exterior.
Consider Copper
Warm metallics, especially copper, is a hot trend in home decor. With its reflective sheen and rich tone, the metal instantly injects warmth into a space. From light pendants and furnishings to accessories, hints of copper add a touch of glamour to any room.
Natural influence
For Hubertus-based mother of two Ann Schellinger and her husband, Brian, building a third home together meant the chance to incorporate their family’s favorite pastime — exploring and enjoying nature — into the home’s design.
Masterfully transformed
Architects Nick Blavat and Richard Scherer of Deep River Partners, Milwaukee, encountered a unique experience when recently remodeling a Gothic Victorian on Milwaukee’s East Side — one in which the homeowner served as the project’s general contractor.
Building a chef's kitchen
The rising popularity of television cooking shows has upped the ante in today’s residential kitchen design, with homeowners seeking kitchen renovations fit for a professional chef. 
Positive flow
Placing a powder room in the middle of the kitchen might have been de rigueur in home design in the 1940s, but it’s squarely out of fashion in 2015.
Kitchen Trifecta
When Dr. Madan and Gwen Kandula began conceptualizing their new home in Elm Grove’s Indian Hills neighborhood, they knew they wanted their kitchen to be both kid-friendly and conducive to entertaining. 
Walking the line
With it's classic symmetry, Cream City brick and black shutters, the Georgian revival brick home along Lake Michigan in Fox Point looks as if it has been there for decades. 
Holiday Soiree
Hosting a holiday get-together doesn’t have to be elaborate and time-consuming — you can be holiday ready for an impromptu affair or a more formal soiree with these simple preparations.
Timeless Elegance
When Mark Hackbarth and Eric Nelson purchased their 1891 Victorian 10 years ago, it had good bones but no style, Hackbarth says.
Condo ready?
Downsizing used to be about the only reason anyone considered moving to a condo.  It was the option of choice for empty-nesters tired of cutting the grass, raking the leaves and shoveling snow. Today the market is no longer limited to retirees. 
The next chapter
As a financial adviser who primarily consults clients who are retired or nearing retirement age, Karen Ellenbecker routinely sees retirees build their dream homes only to be disappointed when suburban living falls short of their lifestyle expectations. 
Gallery in the sky
Step off the elevator on the 30th floor of the Kilbourn Tower and you might think you’ve entered an art gallery. In a way you’d be right. But this is no ordinary art gallery. This is the home of Peggy Ann, and what you see around you is the product of a lifetime of collecting.
Secrets from a stylist: How to decorate your fireplace mantle
Fireplaces make natural focal points in a home. Yet, it seems to be a decorating dilemma for many a homeowner. How much stuff is too much? Is art a must? Should it feel balanced or more playful?
Reclaimed and rebuilt
Reminders of the 2013 fire that destroyed their 1800s farmhouse are scattered throughout the rebuilt Burlington home of Richard and Sharlene Pasko.
Relaxed elegance
You wouldn’t think the words "refined" and "laid-back" could be used together in the same sentence. Yet, they perfectly describe Timothy Corrigan. One of the most sought-after designers in the world, he has made a career out of bringing easy elegance to home decor. 
Cottage castle
While some drive hours to an Up North getaway, one Waukesha County family can leave it all behind simply by walking across the driveway.
Going glamping
How do you create a home that’s big enough to entertain 50 people yet feels warm and cozy for two? That’s the challenge architect John Vetter faced when he was commissioned to build a Waukesha County lake home.
Mod pod
In the whole house remodel of a Fox Point 1960s contemporary, curves are used sparingly. "A strong emphasis on line and form — two essentials of good contemporary design — gives this particular style its energy," says Terri Schmidt, owner and director of design at DreamHouse/DreamKitchens, who headed up the project.
Table talk
Both nonconforming traditionalists and modern design diehards can agree that dining tables are still a necessary component in today’s homes
Worlds Collide
In searching for an older character home in a walkable community, Sharath and Nirmal Raja narrowed in on a 1920s English-inspired white brick house on a double lot in Whitefish Bay.
Secrets from a stylist
Have you ever walked into a home and immediately felt enveloped by your surroundings? You couldn’t put your finger on it, but you were drawn in by the home’s effortless design.
Designer's Gallery
From family friendly spaces to spa-like retreats to swanky business interiors, area designers showcase their work
Hawaii Life
The first time interior designer Emily Winters set foot in the cottage she designed was to set it up prior to the client’s arrival.
Meet a designer
With an artist father, Ariel Steinke grew up surrounded by creativity. She began sewing in eighth grade — blankets, pillows, etc. — and after a visit senior year in high school to Waukesha County Technical College, she was headed toward a career in interior design.
Universal Themes
Even though it seems as if people started talking about universal design only recently, the concept of adaptability was developed in 1997. 
Hardware Heroes
When Pamela Anderson was designing her kitchen, she thought there was a lack of appealing handles and pulls for cabinets. "I wanted something stunning, but everything was ho-hum," the artist says.
Mountain Timbre
Who Lives Here: David and Molly Madsen, owners of AB&K Remodeling, and their two boys, Joe, 14, and Ryan, 13. This is the fifth house the kitchen and bath pros have built.
Kitchens that work
In terms of kitchen design, it’s time to retire the styles of the 1990s. Homeowners are seeking an openness and functionality in the hub of the home dictated by busy lifestyles.
Go bold at home
It’s summer! Introduce some color and some fun into your home interiors with these big-impact pieces.
The Art of Hardscaping
There’s more to a dazzling garden or a serene patio than a lush lawn and fragrant flowers. Hardscape elements, from stone retaining walls to brick fire pits, are making outdoor spaces more enjoyable and user friendly.
Sea-worthy tour
Breathtaking views of Lake Michigan are an impressive feature of the 2014 Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse for a Cure, but the architecture of the Classical Revival Georgian home on East Lafayette Place has secured its standing in one of Milwaukee’s most distinguished neighborhoods for more than 100 years.
The beauty of boathouses
Most lakes in the area have at least a few historic "wet" boathouses that reside on the shore. Boathouses that were completely or partially built below the ordinary high water mark are called wet boathouses.
Summer staycation
With a towering woodland as his backdrop and environmental restrictions dictating the footprint of the project, landscape designer Peter Kudlata created a resort-worthy backyard for an Ozaukee County couple.
Gadgets gone wild
Family time. There’s a Norman Rockwell painting for that. A scene in which family members gather around the table, eagerly sharing the adventures of their day, with smiles as wide as their faces. 
All in for green
In property development, sustainability has become the industry buzzword. Many developers are claiming to be eco-friendly, but not all can back up their words with brick and mortar.
The Elements of design
Patricia Algiers has been written up in the New York Times, ICON and Contract magazines, among numerous other publications.
Love it or leave it
In the pursuit to own a dream home, families must determine if their current house can be remodeled or if new construction is a better route. Both options require careful consideration.
Urban upgrade
When Paul and Natalia Hackbarth sought decorating help for their house on the East Side, they knew just where to find it. 
Still Life: Home
With their daughter going off to college, Lisa and Jim Gleason decided the time was right to spruce up their Whitefish Bay home.
Backyard refuge
Rick Swiontek loves the North Woods and frequently travels there to relax and unwind. One day it occurred to him that instead of relying on these trips to de-stress, he could bring the North Woods to his five wooded acres in River Hills.
On the edge
When architect Stephen Bruns visited the piece of land on which he was commissioned to design Fieldstone House, one thing was clear: The driving force behind the project would be the two glacial kettles on the property.
Team approach
There was never any question William Koehnlein would join the family design business. While other kids were no doubt idling away their after-school hours, the young Koehnlein was learning woodcarving.
Milwaukee's forgotten architects
When architectural historian Chris Szczesny-Adams and her husband were buying an 1899 home on Milwaukee’s East Side, she called her dissertation adviser to see if he knew of its architect, Elmer Grey. "‘You mean Elmer Grey of Pasadena?’" Szczesny-Adams recalls him saying. "From then on, I knew I had found something that was going to be very interesting."
Luxe Living
Shopping for a luxury property? You’ll be hard-pressed to find one in the Milwaukee area. There’s a historically low supply of high-end homes available. 
Investment property
Years ago, on a trip to Colorado, a house featured in a newspaper home section caught the eye of the traveler. He carried that newspaper home with him to Wisconsin, and when he and his wife began to concept their family dream home, that house influenced the design.
Home Work
When it comes to designing a home office, form and function share equal roles. Here are three designs that promote productivity and look good, too.
Color conscious
No matter where you fall on the topic of color, choosing the right color for your bedroom is more than just personal preference. Color affects restfulness, and romance, too, say local design experts.
Industrial chic
Mary Ann Matter of Elm Grove combines industrial chic with antiques in her master suite. She worked with Theresa Vaughan of Forte Interior Design to help execute her vision. The high wingback upholstered bed by Lee Industries is trendy but gives off an old-fashioned feel.
Presto chango
Children’s retailer Land of Nod’s Lottie Dots Decal set contains 48 3-inch dot decals in silver, gold or white. Paste them in uniform rows, rainbow shapes or randomly for just the right amount of whimsy.
Winning whites
When it comes to home design, white is always popular among homeowners. It’s a color that never really goes out of style, yet easily lends itself to reinvention.
Kitchen Styling
When Stephanie Quinn of Modern Edge Design visited the downtown Milwaukee condo of a potential client, she saw a kitchen that, while functional, needed an update.
To Hollywood, with Love
Who would have guessed that Milwaukee has its finger on the pulse of what’s hot in Hollywood? Since May, Russell Levin and his staff at Argosy, a distinctive home accessories store in Brookfield, have been selecting birthday and holiday gifts for the staff and stars of the AMC network.
Design well-lived
Only one thing could tear Teresa Manns away from a globe-trotting design career in New York City working for the renowned Steven Gambrel — true love. After marrying her former high school classmate whom she met at their 20-year reunion and commuting from Wauwatosa to NYC for two-plus years, Manns decided to make Milwaukee her home base at Peabody’s Interiors in Brown Deer.
Setting the bar
Party guests may be known to congregate in the kitchen but they will also migrate toward the bar if you have it set for holiday entertaining.
Casual Christmas
Even before they were married, Dave and Linda McFadden scoured flea markets, estate sales and antique shops. "I like old things," Linda McFadden says. "I like them even more when they are a little bit rustic."
Secrets from a stylist
I have expensive taste, far beyond my budget. As a movie set and photo stylist in California and now in Wisconsin, I’ve learned some trade secrets on how to satisfy my designer tastes without sacrificing budget or style.
Style points
An uninspired basement in a Wauwatosa home became a high-style yet comfortable space for work and play. The lower-level redesign includes a home office and a large open area for dancing and game playing, along with a movie room. 
Inspiring design
Local designers are feeling the love on Houzz.com, the online platform for ideas about architecture, interior design, landscape design and home improvement. 
Well-edited
In a scene right out of an HGTV design show, Dr. Michael and Mary Ellen McCormick walked into their renovated condo greeted by their design team for the big reveal.
Out of the box
After 15 years of building for other people, Craig and Georgia Rakowski finally built a home for themselves. "I’ve taken bits and pieces from all the models I’ve built and put them all together," says Craig Rakowski, owner of James Craig Builders. "It took three years to design my house," he says.
Design speak
I love the feeling gray walls bring to a space. To me, gray is and will continue to be a "hot neutral" by creating a wonderful palate or backdrop to work from. It’s the perfect showcase for bold fabrics, a trend I am happy to see continue. 
Inside the design
Beneath its comfortable and dreamy exterior, this outdoor getaway is tough as nails, from the heavy duty drapery fabric to the PVC potted faux wheat grass. "We made sure everything was designed and manufactured to withstand the elements," says interior designer Nicholas Konzal of Nicholas Carl Design.
Newport of the West
An 1884 Victorian home on Fowler Lake in Oconomowoc certainly lives up to the adage of standing the test of time. It has been home to generations of families, converted to apartments and recently restored to a single-family home by Chris and Frank Both.
Telling stories through design
A background in the performing arts helps Polish-born interior designer Aga Artka of Aga Artka Interior Design, Milwaukee, create spaces that reflect her clients’ unique stories. "Growing up I spent a lot of time on stage acting, singing and dancing. 
Build Out
If you grew up watching the animated series "The Jetsons," then you’re already familiar with its visionary predictions of modern life: Piloted in 1962, the show’s creators imagined a life chock-full of leisure, with homes flanked by technology in every room, from flat-screen televisions to mobile devices, and remote controls and push buttons for every household task in between.
Favorite homes
Thoughtful design, beautiful landscapes and meaningful possessions are, by themselves, not what makes a house a home. As editors of this magazine’s home section, we have seen hundreds of wonderfully appointed homes through the years.
Chasing Dreams
Elizabeth Rees is not your typical 20-something. The Whitefish Bay native has traveled across the globe, and, after coming back to the United States, started her own business.
Vintage Industrial Chic
Walking into Mary Ann Matter’s Elm Grove condo is a little like walking into a homey Iron Horse Hotel. "I absolutely love the hotel," says Matter. "When we came here we wanted to capture that vibe." To fulfill her dream, Matter hired Theresa Vaughan of Forte Design, John McWilliam, owner of Scathain Collective, and Jennifer Espenscheid of Soma Gallery.
Showplace kitchens
In approaching the whole house remodel of their Mequon home, Rob and Amy Prellwitz wanted first to bring in more natural light, particularly in the kitchen. Architect Rory Palubiski of Fein Design brightened up the north-facing room with lots of glass and some skylights.
Trunk to Punk Tour
You don’t need to be decked out in Steampunk to participate in this year’s Historic Concordia Neighborhood’s Steamtrunk to Steampunk home tour June 15, but they’ll waive the admission if you do.
Castle Collective
From its picturesque and historic setting on one of America’s Great Streets, "The Castle on Newberry" is ready to welcome visitors as the 2013 Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse for a Cure from June 1 through 16.
Living Luxe
Jeff and Lisa Pereles’ Whitefish Bay master bathroom was a cramped and "strictly functional" space before a remodel by SJ Janis Co., says Nathan Wachtl, senior design consultant.
No boundaries
Multifaceted is how Nicholas Konzal describes his design abilities, which include working with organic materials (floral design), textiles (interior design) and manmade materials (furniture design). "Good designers can work in different mediums," says the Wauwatosa designer.
Treetop adventures
Dustin Feider is building a business based on a simple question: Who doesn’t love tree houses? "It immediately draws people back to their childhoods," says Feider, owner of O2 Treehouse. "People love to tell their tree house stories."
Double decker
When the warm weather finally arrives, Dana and Tom Schreibel don’t waste a minute of it. From their home on Lake Keesus they have views of Marshall Bay and two outdoor living spaces from which to enjoy it. "We entertain quite a bit. We actually hosted a wedding two years ago," Dana Schreibel says.
Extreme Pool Party: Fox Point Edition
Fox Point’s tree-lined streets and quiet neighborhoods now disguise its former status as a social hub during the early 20th century when a popular golf club attracted socialites to the area. Though golf ended in the 1930s, reminders of the country club remain, such as the beach house, swimming pool and tennis courts.
Set in stone
Tom Halquist didn’t want to be a slave to his garden, so when he hired Ginkgo Leaf Studios, Cedarburg, to renovate the landscape at his Menomonee Falls home, he made that point very clear.
Prairie reinvented
"I knew right away," recalls the owner of the 1950s Bayside home, about the day she first saw it. The 3,000-square-foot Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home is at the end of a winding driveway and tucked into a wooded landscape. After a walk-through with the Realtor — during which she saw past the dated décor — she was even more smitten.
Element of surprise
Walk inside the suburban Cedarburg home and prepare to be surprised. Peabody’s Interiors interior designer Emily Winters helped a young couple create an urban sophisticated space to showcase their extensive art collection. "I feel so strongly that your home should reflect you and your personality," Winters says.
Waterfront revival
You might say fate led Gwen Adair-Strangohr and her husband, Jim Strangohr, to the doorstep of their Lake Keesus home in 2007. After the tragic death of their friend, the couple purchased the home where their friend had lived. "I think she always wanted me to have this house," Adair-Strangohr says.
Design trends: Bold colors, patterns prevail
They make our surroundings beautiful, and they do it with aplomb, ease and wit. They take an idea and whip it into a space that flourishes with vibrant personality and charm. That’s why we tapped a few of the area’s interior designers to share their choices of the latest home design trends.
Moderne Man
Rick Barrett is doing something no other Milwaukee developer has ever done. He’s building a high-rise development in downtown Chicago.

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