In the Details

This Elm Grove home gains more room for family without sacrificing its classic appeal.


Left: Originally a tight, galley-style kitchen, Matt Retzak and the team at Bartelt moved the kitchen to the center of the home, offering room for a stunning island and more space for the hub of the home.

Above: Retzak took advantage of leftover space, adding a mudroom and walk-in pantry, as well as saving room for a small desk.

Michael and Jodi Perrone bought their Elm Grove home knowing they would eventually need to add more square footage for their growing family. When the time came, the couple teamed up with designer and project coordinator Matt Retzak and interior designer Heather Scott of Bartelt. The Remodeling Resource.

Retzak says the couple knew what they wanted in their home, which made for a seamless renovation.

“[The home] had a very traditional kind of layout — a front formal living room and a formal dining room,” Retzak says, “They came to us knowing that they wanted to keep those really intact. But then behind that, the kitchen was a very tight, galley-style kitchen, and there was a previous addition put on that had all sorts of problems. It didn’t fit with the rest of the house aesthetically, and the roof was leaking.”

The Bartelt team created a more functional kitchen with a mudroom and walk-in pantry. An addition with extra bedrooms was added above the garage. The back of the house was bumped out for a full master suite, and the old master bedroom repurposed into space for a walk-in closet, full laundry and master bath.

Left: The Perrones worked with Bartelt interior designer Heather Scott to tie in the elegant styles they wanted, adding in brand-new wallpapers and brass fixtures.

Right: Already equipped with a traditional layout, Retzak took advantage of existing elements like the front formal living room layout and moldings, and brought the entire style front and center with coffered ceilings, built-ins and beautiful dark flooring, creating a cozy, welcoming environment.

Clean white cabinetry and countertops help make this bathroom feel larger. The black and white tile on the floor offers a traditional vibe while the wallpaper adds a soft pop of color.

The home presents a traditional vibe, with vintage-inspired wallpapers, pops of brass fixtures, restored built-ins and an inviting fireplace — all elements that Jodi wanted to incorporate into the new space, Retzak says.

“They wanted to work with a lot of the existing moldings and hardwood floors, so that was mimicked in the addition that we did and even taken a few steps further,” he continues. “[We] cleaned up the original fireplace surround and updated it. ... That was part of the charm that they liked originally. We didn’t start over.”

“And that also came through in the interior selections,” Scott adds. “We didn’t just necessarily go into a lighting store and pick light fixtures. [Jodi] really sourced antique stores, reclaimed a few ceiling light fixtures that are up in the bedrooms. … Everything was very thoughtfully selected. She did her research and didn’t just take the first, most
popular selections.”

“The new, shiny and in-style-right-now that’s out of style in a few years, [that’s] the opposite of what she was after,” Retzak says.

The Perrones had a keen eye for detail, encouraging high-end finishes like the tongue and groove paneling in the family room and the subtlety of a coffered ceiling in keeping with the traditional feel of a 1960s home. However, the renovation project was nearly over before it started when sewer lines below the home almost prevented the Perrones from acquiring proper permits. Jodi wasn’t about to let that stop her. After digging through the home’s original deed, Retzak says Jodi found an old easement that allowed building on top of the lines, regardless of the village’s denial.

“It was very close to not happening at all, because of this sewer line,” Retzak says. “So that was emotionally traumatic for them, of course, but she found documentation. ... So it all worked out in the end.”

Retzak and Scott both agree that the Perrones were involved and cooperative partners in their renovation.

“I’ve worked with Matt for a long time on a lot of different projects, big and small, but this one just felt [different],” says Scott. “The homeowner looked for a long time to buy a different home and kept just coming back to where they were in this neighborhood. It’s so thoughtfully designed — the layout and the flow of the kitchen to the family room and the paneling and the detail. … I appreciate that, most of all, they stayed true to the house.” MKE

One of the biggest priorities for the family was creating more space for their (at the time) growing family. The designers at Bartelt seamlessly integrated the addition to appear as though it has always been a part of the home.