When North Shore residents Mandy Culver and Nick Warner wanted the perfect house for a young and busy family to grow into, the couple turned to Deep River Partners to pull together the plans.
Natalie Erickson, ASID, an interior designer with Deep River Partners, says the homeowners were wonderfully collaborative in the design process. Culver used her art background as inspiration before bringing those ideas to the Deep River team. “She has an eye for design,” Erickson says. “She’s an art teacher, so she has a style she wanted to express. And they were both fairly involved in both the exterior and the interior [designs].”
Many walls were painted white to create a canvas for the homeowners to make the space pop with personality.
“We wanted a simple, more neutral palette for the walls and woodwork so we could accessorize with color and pattern elsewhere,” Culver notes. “I love that we can feature our favorite pieces of art and family photos and they feel more prominent in our space.”
In addition to a neutral palette, Deep River architect/partner Nicholas Blavat, AIA, adds that the homeowners were interested in a clean, traditional style. To accomplish that look, the wood floors were given a medium-dark stain to contrast with the white walls.
The traditional design, Erickson adds, also incorporates elements from other popular aesthetics. Beams across the great room added a “traditional colonial aspect.” The adjacent dining room features a midcentury-inspired chandelier, and the light fixtures added an unexpected design element to the historic-looking home.
Blavat acknowledges the challenges he and the team, which included general contractor Northgreen Builders of Cedarburg, faced to balance popular trends with timeless components in the design.
“We took a traditional house typology and modernized it,” he says. “We added elements of an open kitchen/dining/family plan, because typically a historic home with that type of style would be compartmentalized. It’s always fun to put a modern take on a traditional style, and I thought we did that very wisely.”
The building material, great room beams and traditional wood stain add to the historic feel, while small touches such as the reimagined floating mantle help to modernize it, Blavat says. “I also like that all the bedrooms and baths both have en suite bathrooms,” he adds. “So even the guest suite has hall access, but it also has a private entrance from the guest bedroom.”
To give Culver an area to create the art she displays throughout the home, Deep River added an artist studio just off of the front porch, offering the ability to open the doors for fresh air while working or to keep an eye on the kids playing in the front yard. “As an artist and art educator, I was looking for a peaceful space with great light to paint and unwind,” Culver says of her studio. “My favorite part of the room is being able to open the French doors leading to our front porch. It’s a dreamy space where I feel inspired to create.”
For a touch of fun, the homeowners added an arcade room in the lower level.
“It really separates itself from the rest of the house,” Culver enthuses. “Walking into the pinball ‘cove,’ you definitely feel fully immersed in an old-school arcade. It’s an unexpected space that fits in seamlessly.”
The family den was built around the comforting concepts of coziness and peaceful solitude, Culver says. “We envisioned this as a place to crawl into a book and get away from the rest of the home’s hustle and bustle,” she explains. “Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, pocket doors and excellent sunset views make the den stand apart.”
And to give the kids an exciting area of their own, the homeowners worked with Deep River to add a hideaway room that wasn’t in the original design. Having walked through the basement with the builders and discovering an extra space beneath the stairs, Culver and Warner decided to add the special spot.
“I always loved small nooks when I was young and felt this was the perfect spot to create a special space,” Culver explains. “Deep River and Northgreen quickly got on board and created the sweetest little room for our kids.”
The exterior spaces of the home are an entertaining oasis executed by Flagstone Landscaping and fitted with areas for outdoor dining, grilling and lounging, and completed with a fire pit and play set. The backyard has plenty of room for a future pool, should the homeowners decide to add one. Conscious of the family’s neighbors and potential light pollution, Blavat notes that the area is also equipped with speakers and evening lighting.
With unique spaces for every family member, this North Shore beauty is the perfect place for these homeowners. “The thing we love most about our home is that it reflects us and what we need from a home,” Culver says. MKE