When Milwaukee area homeowners were unable to add a desired pool to their existing home, they decided it was time to take the plunge and build their dream forever home from scratch. Tapping the experts at Deep River Partners, the owners took inspiration from her early childhood years spent living abroad in Paris to adopt her favored aesthetic, which Nicholas Blavat, architect at Deep River Partners, says was an exciting new challenge.
“We’ve done variations of the French style — for example, French country — but to do a more traditional French chateau, that was a first for us,” he says. “And it was interesting to figure out how to accomplish that in Wisconsin and not in France and make it real.”
To bring the vision to life, Blavat says the biggest factor was creating a symmetrical floor plan and front elevation. From there, the team added European touches like large casement windows with divided lights and curved transoms, stone balustrade railings, stucco to replicate limestone veneer, an intricate decorative metal rail on the balconies, a full two-story expression of the floor plan and round dormer windows for accents.
“The interior’s plan was used to create the formality identified with the style,” Blavat says. “Unlike current open-plan trends, French chateau layouts typically have space separated from each other with doors or cased openings. A grand two-story foyer with curved stairs and an elliptical shape, a decorative metal rail [custom created by Madison’s Custom Metals], wall paneling with coverings, a candelabra chandelier, and a traditional marble-feeling tile floor pattern were used to set the tone for the home’s ‘hello.’”
As part of the French interior design of the home, one of the requests from the homeowner was to incorporate an indoor pool for both exercise and entertaining, so Deep River Partners worked closely with Platinum Pools out of Chicago to create the perfect space.
“That was a smart decision in Wisconsin,” Blavat notes. “Because we created both outdoor and indoor pools and you don’t get as much life out of the outdoor pools because the season’s so short. (The homeowner) is really big into fitness, so she could be able to use the pool to exercise and train throughout the year.”
The pool is set up with a deep end for advance swimming and sports a professional grade swim-in-place jet for resistance training. For entertaining, it features integrated pool seating, fountains, and setup for volleyball, basketball and watersports. A spa is also tied to the pool with an additional relaxing element as well as warming the pool.
To keep the room both elegant and functional, the interior styling was purposefully matched to the rest of the home, using slip-resistant tile with a pattern in line with the French style and palette, custom-shaped rot-resistant millwork and Parisian-esque furnishings that are water-resistant.
Just beyond the pool is a four-season room the Deep River team refers to as the piazza — an ideal entertainment area. “It was created really for entertaining and grilling,” Blavat says. “You can be making hot dogs and pass them through a window to the kids and the pool. It worked out really great to have this nice entertaining factor.”
This project pushed the team to a new design style. Blavat says it was a welcome challenge, noting the homeowners created a “fun puzzle to solve” and he’s excited about the stunning end result.
“Every job has a different piece of my heart, but this is one of these houses that stick with you, working with that client for a long time,” Blavat enthuses. “It was unique. French is very formal, so that style was fun to do.” MKE