Ed­i­tor’s Let­ter

Milwaukee Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS - Ca­role Nicksin ca­role@mil­wau­keemag.com @CaroleNicksin

Homes, sweet homes

As a kid, I lived in a re­cently built house, as did pretty much every­one I knew. Ex­cept for the Paulks. They lived in an old farm­house, in­con­gru­ously tucked away down a dead-end street next to a sub­di­vi­sion filled with brand-spank­ing-new split-lev­els and ranches. For me, the Paulks’ house was a world of won­ders. Not only did it have a his­tory – it had been in the fam­ily for at least one pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion – but Mrs. Paulk used it as a can­vas for self-ex­pres­sion. She painted the wain­scot­ing in one of the bath­rooms vi­o­let, then de­coupaged clip­pings from old news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines on the up­per por­tion of the wall. The over­all ef­fect was a bit Carn­aby Street, Swing­ing Six­ties. Mrs. Paulk had a keen eye for de­tail, and that bath­room was al­ways stocked with pur­ple toi­let pa­per, much to my de­light.

But her mas­ter­piece was the stair­case: She hand-painted a streetscape on the wall, align­ing with each stair. Ev­ery “block” had its own char­ac­ter, with chil­dren play­ing in front of one build­ing, a woman wav­ing from the win­dow of an­other. While the adults were en­joy­ing cock­tails in the liv­ing room, I’d sit on the stairs with my dolls and imag­ine sce­nar­ios very dif­fer­ent than my sub­ur­ban street.

While the Paulks’ house seemed com­pletely im­pro­vised, ours was ex­tremely planned out. My mother was a ta­lented dec­o­ra­tor, and she cre­ated a home that was beau­ti­ful, but a lit­tle bit stiff. The art was framed and care­fully hung, not painted di­rectly on the walls.

Fast for­ward a few decades, when I landed a po­si­tion as dec­o­rat­ing ed­i­tor at a na­tional mag­a­zine. To this day, it’s my sec­ond-fa­vorite job ever, with my cur­rent po­si­tion hold­ing first place. I loved that job be­cause it aligned with my life­long cu­rios­ity about how peo­ple live.

So now I think you can un­der­stand why I en­joyed putting to­gether this is­sue so much. Each of the rooms we fea­ture is a unique ex­pres­sion of the owner’s taste, and their pas­sion is pal­pa­ble; from Kristin Al­tendorf ’s en­thu­si­asm over her new kitchen, where guests feel com­fort­able hang­ing out, to Mark Jungers’ awe for the one-of-a-kind clock in his wine cel­lar.

Be­ing in­vited into a home is an honor, and I feel hon­ored that our read­ers wel­come Mil­wau­kee Mag­a­zine into theirs each month. My thanks to all of you, and to the own­ers of the homes in this is­sue. En­joy!

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