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!