A 1930 home brims with joy, thanks to bold art and a bril­liant pal­ette.

Milwaukee Magazine - - CONTENTS - By KRIS­TINE HANSEN

Ven­ture in­side this glam­orous abode, filled with bold paint­ings and bril­liant tex­tiles.


It was built for Ed­mund Fitzger­ald, North­west­ern Mu­tual Life In­sur­ance Co. chair­man and name­sake for the leg­endary sunken freighter.

But what makes this 6,462-square-foot home pop – even with its dec­o­ra­tive mold­ings, arched door­ways and French doors open­ing out to the yard – is the ex­ten­sive art col­lec­tion. It’s im­pos­si­ble not to feel joy­ous af­ter en­ter­ing the long en­try­way lined with, nat­u­rally, art.

“Peo­ple are stunned when they learn it’s Wis­con­sin artists,” says the home­owner. Much of the art she owns is by artists in the Dairy State, pur­chased ei­ther di­rectly from the artist or through lo­cal gal­leries, in­clud­ing Tory Fol­liard and Por­trait So­ci­ety. “I like know­ing the artist,” she says.

The home’s Old Hol­ly­wood meets fun-and-funky style blends an­tiques with con­tem­po­rary pieces. A din­ing room table once be­longed to her grand­par­ents. Two early-Amer­i­can twin beds from her par­ents’ home were joined to­gether to cre­ate a king in what she calls “the green bed­room.”

With cus­tom car­pet from Carol Sny­der & As­so­ciates – the home­owner chose blue, green and red hues to in­te­grate the pal­ettes of all the bed­rooms – the bed takes on a new aes­thetic.

The goal was to com­bine tra­di­tional fur­ni­ture with items that would lend “an edge and color,” she says, adding that both her par­ents and grand­par­ents col­lected early Amer­i­can and English an­tiques such as Queen Anne, Chip­pen­dale and Shaker. “I love us­ing things that were used by my fam­ily,” she says. Friend and de­signer José Car­lino helped her fi­nesse this bal­anc­ing act.

What drew her to this prop­erty 15 years ago was ac­cess to UW-Mil­wau­kee (“I en­joy the en­ergy of the uni­ver­sity,” she says) plus the short drive to arts and en­ter­tain­ment. “It’s like liv­ing in River Hills but it’s right Down­town,” she says. Upon mov­ing in – she’s the third owner – few changes needed to be made, thanks to the pre­vi­ous own­ers. “It was in

per­fect con­di­tion,” she says, al­though she stained the floors a darker hue and added re­claimed black-and-white mar­ble to the baths. Her cur­rent project? Adding more pe­riod de­tails to the baths, as if Fitzger­ald were to waltz in at any mo­ment.

A firm be­liever in cul­ti­vat­ing an en­vi­ron­ment that’s nei­ther fussy nor for­mal, her Samoyed dog – as well as chil­dren and grand­chil­dren – get free roam of the house. “I don’t like a for­mal feel at all,” she says. “I like it to feel com­fort­able.”

Nowhere is that mantra truer than in the gar­den, where the home­owner hosted a “Sum­mer of Love” din­ner party se­ries two sum­mers ago, com­plete with a playlist she cu­rated. “I sort of came of age dur­ing the Sum­mer of Love,” she says. Lo­cal land­scape de­signer Ju­dith Stark modeled the gar­dens af­ter writer Edith Whar­ton’s The Mount es­tate in the Berk­shires of Mass­a­chu­setts. “My gar­den has some of the sculpted whimsy but doesn’t come close to the size,” says the home­owner.

“I love us­ing things that were used by my fam­ily.”

Above and left:Two sit­ting ar­eas lend in­ti­macy to the spa­cious liv­ing room. Ori­en­tal rugs from Shaba­hang & Sons and the shut­tered Kashou Car­pets – along with a ze­bra-print bench – com­ple­ment the vivid art with­out dis­tract­ing.In­set: Richard Tay­lor’s ab­stract sculp­ture an­chors one of the home’s arched door­ways.


Op­po­site: An ab­stract paint­ing by Terry Cofff­man hangs in the din­ing room. Be­low: The home­owner feels a spe­cial con­nec­tion to the prop­erty’s first owner – Ed­mund Fitzger­ald – as he was a busi­ness as­so­ciate of her grand­fa­ther’s.

Above: Against black-and-white pat­terned wall­pa­per, Mil­wau­kee artist Ro­mano John­son’s tribal-like paint­ing is even more bold and ex­pres­sive and eas­ily punches up a nook. Left: An abun­dance of curves, in­clud­ing arched door­ways and this stun­ning stair­case, im­bue the home with a fem­i­nine vibe.

Left: Amy Mueller at the Work­room on North Oak­land Av­enue in Shore­wood cre­ated pil­lows and win­dow treat­ments for what the home­owner calls “the green bed­room.” The chevron-print cur­tains and col­or­ful cus­tom rug help bring the an­tique fur­ni­ture into the 21st cen­tury. Above and top: In the mas­ter suite, the bed faces the fire­place. A paint­ing by the late War­ren Brandt hangs above the fire­place, show­ing color and soft edges.

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