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Before

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3101 Michigan Blvd. Racine, WI.

After occupying the original home for seventeen years, the owners of this house overlooking the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan began building a substantial addition in April 2000. The project involved enlarging existing rooms and creating new spaces required by the owners for their entertaining and family needs.

The alterations included extending the existing kitchen, living and dining rooms eastward toward the lake; adding a family room to the North (adjacent to the expanded kitchen) and a conservatory to the South. These rooms are situated at 45 degree angles to the N-S orientation of the house. This configuration creates a richer experience of the views of the lake: the more formal living and dining rooms maintain direct views of the water while the casual and private rooms are situated more obliquely and yield more romantic, picturesque views of the shoreline, gardens and lighthouse beyond.

Other new features include the expansion of the existing master suite, one of the second floor bedrooms and the existing home office. The office has a new private stair leading to a separate smoking room, wine cellar and exercise room. Another new stair, designed within a tower, connects the family and kitchen areas to the master suite.

An important aspect of the project was replacing the original, unimpressive exterior with one that evoked feelings of elegance and stateliness: the original low roof was replaced with a series of steeply sloping hip roofs; a row of gracefully spaced columns at the front entry were introduced; custom designed wrought iron railings at the new bedroom decks and Juliet balconies were added. Finally, decorative brick detailing was crafted into the new Eastern wall and on the exterior of the new family room and conservatory.

The even application of traditional building elements, careful proportioning, and modulated massing provide this home with a sense of repose and gracious comfort that is difficult to achieve with large houses. By integrating the original proportions and features, the new house is comfortably embraced by the old, thus lending the project a rare quality of continuity: the new and the old mesh to make the completed home appear as though it has always been there.

 

 
 
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