A Wisconsin couple makes a new home in the forest near Winter Park
When building their dream home in Winter Park, a husband and wife from Wisconsin used individual moments of intuition and inspiration as foundations. Initially, while cross-country skiing a trail, the husband saw a “for sale” sign on a property that struck his fancy. The next day, the couple called to inquire about the price of the land in a barely developed subdivision. “We bought the land as a wedding present to each other,” says the wife.
The 7.5 acres abuts a 5,000-acre meadow. The couple owned the property a couple of years before breaking ground on what they intended to be their second home. The wife experienced a lightning bolt moment when she walked into the Aspen Prada store and resonated with the architecture. “The color scheme alone with real earthy tones, the stone and wood jumped out,” she says. “It almost felt like walking into what we wanted our house to look like.”
With help from JT Kotter, a Milwaukee-based architect and Sue Steffen of Steffen Design Consulting, the couple constructed their mid-century Modern house in the forest.
He’s an outdoorsman. “My husband lives to be outside every day,” his wife says. “I live to be outside once a week.” An art major in college, she aspired to architecture: “I wanted to be an architect, but didn’t want to spend all the time in school,” she says. Informally, she consulted on half a dozen homes built for friends. And when time came to build a house for her husband and herself, she pitched in, big time.
“It was a huge project, and I was really hands-on,” she says. “I’m not sure if it made it easier or more difficult.” While living in Madison, she worked with Vetter Denk architecture firm based in Milwaukee. “We would hang out and draw; and I’d bring things I liked,” she says. “Once a month my husband would go to the meetings.”
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