WRA, Silver ~ Wauwatosa, Historical Renovation

A functional, open and airy space when first designed in 1937, this classic English Tudor’s screen porch had succumb to the elements, beaten and worn, until demoted to storing lawn furniture.

A leaking rubber roof with too many patches to count, peeling paint, and a upper deck crowned with an aluminum railing that was neither secure nor aesthetically pleasing prompted the initial conversation by the client on restoring this once great home back to its original glory.

In mid February the client shared their vision of transforming this seldom used space into a sunroom that could be used year round. “We want more than just a sunroom added.” We don’t want just as a room separate on to itself, but a space that will engage the adjoining spaces, and invite guests from the formal dining room and living room to come and enjoy this space as well, and we want it seamlessly integrated into the design of our home, inside and out”.

With this home featured in Architectural Digest in 1938 upon its completion, it was clear there was a responsibility to respect and maintain the homes architectural aesthetics, and the designer was inspired by the challenge. A week later the client was presented with a preliminary plan for their new sunroom and master bath, as well as a rendering of the exterior.

Construction began phase I and II on April 2nd,.and phase III officially beginning in mid May with the project being completed on August 30th. Using the existing screen porch foundation freed up a considerable amount of the projects budget, that in return allowed the client to expand the design program to include the addition of a much need master bathroom suite over the new sunroom. This family of four has been sharing one small bath. The vanity was little more than a pedestal sink, and the existing bath was stretched to its limits to accommodate the family.

Initially the master bath suite was to be finished at a future date, and only to be roughed-in., however once the client saw the sculpted ceiling lines, and how dramatic this new master bath was, they were compelled to have the entire design completed at once.

Character was added in the sunroom by maintaining the existing stone veneer, creating the perfect transition from the exterior to the interior. Framing the sun space is a 9” frieze board caped with a 4 ½” crown mold. This simple detail allowed mechanicals to be run above the existing stone veneer, working as a mechanical chase. The ceiling was finished with stained fir bead board matching the old screen porches profile.

The existing screen porch had a painted concrete floor that was 5” lower than the finish floor of the primary structure. Utilizing the existing boiler system hydronic heating was installed in both the floors of the sunroom and master bathroom finished with classic stone tile laid in a Versailles pattern. Removing the existing French doors and casing the opening between the dining room and sun room allows sunlight to reach deep into the core of the home. The existing casement windows from the sunroom into the living room were removed, but the sashes and mullions were re-built to feature glass sculptures that can be enjoyed from both rooms.

The dramatic master bathroom suite is a product of matching the 14/12 roof pitch of the existing structure creating a volume, light filled space that is breathtaking. Converting an attic space into a large his and hers walk-in closet. This space was finished previously by the owners off a secondary bedroom and was underutilized as a hang out for teenagers.

The new master bathroom with large tiled shower allowed both clients their own sink in a shared, furniture style vanity. The Kohler whirlpool is the focal point of this space. Firmly anchored with it’s stone tile platform and surround, the tub is nestled between four sculpted columns one at each corner, stretching upward to the volume ceiling, transom window and chandelier. Two glass shelves set between the columns on each end allow the client to personalize this space,

The exterior post and beam detailing matches other existing elements on the home, and give the design a timeless aesthetic that restores this home back to it’s previous glory. This home now possess the unique combination of 1938 craftsmanship and old world detailing, with the mechanicals and amenities of the 21st century.