WISCONSIN RIVER HOUSE
De Pere, Wisconsin
Set on a wooded lot above the banks of the Fox River, this contemporary home quietly attracts attention while blending into its surroundings. The owners, a couple with three children, wanted a home that promotes family interaction and active living in this sportsman’s paradise. The design direction was to create a home with common spaces generously sized for family gatherings and entertainment, and a floor plan that maximizes views and facilitates outdoor living. Program requirements include a great room, library, mud room accessible from the second floor by a fireman’s pole, lap pool with integrated hot tub, boat house with guest suite, landscaping and hardscaping, and a zip line from the main house to the boat house.
The design is driven by the site, allowing each room to have expansive views of the landscape. The main living spaces are created by two intersecting rectangular volumes facing the river, flanked by a double-height entry space anchoring the house. The great room and library are visually separated by a sculptural two-sided fireplace and pivot doors fabricated from steel and smoked glass.
On the river side, a glass wall system maximizes natural light and blurs the line between interior and exterior spaces. A terrace runs the length of the second level and provides outdoor access from each bedroom. The detached boat house is recessed into a hill and is visible only from the shore, minimizing its impact on the landscape, and includes an en suite guest quarter and ample storage for kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and boating equipment. A sculptural concrete stairway leads from the main home to a lower terrace with access to the boat house and a minimalist fire pit where family and friends gather on crisp evenings.
On the street facade, regional plantings add texture to an elevation composed of layered vertical planes of cedar siding, porcelain tile, and concrete to blend the home into the wooded surroundings and maintain privacy. Charcoal metal cladding quietly contrasts with the natural exterior elements and defines the second floor volume.
Indoors, the five bedroom, six bathroom home incorporates high-end residential amenities and artful and adventurous interior furnishings curated by Chicago-based PROjECT Interiors, while maintaining a flexible floor plan for the family’s changing lifestyle. White oak flooring and a natural steel fireplace add warmth to the design while maintaining a modern aesthetic.
The walk-out lower level is complete with a multipurpose space and kitchenette. Currently used as a family entertainment room and pool house, in the future it can evolve into a private in-law suite.
Sustainable design elements include high efficiency mechanical systems, durable long-lasting finishes, an upgraded thermal building envelope, energy efficient LED lighting, and wiring for an electric car charging station.