Right Where They Belong

Instead of moving, a Shorewood couple reworked the house they had into the home of their dreams

The Liptons' dining room has modern and international touches. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

The Liptons' dining room has modern and international touches. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

After thirty years living in their Shorewood home, Patricia and Peter Lipton were ready for a change.

She had retired as executive director of the State of Wisconsin Board and he was a UW–Madison neuroscientist looking to spend more time at home. And both—as well as their cockapoo, Burford—desired more space to spread out than their 1950s-designed house allowed.

The pair began looking at new houses but soon realized they were happy where they were; they liked their neighborhood and its proximity to downtown.

So they decided to turn the house they’d been living in for decades into the house of their dreams—and their future. Working with custom builder Loren Imhoff and Bella Domicile for a new kitchen design, they started the remodel in November 2007 and moved back in at the end of July 2008.

The most radical transformation took place in the kitchen. Previously outfitted with white Corian, the space—which they expanded along with the adjacent dining room—now features stainless steel and black granite countertops, a stainless steel tile backsplash and shiny black German cabinetry. The modern palette of materials is softened by windows overlooking the yard’s greenery. “It brings the outside in through the reflection,” Patricia says.

The Liptons also reworked other rooms, creating for Peter an airy study and art studio with a curved wall of windows, and for Patricia a cozy study and reading nook with built-in bookcases, an Eames chair and a wall opening that allows her to look out to the living room.

The contemporary feel extends to the rest of the 3,100-square-foot house. In the living room, a silver Arco lamp curves above leather sofas and a pair of black Wassily chairs, but an Asian lamp, table from Thailand and Oriental rugs prevent the aesthetic from veering too minimalist.

“I would say we’re modern eclectic,” Patricia says, adding that she and Peter have always used clean lines and muted colors as a backdrop to more textured, colorful and visually interesting items. Whether it’s a rug they’ve had for years, furniture they discovered on a trip or a work of art they fell for, each piece adds a special detail to the house’s ever-growing story.

“Each thing has some memories,” Patricia says. “Keeping everything simple really sets them off.”

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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