Home Elements & Concepts August-October 2020

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publisher Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@homeelementsandconcepts.com editorial director Amy S. Johnson info@homeelementsandconcepts.com publication designer Barbara Wilson senior copy editor Kyle Jacobson copy editor Krystle Naab sales & marketing director Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@homeelementsandconcepts.com design team Jennifer Denman, Crea Stellmacher, Linda Walker administration Debora Knutson

Photograph provided by Dream House Dream Kitchens


Ochsner Zoo: Naturally

Photograph by Katy Nodolf


located in Baraboo, WI, Ochsner Zoo has designed its exhibits around immersion, health, and conservation

contributing writers Cabinet City, Convivio, Abby Howell-Dinger, Kyle Jacobson, Karina Mae, MGE, Mark Shimasaki, Jessica Steinhoff


photographs Cabinet City, Convivio, Dream House Dream Kitchens, MGE, Katy Nodolf, Ochsner Park Zoo, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Samantha Peckham, Kai Skadahl, Taliesin Preservation

the silver lining to the monumental challenges in the economy...it’s an excellent time to buy a new home

subscriptions Home Elements & Concepts is available free at over 150 locations. To purchase an annual subscription (4 issues), send mailing information and $16 (payable to Towns & Associates) to Home Elements & Concepts, c/o Towns & Associates, Inc., PO Box 174, Baraboo, WI 53913-0174. Or sign up for a FREE online subscription at homeelementsandconcepts.com. comments We welcome your questions and comments. Please submit to Home Elements & Concepts, c/o Towns & Associates, Inc., PO Box 174, Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 or email info@homeelementsandconcepts.com. advertise To place an advertisement, please call 608.356.8757 or email ajohnson@homeelementsandconcepts.com.

Reasons to Consider New Construction When Shopping for a Home



For the Apple of Your Eye


cookbooks, kitchen bakeware and accessories, and apple brandy for fall

Room to Grow


creating custom closets for your apartment from Cabinet City


Butterfly Gardens


tips to creating your own butterfly oasis

Perennial Food: What and How to Keep It


perennial food can make a wonderful addition to any yard or landscape, and they will often produce food for years to come with little management or concern


Education at Taliesin


all rights reserved. ©2020 No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission by Home Elements & Concepts.

education is a year-round activity deeply rooted in the history of Frank Lloyd Wright and his family

Watch for the next issue November 2020.

creating something contemporary while finding a balance with choice retro integrations with Dream House Dream Kitchens

Cover photograph provided by Dream House Dream Kitchens.


Fixed Transition



Sustainable Living: Seal Air Leaks to Save Energy This Winter


now is the ideal time to prepare your home for winter

4 Advertiser Index 38 From The Publisher



from the publisher I think that despite the difficulties of the current times, we’ve been reminded of the importance of a home, not simply as a structure, but place in which we shelter and seek safety, peace, fulfillment, rest, and rejuvenation. Home Elements & Concepts is about creating the home in which we feel the most comfortable. We seek designs that represent ourselves and our priorities. There’s something for everyone in our content regardless of budget. The designs and ideas presented provide you with numerous examples—you just have to look out for the one, or ones, that best fit for you. And because our content is about or provided by someone you can actually talk and work with, you’ll always be able to access the expertise of local creators. It’s my hope that while you work to capture the external vision of the home in which you’d like to live, you’ll also be able to spend time envisioning how it can help you live your best life from within. Be safe.

Amy Johnson

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Find Energy Savings Here. Partner with MGE to save energy. Make mge.com your first stop. • Get easy, low-cost ways to save energy. • Use calculators to estimate your savings. • Learn about incentives from Focus on Energy. Join us in creating a more sustainable future. Visit mge2050.com.

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FIXED Transition by Kyle Jacobson

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“The house as originally built was pretty traditional,” says Jerry Schmidt, sales director for Dream House Dream Kitchens. “And a big goal of ours was to make the house more of what we like to call transitional. It has some of the traditional design touches and features, but it’s more newage clean.” In terms of trends, it’s the look most people are into these days. “It sets you up for different furniture and artwork, and the soft goods you put in the room are going to really push what the feel is versus making all the built-ins in this house strictly traditional. It gives the home some flexibility.” With each passing design trend, countless homes plunge further into the void of black-and-white checkered tile, lattice batten molding, and 70s high-school-textbook wallpaper. Though these elements work for some individuals and homes, they certainly aren’t for everyone, and that’s especially true when done in excess. Recently, Dream House Dream Kitchens took on updating an older Maple Bluff home, creating something contemporary while finding a balance with choice retro integrations.

Along with implementing the complementing features that make up transitional design, the house had a flow problem to address. Immediately upon entering the home, a sitting room off to the right was often glossed over by visitors. Now, thanks to bright flooring and white ceiling beams, there’s continuity to the space being part of the house. The dark color of the coffer ceiling and walls provide warmth to a room meant for relaxation.




Behind the entrance staircase is a spacious kitchen. “The original kitchen was pretty small,” says Jerry. “We took the kitchen and the fireplace sitting room and combined the two of them to allow us to put in the larger kitchen space.” It would prove a labor-intensive decision to embrace the open-floor concept—they had to work with an engineer when it came to moving the wall and ceiling beams—but the result is something that pulls guests into the house, emphasized by an extended countertop on the kitchen island with comfortable bar seating. After

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The kitchen leads to a dining room with a 12-pane, floorto-ceiling window. Here, a tray ceiling, board-and-batten molding, and contrasting color scheme are highlighted by blended natural and artificial lighting. There’s also a built-in hutch for dishware.

The master suite certainly saw the largest transformation, considering almost half of the space didn’t exist previously. Large enough to function as a second living and sitting area, the master bedroom feels like a resort room with a view and direct access to the second-story deck.

Following the house’s flow to the sunroom, “We retiled the floor, added that beadboard to the ceiling, and then replaced all the windows with larger window units to create an atrium feel back there.” It’s a great place to have afterdinner or afternoon cocktails with friends and family. The room now serves as a structural element for the addition on the upstairs master suite.

Transitional design is showcased without reservation in the master bathroom, complete with steam shower and stunning double vanity. “Design-wise, I wouldn’t say people are doing more modern, but just kind of simplified, clean lines; nice updated fixtures; but nothing too over the top. Nothing too gaudy. The freestanding tub achieves that because it takes up less space and looks cleaner. We were able to put tile across the back wall too, which turned out pretty badass. Definitely dials up the room a little bit as far as the style.”

Bedrooms, a guest room, and the master suite take up nearly all the space on the second floor along with four bathrooms and a laundry nook. Each room takes on a practical identity. For example, the guest bathroom has a stylish simplicity with exposed plumbing fixtures and no cabinetry. Guests stay for a night or a weekend, so why take up space with unnecessary built-in storage?

Each room uses past design elements as a backdrop to highlight the geometric blank-canvas quality of modern design, resulting in something that can reflect and evolve with the homeowner. Some rooms take liberty



with wallpaper choices and light fixtures, but nothing foundational is holding back any room’s potential. Oftentimes, larger homes can feel like multifamily homes, having distinct separations between shared spaces. Thanks to the experience and vision of Dream House Dream Kitchens, everything connects. Everything feels lived in. No dead space, no museum offshoots, just functional space. Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor and writer for Home Elements & Concepts. Rendering

Photographs provided by Dream House Dream Kitchens. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com Dream House Dream Kitchens 5117 Verona Road Madison, WI 53711 608.204.7575 dream-kitchens.com


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we make a difference




For the Apple of Your Eye Autumn in Wisconsin means delicious locally grown apples. Used in baking as well as savory recipes, and especially nice in apple brandy. Nothing is prettier than this calvados from France, where they have been making this spirit for generations. Apple brandy is an amazing flavor enhancer in anything made with apples— applesauce, apple crisp, apple pie‌even savory stews. (And make sure to sip some as you enjoy the finished recipe!) 'Tis the season to focus on beautiful and inspirational cookbooks, and to indulge in quality kitchen bakeware and accessories for all your entertaining to come. Ceramic bakeware can be visually appealing and useful. These dishes from Portugal can go from oven to freezer to table. Practical beauty. Get cozy and breathe in the scents and sights of the best time of year in Wisconsin.

Items sourced by Convivio. convivioshop.com

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Sustainable Living

Seal Air Leaks to Save Energy This Winter As the days get shorter and temperatures get cooler, it’s an ideal time to prepare your home for winter. Sealing air leaks should be at the top of your to-do list. This is an effective way to increase comfort and, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, could save up to 20 percent on energy costs.

to the edges and add at least four one-inch pieces of foam board insulation on the back of the door or hatch. Another option is to apply an insulated attic stair cover. If you have a hatch, seal the opening with self-sticking weatherstripping.

Air sealing may sound like a daunting task, but some of it can be a DIY project. There are simple steps you can take to help keep your heated air inside this winter.

Caulk for Drafty Windows Caulk is a flexible material that can be used to seal air leaks around windows. Caulking compounds come in a variety of strengths and prices. Most are available in disposable cartridges that fit in a caulking gun. Additionally, some caulk comes in squeeze tubes, ropes, or aerosol cans.

Weatherstripping for Doors Weatherstripping works well to seal air leaks around movable components, like doors. It is available in many different materials, so it’s important to choose the right type for your project. • Door bottom: Weatherstripping applied to a door bottom can drag on carpet. It should be able to withstand wear and tear and friction, as well as temperature changes. Door-sweep weatherstripping is a good option. The mount is made of aluminum or stainless and the “sweep” is a brush made of plastic, vinyl, sponge, or felt. Door-sweep weatherstripping is easy to install and adjusts for an uneven threshold. • Sides and top of your door: Choose a product made of felt, foam, tape, rubber, or vinyl. Proper application is key. Be sure your weatherstripping meets tightly in the corners. Apply one continuous strip along each side and then seal the entire door jamb. Don’t forget your attic door or hatch. For pull-down attic stairs or an attic door, apply weatherstripping 16 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

Good options for windows include: • Water-based foam • Expandable spray foam, which works well for large or irregular gaps • Rubber, which can last 10 years or more • Temporary caulk, which can be applied to the inside of windows and peeled off when the weather warms up in spring Caulk should be applied during dry weather when the temperature is at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Apply caulk in one continuous stream. Be sure to seal cracks completely and allow sufficient time for the caulk to dry. It often takes 24 hours for it to fully cure depending on weather. Window film is another inexpensive way to help reduce drafts and condensation in winter. It’s easy to apply and can even be used over mini blinds. If you have an older home, remember to change your screens to storm windows.

More Air Sealing Don’t put away the caulk when you’re done sealing your windows. There are several other places around your home where it can be useful. • Fireplace: Over time, the space between your mantle and drywall can crack and become leaky. Additionally, if you have a woodburning fireplace, check the damper. If it doesn’t close properly, it can be a major source of heat loss. • Recessed lighting (in a ranch home or on the second floor of a two-story home): If fixtures are not airtight, warm air can escape into the attic. Not only will you lose heat, but it will warm your attic and snow on the roof, which can cause ice dams. These ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof prevent melting snow from draining. Even if a can light is airtight, you should caulk between the can light housing and drywall. Can lights also require a fire barrier. Such material is used to keep the insulation in the attic away from the fixture housing, which can get hot even if you have LED lights. It’s important to know which type of can light you have—some are rated for insulation contact and others are not. Consult a professional air sealer to ensure safety and effectiveness when sealing can lights. • Exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen: Remove the plastic cover and add caulk between the fan housing and drywall to seal leaks.

• Places where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wire comes through ceilings, walls, floors, or soffits. Need a Little Help? If you don’t have the time or desire to take on air sealing or other energy-efficiency projects, an energy audit may be a solution. FOCUS ON ENERGY® can help. As Wisconsin utilities’ statewide energy-efficiency and renewableresource program, Focus on Energy works with residents and businesses on cost-saving, energy-efficiency, and renewable-energy projects. Consider taking a comprehensive, whole-home approach when looking to boost comfort and energy efficiency. Focus on Energy offers financial incentives to homeowners for making qualified energy-saving improvements. Learn more at focusonenergy.com. Ask the experts MGE is available to answer your questions and provide tips on saving energy for the upcoming winter and throughout the year. MGE Home Energy Line: MGE’s energy experts are available between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 608.252.7117 or email AskExperts@mge.com. Other resources for saving energy include: • mge.com/saving-energy • mge2050.com Photographs provided by MGE.






What and How to Keep It by Karina Mae

Perennial food can make a wonderful addition to any yard or landscape; invest in them once, plant them with care, and they will often produce food for years to come with little management or concern. Perennial food comes in many shapes and sizes; offers a variety of produce; and, best of all,

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is probably edible on a repeating annual basis! We can grow perennial food in the shape of ground covers, short forbs, shrubs, trees, hedges, and even fencing to a degree. Some perennial food will take a few years to begin producing, but some are much faster than that. From snacking to canning,


the ways in which we keep or store homegrown produce is greatly varied and will often grow on us as we learn to appreciate perennial food at an even deeper level. The long list of perennial food for Wisconsin is made up of many berries, nuts, and herbs. Paying close attention to light, soil, and rodent-chewing conditions is key in the establishment of these foods. With a bit of work on the front end, you’ll literally reap the bounty for many years to come. You can often stack these gems to create luscious snacking stations in every garden, small yard, and even in some deep patio planters. Most of these are available in more dwarf varieties or can be pruned to maintain a more columnar or vase-like shape. Some varieties have a spring or fall production, so you can stage your harvest. Perennial

Hardy Kiwi

food trees and shrubs do like to be pruned every other year or two, so becoming comfortable with your hand pruners or loppers will be essential. Without proper pruning care, fruit rot can develop, fruit won’t ripen, and breakage of branches can occur. But there are loads of reference tools, and you can learn along the way or hire a professional for assistance. Many of the shrub and tree varieties offer multiseason interest as they flower to fruit and then turn a lovely autumn color. Let’s start the list from the ground up. There are many more perennial food varieties that will grow here, but for reasons of disease, establishment, or gastrointestinal activity, this list is condensed so you can plant and eat without much concern.





Ground covers: Strawberries, Wintergreen, creeping Thyme, Lingonberry Forbs and herbs: Chives, Ramps, Oregano, Thyme, Sage, Mint, Fiddleheads of ferns, Rhubarb, Asparagus Vines: Grapes, Gogi berries, Hardy Kiwi


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Shrubs: Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Currants, Josta berries, Elderberries, Aronia, Cornelian or Nanking cherries, Quince, Hazelnuts—many of these stand alone well or can be grown to act as hedges along a property line or yard border.

Oak (acorn)


Small trees: Service Berry, Plum, Peach, Cherry, Apple, Medlar—these can often be manipulated into espalier form, which can create a fencing-like effect. Medium Trees: Paw Paw, Red Mulberry, White Mulberry Large Trees: Maple (sap and leaves), Walnut (sap and nuts), Hackberry (the fruits are oh so small), Oak (acorns), Hickory (nuts) Some of the aforementioned shrubs or trees need more than one to pollinate, so be sure to check sources when purchasing for a successful venture. Now that you’ve found some space, identified you have enough sun, conditioned the soil with good amendments (compost and leaves), purchased your species, planted, mulched, and watered them well the first few years… whew…a couple fruits, a few more, and then suddenly your harvest has gone way beyond snacking! If feeding your neighbors isn’t your plan, it’s time to preserve your bounty. There are many ways of keeping your food stored, some tried and true, others new and emerging. You may find that you rotate or grow into some of them as you age with your perennial treasures.


Dehydrating is simple and easy even if you don’t have a dehydrator. Using your oven on a low setting works great, or even air drying can suffice sometimes. Consistent slicing is helpful. Herbs can also be hung to air dry or placed in paper bags to shake them (daily) dry. Dried herbs and berries make fantastic winter teas. Canning or making jellies or spreads is wonderful! A lot like Grandma and Grandpa used to do, and some amount of work as well, but there’s nothing quite like summer peaches in November or rhubarb preserves on ice cream in February. Freezing can be pretty quick and easy as long as you follow some preparation directions first. Vacuum sealing can help these items last longer, but isn’t always necessary. Cold storage is a great option for some fruit, if packed well, or your canned items. Nuts prefer to be dried and stored away from moisture. Some herbs and berries can be set in alcohol to make tinctures or medicines (heavy on the herb, fruit, or root).




Brandy or vodka work well. This idea can also be similarly applied with a good booze soak; nothing wrong with preserving those last raspberries in some bourbon, resulting in quite a delicious holiday cognac to offer. Some fruits are better soaked without the pits, stems, or skin, so a little research can go a long way. For the more adventurous, there are fermentable options— tej, mead, wine, and melomel to name a few. There are also some interesting and fun things to try eating, like tulip and lily petals (sans the stamen), inoculated mushroom logs, and self-seeding herbs (dill, feverfew, cilantro, garlic). Also try planting the eyes of your potatoes. Perennial foods offer enrichment to any landscape and leave behind a multigenerational gift. They can often provide bounty for upwards of 20 years easily, so a little investment can really be worth its weight in produce.

Karina Mae is the designer and team leader at Garden Search & Rescue. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com Garden Search & Rescue Madison, WI 608.438.9571 gardensearchandrescue.com


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The purpose of zoos has evolved significantly over the centuries. From a show of humankind’s limited dominion over nature to a facility for scientific research, questions of value and ethics have accompanied each installation with regards to the boarding and treatment of their residents. Contemporary zoo models now focus heavily on education, and Ochsner Zoo has designed its exhibits around immersion, health, and conservation. “We’ve been expanding the animal exhibits because we wanted more space,” says Mike Hardy, Department of

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Parks, Recreation & Forestry director. “And we wanted more natural-type exhibits so when people come in, they see a little bit more of what the animals’ environments might look like.” Native prairie grasses have replaced areas once filled with mowed turfgrass, and some exhibits give visitors the sense they are looking through the wooded and grassy environments they’d expect to find respective species in. Prairie grasses aren’t just for looks; they double as pollinator gardens, creating opportunity for a discussion on the importance of pollinator species as well as rain gardens, even inspiring some visitors to create their own at home. They’re also used to filter the water for the otter; bear; and, most importantly, beaver exhibits. “The beavers are one of our dirtier animals,” says Mike. “They drag a lot of stuff into the pool, so the pool gets really dirty. This is a really important filtration system. ... We don’t have any sand filters or chemical filters.” Finding multipurpose elements to add to the zoo is a necessity given their small footprint. Of course, the small size brings up valid concerns involving the square footage of the exhibits, but Ochsner has addressed the issue rather resourcefully. “Some people ask about mixing species, and that’s one thing our zookeepers are really good about—

doing the research as far as what species can we have together safely.” The black bear is housed with the artic fox. The pig lives with the goats. And the largest installation has deer, sandhill cranes, and other species you’d find in Wisconsin. “The nice thing about having mixed-species exhibits is that’s how they are out in the wild.” Another thing visitors notice is the use of windows on some of the newer exhibits. “The thing with glass, we were able to take away that double fence, and that gave the animals more space. And then the other thing the glass did is we can do some planting on the outside, so it makes it look larger as well.” The result further speaks to the zoo’s mission of education, moving away from being a place where people gawk at the animals.



Aldo Leopold, and the Crane Foundation, and Devil’s Lake, and Mirror Lake, and all the state parks, people are just very conservation minded around here.” The design itself provides a sense of place within a sense of place, accurately recreating animal habitats within Baraboo and Sauk County that mostly exist within the Midwest, and children and adults leave with a greater appreciation for our state’s ecosystems.

Taking a nature-center approach to the entire zoo works in the interests of visitors and animals alike. At Ochsner, it means starting a conversation on local wildlife. Due to the ease of obtaining some species indigenous to the area, the zoo can use their facility to help animals in need. The artic fox was a rescue as were the wolves. Many other species at Ochsner could not survive in the wild due to debilitating injuries. This overall experience is more a trip through North American habitats versus traveling the world, as is the case of larger zoos. “Being a free zoo, we don’t have a lot of money to work with, but basically this is the image of the city—the image of our department,” says Mike. “We have about 35,000 to 38,000 annual visitors. Being a municipal-run zoo, we’re looking at a lot of things. ... One of the things we’ve noticed when we watch people come in is the entrances that we’ve had in the past haven’t been real well signed.” Many changes are still being made to make navigation more intuitive. Paying attention to how people flow and interact with signage has given staff what they need to use paths to direct morenatural movement from exhibit to exhibit rather than having big areas of random exploration, which enables the zoo to provide more room to its residents. The entire zoo feels like an extension of Wisconsin’s education-minded approach to the natural world. “With

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Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor and writer for Home Elements & Concepts. Photographs provided by Ochsner Park Zoo. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com Ochsner Park Zoo 903 Park Street Baraboo, WI 53913 608.355.2760 cityofbaraboo.com/parksandrecreation




Buckeye Butterfly

Photograph by Samantha Peckham


GARDENS by Mark Shimasaki

A few years ago, Olbrich Botanical Gardens was certified as a “colossal” Monarch Waystation by the Monarch Watch organization. If you’d like to create your own butterfly oasis, here are a few tips to get started. Site Selection It’s important to find a suitable site in your yard. Look for a spot somewhat sheltered from the wind that has good sunny exposure. If needed, you can create a space sheltered from the wind using trees and shrubs or even some tall fencing. Medium-sized trees and shrubs protect butterflies from windy conditions, give them a place to roost at night, and provide protection from predators. Shrubs, like beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis) or butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii), not only provide shelter, but their flowers are a good food source for butterflies as well. Butterflies are cold-blooded creatures that need the sun to warm up in the morning, so a spot with early-morning sun exposure will be best. A few small boulders, garden pavers, or

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Photograph by Katy Nodolf

Monarch on Heptacodium miconioides (seven-sons tree)

Monarch caterpillar eating milkweed

Photograph by Kai Skadahl

patches of open ground will heat up in the morning sun and give butterflies a place to rest and warm up. Many plants that attract butterflies are sun loving as well, so a site that provides at least six hours of sun will be ideal all around. Water is also important for butterflies not only for the moisture they receive, but also for the salts and minerals some of them need in their diets. Butterflies prefer damp areas on the ground where they can “puddle.” A wide, watertight container, such as the top of a bird bath or tray from a pot, filled with coarse sand and buried to the rim would work well. Keep the water level just under the surface of the sand and top it off regularly, especially in the heat of the summer. Plantings There are many plants (annuals, perennials, and shrubs) to choose from for your butterfly garden. Keep in mind that you need two types of plants—nectar plants to feed butterflies, and host plants they can lay their eggs on and to provide food for their caterpillar offspring. There can be overlap between



Monarch sunning on a warm rock Photograph by Olbrich Botanical Gardens

the two types of plants, though some butterflies have very specific preferences for each (for example, Monarchs need milkweed as a host plant). Try to plant a diverse range of nectar and host plants, and use at least six of each variety so there are plenty of flowers for all the butterflies visiting your garden. Want to dive deeper into butterfly gardening? The Schumacher Library at Olbrich Botanical Gardens has many resources about butterflies in your area and the types of plants they prefer. Mark Shimasaki is a former horticulturist at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com Olbrich Botanical Gardens 3330 Atwood Avenue Madison, WI 53704 608.246.4550 olbrich.org

Photograph by Olbrich Botanical Gardens

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Swallowtail butterfly on Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush)

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Room to Grow Mastering Your Storage Spaces Brought to You by

Cabinets for every

room in your home!

Apartments can be the right fit for a lot of people at different phases in life, from the recent high school graduate to a family saving up for their starter home to the retired worker no longer wanting to maintain a yard. No matter the situation, finding space for everything you own in an apartment is a daily hurdle.

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It starts with the closet. Many apartments use a mounted wire racking system that’s not adjustable. This one-size-fits-all design essentially leads to unused closet space. A five-foot-tall person isn’t going to make practical use of six-foot-high shelving. “When it comes to apartments, you’re typically talking about reach-in closets,” says Chris Schmidt of Cabinet City. “When it comes to those, we usually stick to the three needs: standard-length hanging for your shirts or folding over pants, longer hanging for your dresses and things like that, and then shelving.” Cabinet City takes this philosophy and adds a high degree of versatility. The shelves and racks can be adjusted to accommodate any resident, whether they prefer more room for shoes or a lower rack so children can easily grab their coats and sweatshirts. Cabinet City can come to your apartment, with your landlord’s permission, and install a custom system that you can take with you when you move out without having to unscrew it from the wall. They also make custom locker systems and boot benches to help keep things organized by the door. Having furniture that doubles as storage as well as closets without wasted or difficult-to-access space are keys to making apartment life a lot less cluttered and a lot more like home. Photographs provided by Cabinet City.




Education at Taliesin by Abby Howell-Dinger

For many, autumn is associated with heading back to school after summer break, but at Taliesin, education is a yearround activity deeply rooted in the history of Frank Lloyd Wright and his family. Imagine a school day in which you and your classmates helped make and serve breakfast to your peers. Next, the entire school meets for a morning assembly filled with reading and singing. Later, your teacher takes you for a walk through the prairie, where you sketch and identify flowers, birds, and insects. After lunch, you do farm chores before heading to science class to do some experiments. After dinner, you help with dishes and write home to your family before settling into your bed, which you made perfectly early that morning. This is what life may have been like for students of the Hillside Home School around the turn of the 20th century. The Hillside Home School was established by two unmarried aunts of Frank Lloyd Wright, Jane and Nell. Located in the rural Wyoming Valley near Spring Green, Wisconsin, and settled in the 1860s by Frank Lloyd Wright’s maternal

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ancestors, the school served as both a co-educational boarding school and day school from 1887 to 1915. Hillside was a unique school. Mary Ellen Chase, a former teacher at the Hillside Home School, wrote of her experience in A Goodly Fellowship: I suppose that the Hillside Home School, were it existing today exactly as it was existing in 1909, would be termed a progressive school by all the supporters and disciples of such institutions. ‌ Hillside was too busy doing its job to define itself in pedagogical terms. It was simply a school, a home, and a farm all in one, and the contribution and strength of each element lay in the fact that each was never separated from the other. Not only was the schooling philosophy unique and hands on, but the school building itself was unlike any other, as it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Present day visitors to Taliesin can view the Hillside Home School on many of the various tours offered. Hillside gained acclaim over the years and attracted students from across the Midwest. Unfortunately, as the aunts aged and the

school encountered some financial challenges, the school closed in 1915. Upon its closure, the aunts turned the building over to their nephew, Frank Lloyd Wright, on the condition that he promised to use the building for educational purposes. For several years, the building was underutilized, until the Great Depression struck. The Great Depression had a significant impact on the architecture world, and very few new buildings were being commissioned, meaning Wright had little paid work. The original school buildings were designed by a very young Wright in traditional Victorian style in 1887. In 1903, Wright designed a new building for the growing school, which is the building still standing on the Taliesin estate today. Wright had the early buildings torn down after the school closed, as he no longer found the Victorian architecture appealing. By this time however, Wright had built his home, Taliesin, very near the site of the Hillside Home School, and he had built a career as a world-renowned architect. As Wright had great concern of the training of a new generation of architects in his time, Wright’s wife, Olgivanna, suggested that Wright begin a program to train young people interested in becoming architects. Wright took much inspiration from the learning-by-doing approach of his aunts’ Hillside Home School when designing his apprenticeship program. The apprentices would live and work on the estate, maintaining all aspects of life, including tending to the animals, working in the fields, fixing meals in the kitchen, and repairing equipment. As a result, the Taliesin Fellowship was founded in 1932. As time passed, the Taliesin Fellowship evolved into the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, now School of Architecture at Taliesin, an accredited master’s degree

program. Student’s in the program continue to immerse themselves in the “Taliesin Way of Life,” living on the Wisconsin estate from May through October and spending the winters at Wright’s Arizona home, Taliesin West. Students in the program are assigned weekly duties, which include helping in the kitchen, tending to the vegetable garden, and preparing the dining room by arranging the furniture and creating decorations. Taliesin Preservation continues Wright’s legacy of educating the next generation of architects and designers through innovative, hands-on, and place-based K–12 programs and summer camps. Imagine 20 or so middle school students scattering across Wright’s famous house sketching various elements of his design or writing poetry about how the buildings make them feel. Students feel elements of compression and release as they explore the path of discovery through Wright’s buildings and landscapes. They might use their initial sketches or writings for projects, such as books, essays, or pieces of art and architectural designs inspired by their experience at Taliesin. Today, educational programs at Taliesin are key to sustaining the life within these unique and important historic structures. From a group of art students sketching Wright’s architecture first hand to summer-camp students presenting models of their own designs, these educational programs seek to engage and inspire youth to explore the interconnected nature of our world— to see how nature, architecture, food, farming, music, history, and so much more can collide and coexist in one place and to use learnings and observations from the past as a springboard for planning and developing our shared future. Abby Howell-Dinger has been the Program Coordinator at Taliesin Preservation since March 2019 and enjoys hiking and exploring in the Driftless region with her fiancé and their two dogs. Photographs provided by Taliesin Preservation. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com Taliesin Preservation Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center 5607 County Road C Spring Green, WI 53588 608.588.7900 taliesinpreservation.org HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS



REASONS to Consider NEW


When Shopping for a Home by Jessica Steinhoff

Public health and the economy have faced monumental challenges in 2020, but a few silver linings have emerged. For example, it’s an excellent time to buy a new home. Quite a few home builders were able to continue their work during Wisconsin’s safer-at-home order, so there’s a healthy number of brand-new properties in the housing market. Plus, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself healthy while viewing homes and completing your purchase. Many builders and real estate agents host virtual showings, and some mortgage lenders offer contact-free ways to discuss borrowing options and sign paperwork. Here are more reasons to consider a brand-new home right now. Low Interest Rates May Lead to Significant Cost Savings Mortgage interest rates dropped earlier this year, creating attractive opportunities for buyers. Even a small decline can mean big savings. For example, borrowing $250,000 at

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a rate of 3.25 percent instead of 3.5 percent can save you more than $12,000 over the course of 30 years. “That might be enough money to remodel a bathroom or do some nice landscaping,” says Julio Rios, vice president of mortgage lending at UW Credit Union. “It’s also enough to pay for a year of in-state tuition at UW–Madison or possibly a used car.” You Can Customize to Your Heart’s Content Choosing new construction often means choosing fixtures, finishes, and other details that reflect your tastes and lifestyle. If you’re planning a home theater or a music studio, you might soundproof the walls. If cooking is your love language, you might upgrade the stove to a six-burner model. The possibilities are endless. In many cases, you can also decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms your new house will have. Sometimes you can even determine their location or layout. This increases the chances that the home will meet your needs. In other words, you probably won’t need to remodel much in the near future. Your Home Will Meet the Latest Safety Standards Building codes and other safety standards evolve over time, as do construction best practices. When you buy a brand-new home, you’re likely to benefit from modern construction methods, materials, and knowledge. This means safe and modern pipes, lead-free paint, fewer fire hazards, and other benefits. You’re Likely to Conserve Energy Saving energy can shrink your carbon footprint and your utility bills. That’s because builders are designing homes in greener ways than ever before. This includes using south-facing windows to collect heat and storing that energy in heat-retaining brick or stone, as well as incorporating water-conserving fixtures and high-efficiency appliances. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, new homes are an average of 30 percent larger than older ones, and they use about the same amount of energy overall. Likewise, a home built today will typically use less energy than a similar home built just five years earlier. That’s because the International Energy Conservation Code, which sets the baseline for energy efficiency in homes and businesses, gets revised every few years. With each update, new construction is required to conserve more energy.

You’ll Probably Need Fewer Repairs No matter how charming an older home may be, time takes its toll. Wear and tear make repairs necessary, even if the previous owners took good care of the property. Within a few years of moving into an older home, you’ll likely need to address worn flooring, a failing furnace, or an aging roof. These fixes can be both expensive and time consuming. While a new home will eventually need repairs, it’s less likely to need as many in the short term. Builders Often Provide Home Warranties While new homes tend to require fewer repairs than older ones, they aren’t maintenance free. A home warranty covers certain types of repairs for a specified period of time. Your builder is likely to offer a warranty for your first year in the home, possibly longer, and it may cover pricey problems, such as roof leaks and water heater breakdowns. “Read the warranty carefully,” says Rios. “Buying a home is a major purchase, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting.” Jessica Steinhoff is a financial education writer with UW Credit Union, which offers mortgages, credit consultations, and other services for homebuyers. For details, see uwcu.org/loans/home-loans. UW Credit Union 3500 University Avenue Madison, WI 53705 800.533.6773 uwcu.org HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS


– Advertiser index Abel Contemporary Gallery 15,


AmeriDown Factory Outlet 15 The Audrey Kitchen + Bar 31 Beckman Builders 39

Enter the – Drawing to Win


Housewares • Hardware • Garden • Time Center

Cabinet City 27 Coyle Carpet One 5 Dane Buy Local 23 Dane County Humane Society


Dream House Dream Kitchens 2 Garden Search & Rescue 23 Hallman Lindsay Paints


M.O.D. Media Productions 31 MGE 5 Monroe Street Framing 14 The Patio Warehouse 15 Posh & Patina Interiors 15 Shire Wood / Accord Realty 27 Simply Creative Productions 23 Tadsen Photography 14 UW Credit Union 40

Win 4 gallons of Benjamin Moore Regal Select Paint A value of up to $248. Enter by submitting your name, mailing address, phone number, and email at homeelementsandconcepts.com, or by mail to: Home Elements & Concepts c/o Towns & Associates, Inc. PO Box 174 Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 All entries will be entered into a drawing. Deadline is September 21, 2020.

Good Luck!

Wolff Kubly Hardware 23

– PLEASE SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS! Home Elements & Concepts is happy to provide local lifestyle magazines free of charge to the Greater Madison area. We could not do so without the support of our advertising sponsors, and we appreciate every one of them. We hope that you will consider them when deciding where to dine, shop, and play, and when you need services. These businesses represent the true entrepreneurial spirit of our community! 38 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

Winner Thank you to everyone who entered our previous drawing. The winner of the 4 gallons of Benjamin Moore Regal Select Paint from Wolff Kubly is Becky Stabe of Madison, WI.


Home Equity Helps You Get Out Of Your Home What You Put In. Start enjoying the benefits of homeownership with a home equity line of credit from UW Credit Union. Our low introductory rates allow you to quickly and easily access up to 100% of your home’s equity, so you can get the funds you need for just about whatever you need—including home remodels, debt consolidation, or school tuition. Apply online or talk to one of our experts today, and discover what possibilities your home could be hiding.

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