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Jerry Schmidt Dream Team Sales

Keven Schmidt Director of Design

Your kitchen is the heart and soul of your home and this year you are determined to surprise your friends and family and give them a dining experience they will always remember.

5117 Verona Road | Madison, WI 53711 | 608-204-7575



Photograph by ORG Home

publisher Towns & Associates, Inc. PO Box 174, Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 p 608.356.8757 • f 608.356.8875 editor-in-chief Amy S. Johnson publication designer Barbara Wilson


senior copy editor Kyle Jacobson

Open Symmetry

copy editor Krystle Naab

creating the space of Tempest Oyster Bar into a casual dining experience

sales & marketing director Amy S. Johnson



Eclectic Mix


sales & marketing manager Kelly Hopkins

midcentury meets modern design

graphic designers Jennifer Denman, Crea Stellmacher, Linda Walker

provide more functionality with a Murphy bed from Cabinet City

administration Lori Czajka, Debora Knutson

tips for expressing your sentiments throughout the year

contributing writers Convivio, Shelby Deering, Marissa DeGroot, Hallman Lindsay Paints, Iconi Interiors and Consignment, Kyle Jacobson, MGE, Karina Mae, Tom Woodward

What a Comfort



Thinking Outside the Bonbon Box



ceiling fans for your bedroom, living areas, and outdoor spaces Photograph by Zane Williams

photographs Architectural Building Arts, Mary D'Alton of Convivio, Coyle Carpet One Floor & Home, Dane County Humane Society, Iconi Interiors and Consignment, MGE, Madison Lighting, ORG Home, Eric Tadsen, Zane Williams, Barbara Wilson, Shanna Wolf additional copies Home Elements & Concepts is available free at over 200 locations. If you would like a copy sent to you, please send mailing information and $4 (payable to Towns & Associates) for each magazine to Home Elements & Concepts, c/o Towns & Associates, Inc., PO Box 174, Baraboo, WI 53913-0174. subscriptions 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 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 advertise To place an advertisement, please call 608.356.8757x105 or email all rights reserved. ©2019 No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission by the publisher, Towns & Associates, Inc.

Watch for the next issue May 2019. Cover photograph by Zane Williams.


The Understory


compilation of mostly native, small trees and shrubs to add to your landscape


Stress-Free Cats


how to make your house a safe space for your cat


Maximizing the Hidden Gem of a Diamond in the Rough


a 100-year-old house with Lake Mendota views that needed some TLC

Paint on Point


balanced palettes of modern, yet timeless, colors for rooms in your house


Digital Design Renderings


new technology used by Coyle Carpet One Floor & Home that allows clients to see their dream room before it comes to life

Sustainable Living


support clean energy, use energy wisely

4 Advertiser Index 46 From The Editor


from the editor As we enter into our third year of Home Elements & Concepts, I want to say thank you. Thank you to our staff, our advertisers, and our readers. Because of you, our publication is going strong into 2019. This issue comes with a lot of ideas to help plan out your remodels and renovations this year—from the particulars, including scheming paint palettes, incorporating space-saving furniture, customizing old looks with new, and finding the right ceiling fan for fashion and function, to a new technology that allows home owners to see and explore a remodel, renovation, or dream house digitally before moving forward. You’ll find an informative article on making your home more cat friendly; a small field guide on selecting trees and shrubs for your landscape; and to help those who made a New Year’s resolution to live more sustainably, we’ve included an article on using energy efficiently as well as incorporating cleaner energy into the home. Also, be sure to check out the next installment of our business design series with Tempest Oyster Bar. We’re very fortunate to have you as our readers. Thanks again for allowing us to share the voices of those who inspire our designs and create the spaces we live in.

Amy Johnson

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Zane Williams

!"#$ #&' &$(' )$* +$,'! Winner of a NARI Regional Contractor of the Year Award


Want to save energy? Make your first stop


• Get easy, low-cost ways to save energy • Use calculators to estimate your savings • View energy-saving brochures • Learn about Focus on Energy Interested in our energy future? Visit:

GS3205 8/2/2018



Maximizing the Hidden Gem

of a Diamond in the Rough

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Photograph by Zane Williams

Photograph provided by Architectural Building Arts


Photograph by Zane Williams

This 100-year-old house with Lake Mendota views needed some TLC. Aspects of the house were very outdated, but there were also signs of serious neglect: water stains, musty odors, extremely worn flooring, and even structural problems causing the porch to slope and feel unsafe. The new owners, although eager to make improvements to function, foundation, and style, also realized that this house had some serious historical charm. Their goal was to make the home brighter and more modern while preserving the quirky details that define Madison lake homes of this period.



After realizing that the existing flooring on the entire first floor simply could not be sanded anymore or it would disintegrate, a plan was made to replace all of the flooring throughout the home. The owners felt strongly about respecting the historical styles and details of the

After 8 Additional photos at

Photograph by Zane Williams

Photograph by Zane Williams

A full house window replacement was needed with extra emphasis on the lake side. Small original windows were removed and window openings enlarged to increase natural light throughout the home. Additional windows were added to capitalize on lake views waiting to be enjoyed. The existing bay windows on each side of the house were enlarged to allow for glimpses of the lake as much as possible. In the master bedroom, mirrored closet doors were installed to reflect the lake views and make it possible to enjoy the views even while reclining in bed.

Photograph by Zane Williams

house, so new materials had to feel period authentic while providing modern quality. White oak in every room on the first floor added to the feeling of lightness and provided cohesiveness. Basketweave tile in the bathrooms is not only a nod to the past, but also provides geometric interest. Adding built-in cabinetry in the dining room and library preserves the feel of a vintage home and also provides function. The original door hardware was covered in paint and just needed to be cleaned up and restored. The new owners love the unexpected charm of original glass door knobs throughout. The kitchen was truly a unique mixture of styles and updates done over the years, and felt like a mix of 1960s and 1970s elements. The new owners enjoy cooking and wanted modern functionality but, again, hoped to keep some of the vintage details. Inset cabinetry, icebox latches, and a farmhouse sink provide the authentic vintage feel while

Photograph provided by Architectural Building Arts



all-new, state-of-the-art appliances give the modern chef what they need to operate efficiently. The whole kitchen floor plan was reconfigured as well to provide ultimate ease of use. All of the trim throughout was dark, as was the style 100 years ago. An overall color scheme incorporating lighter, more peaceful colors was chosen, and all trim was painted white. All existing walls were smooth coated with plaster to remove the heavily textured finish. The color scheme was extended to the porch as well, and a large folding glass door from Marvin connects and opens up the porch to the HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS 9

Photograph provided by Architectural Building Arts

Photograph provided by Architectural Building Arts



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main living area in nice weather. Accessories and furniture were chosen after the entire house’s color scheme was decided upon. Having a grand porch on a Lake Mendota home is a luxury, and many would say that the porch is the best room of the house! Footings and foundation were in desperate need of repair, so the whole porch was removed and reconstructed. Other alterations included installing heated flooring under the tiles and removable glass panels for easy conversion to a three-season porch. A new roof, LPŽ shake siding and trim, Marvin windows and doors, and a new garage door complete the exterior transformation. The combination of major structural and functional updates and attention to period style and details resulted in a truly original Madison lake home that the new owners will be able to enjoy for years to come. Sometimes, the old and the new cohabitate very well. View additional photographs at

Photograph by Zane Williams


PROJECT CREDITS Design/Build Firm: Architectural Building Arts Designer: Bridget Ninmann - Architectural Building Arts



Photograph by Zane Williams

Photography: Zane Williams

Photograph by Zane Williams

Interior Designer: Carol Ferris - Posh & Patina Interiors


Thinking Outside the Bonbon Box We’re all hungry for color and fun this bleak time of year. Flowers, sweets, small décor, and personal items are all inexpensive ways to brighten our spirits at the end of a long winter. Be bold when expressing your sentiments throughout the year. Paper is a wonderful material for decorating, corresponding, and for just treating yourself to something unique. Paper flowers are a great craft activity for early spring. Notebooks with happy flowered covers are perfect for keeping a journal or making to-do lists. Ribbon goes with everything and makes it more festive. Find ribbons with images that have special meaning for the people in your life. It ties a gift together in more ways than one—it’s also an inexpensive way to treat yourself to a small luxury. Chocolate = Love Packaging is part of the charm. Beautifully wrapped chocolate bars or chocolate-covered espresso beans are a different take on treats. Put them in unique, unexpected containers, like the brass dog pictured below, for personalized impact. Highly Recommended in Hot Chocolate: Coffee Liqueur A simple and delicious way to take a mocha to a new level and great for welcoming friends to an afternoon event or outdoor skating or sledding party.

Items sourced by Convivio.

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Digital Design RENDERINGS

by Shelby Deering

Experience your own HGTV moment with new technologies that allow clients to see their dream room before it comes to life through some impressive technologies. With an iPhone, we hold all the information we could possibly need in the palms of our hands. An Amazon Echo can play your favorite music and switch off the lights just from simple voice commands. And where would we be without Google?

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In this remarkable time filled with possibilities, clients can now receive digital design renderings. Bobbi Breunig, a kitchen and bath designer, says designers began presenting renderings consistently in fall 2017. “We are able to show a client various flooring selections and tile backsplash selections along with their cabinetry and countertop colors that assist them in making a confident decision when selecting these products for their project.�

As designers guide customers through the process of creating their desired spaces, they’re thrilled to provide a closer look through renderings. Bobbi explains that the designers utilize an innovative program, 2020 Design, to render designs based on selections that have been entered into the program. “We are able to upload photos of existing flooring or download any photo off the internet to put into our designs.” Bobbi adds that countertop companies, such as Cambria, have specialized catalogs that allow designers to place specific products into the renderings. “We are even able to add sunlight to show shadowing and lighting to see how the space will look with decorative fixtures.” They also include appliances, furniture, and attractive accessories to bring the space to life.


The design process begins with an initial meeting in which clients share their ultimate dream kitchen or bathroom. The designer assists in making the selections, which are then put into the design program. Bobbi says that elements of the renderings can be swapped out with other selections, such as comparing backsplash colors. The designs are typically finalized in three separate appointments. “I find that renderings help solidify their choices or drive them to selections since they’re able to see them in their space.” And there’s something new on the horizon for 2020 Design—soon, customers will be able to use virtual reality glasses to move throughout their space. “We’re not quite

there yet, but it’s coming, and we’re excited to see how that can further improve our customers’ experiences,” Bobbi says. Designers love that they can create an experience for their clients that’s inspired by the bells and whistles often seen on television. “It’s exciting to see my clients’ eyes light up when, after a long day of making selections, they get to see the design come to life right in front of them. It gives them confidence in the choices that they’ve made, and it allows them to believe that what we worked on together will be just what they expected—beautiful.” Shelby Deering is a Madison-based lifestyle writer. Photographs provided by Coyle Carpet One Floor & Home. View additional photographs at


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Coyle Carpet One Floor & Home 250 W. Beltline Highway Madison, WI 53713 608.257.0291

Made in Wisconsin for Wisconsin

• Free stain and paint color matching • Factory direct pricing every day • Large selection of quality products, stains, and paint Discover over 3000 paint colors at our 5 Madison area locations. Downtown Madison • Madison West •Middleton •Monona • Sun Prairie HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS 17


Shipshape! Brought to You by

Cabinets for every

room in your home!

What began at the turn of the century as a way to receive and court female visitors in a small San Francisco apartment without raising eyebrows has become a modern, stylish way of making the most of small spaces in today’s homes. In 1900, William Lawrence Murphy realized that his idea for a bed that “disappeared” when a lady visitor came calling, turning his bedroom into a parlor appropriate for entertaining, was deserving of a patent. The Disappearing Bed (Murphy bed) lent itself superbly to silent films as a prop for slapstick routines made popular by Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, and the Three Stooges among others. Keystone Studios built entire scenes around the notion that a piece of furniture could disappear while making people disappear with it!

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Who knew that in today’s world, where families often live in smaller urban spaces and rooms need to provide more functionality, the Murphy bed would also become a desirable and attractive way to design bedrooms, home offices, and guest rooms. The Murphy bed of today provides efficient storage, fold-down workstations, display shelving, ambient lighting, and a comfortable place to sleep. Photographs by ORG Home.




Red-twig dogwood

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Aronia melanocarpa

The Understory by Karina Mae

Rhododendron azalea

The understory is a compilation of mostly native, mostly deciduous small trees and multistem shrubs—extremely hardy to variant conditions and beautiful most of the year. They offer screening from unsightly views, shade, and health to the canopy floor, and are a fantastic variation between tree and herbaceous layers. They not only plant and play well together when stacked, but also stand well alone. Below is a list of understory trees and shrubs that offer much to the landscape—blooming at unusual times, striking the view in some strong way, and giving something truly unique. They offer more than meets the eye, ranging vastly in heights; generally multistemmed, so naturally providing habitat for birds; they often flower; offer bounty; change to a brilliant hue come fall; and add interest in the dormant winter landscape. They greatly contrast the landscape in their placement alone, occupying a midspace right at eye level while their appropriate zone and hardy nature make them easy to apply. This list is seemingly focused on aesthetics alone, but the ecosystem will also thank you. A few specific preferred varieties have been mentioned, though this can range on planting location. The list is ordered smallest to tallest considering mature height. • Forsythia. Truly any and all varieties are stunning, providing a bright show of dazzling yellow flowers coating bare branches that bloom to show spring has arrived. • Red-twig dogwood, Cornus alba, Cornus racemosa, ‘Arctic Fire’. Striking red branches mark a winter landscape while white flowers accent late spring/early summer. Handles water-sogged ground no problem. • Aronia melanocarpa, chokeberry. White flowers abound midspring. In August, glossy black fruit will be devoured by birds, just in time for foliage to rival the brightest reds come September.



• Rhododendron azalea, ‘PJM’, ‘Mandarin Lights’, ‘Landmark’. Hot displays of purple, orange, or fuchsia flowers dangle from bare or lightly leafed branches early spring. • Hazelnut, Corylus ‘Contorta’ (Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick). A fantastic foundation shrub offering curly branches, leathery leaves, fall browns, and the most unique flowers. Another favorite variety is ‘Red Dragon’, which boasts red and dark-green/purple foliage. Slow and reliable grower. • Witch hazel, Hamamelis vernalis ‘Amethyst’, Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Diane’. Blooms in February, and Hamamelis virginiana blooms in November. Feathery clumps accent soon-to-be-bare or bare limbs and last for just more than a month.

Witch hazel

• Juneberry, Amelanchier alnifolia, the saskatoon or ‘Regent’, Amelanchier canadensis. An absolute favorite! This delicate, multistemmed beauty is ornately decorated in white flowers midspring, leaving room for equally delicate leaves and small dark fruit to develop, then finally giving way to a brilliant orange come fall. A true stunner, this Wisconsin native is never a disappointing presence, and everyone, including you, will love the berries—if you can beat the birds.

Amelanchier alnifolia

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• Redbud, Cercis canadensis. Hundreds of tiny hot fuchsia flowers lace among smooth grey bark early in the spring, generally early April.

Magnolia stellata

• Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ (yellow), Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’ (purple and white). The bark of this solidtrunked tree often resembles elephant skin, but smoother. Fuzzy buds develop late fall and open to dazzling saucersized blooms midspring. The full canopy display of flowers is hard to parallel and impossible to miss on the horizon. • Crab apple, Malus. Any variety based on your preference for color of bloom, color of foliage, and size of mature tree. Shocking canopies of pinks, reds, and whites sit decoratively just above an emergent earth, as these reliable trees bloom in early spring. • River birch, Betula nigra, ‘Little King’, ‘Crimson Frost’. This multistemmed medium tree is a four-season class act. Exfoliating cinnamon- to copper- to creamcolored bark wows with age. Tolerating soggy wet feet to clay conditions makes this specimen a Wisconsin treasure. River birch


'Tricolor' beech

• ‘Tricolor’ beech, Fagus sylvatica. This tree quite possibly gets two awards of those on the list: most challenging to establish and most unique. The foliage of this slow-growing gem is usually three colors at the same time all throughout the growing season. • Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis. Evergreen and extremely tolerant of a huge variety of conditions, except hot summer sun, this tree is the only one on the list to truly stay the same all season, and the dark needles and soft feel make this an understory must have. Karina Mae is the designer and team leader at Garden Search & Rescue. View additional photographs at Garden Search & Rescue Madison, WI 608.438.9571 Hemlock

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Eclectic Mix 1. SEEN IN A MODERN LIGHT New custom lampshades bring vintage table lamps into the 21st century. The warmth of brass and taupe look fresh and updated when placed on a cool-grey, metallic-accent chest. Mix vintage and new, and warm and cool, for modern impact. 2. SHAPES & PATTERNS CONNECT OLD WITH NEW The intricacy and scale of all the patterns in this grouping create continuity and connection between old and new. The vintage settee reupholstered in a feathered, herringbone fabric is complemented by the delicate patterns of the custom pillows. Everything is tied together by the statement piece: the new, threepiece metal wall sculpture, which creates interesting shadows with changing light. 3. CONTRAST THAT WORKS The stark nature of this midcentury chrome and leather Wassily chair are beautifully set off by the design of the modern distressed oriental rug. Warm caramel tones in the new mixed-media console table echo the colors of the rich leather chair.

Items sourced from Iconi Interiors and Consignment.

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Home by Duren Custom Builders with ceiling fan from Madison Lighting.

WHAT A Comfort by Tom Woodward

Enthusiasts of ceiling fans say that in a climate like Wisconsin’s, a ceiling fan makes a huge difference in comfort. In summer, a quality ceiling fan quietly moves heavy, humid air when you want to open your windows. Air stirred by a ceiling fan feels cool to your skin because the fan actually makes a light windchill effect. This gentle movement of air makes a room feel fresher without the chilled, shut-in-with-the-air-conditioning-on feeling. Come fall, simply flip the switch so the blades turn in the opposite direction and the fan pulls cold air up from the floor to mix with the heated air near the ceiling, recirculating it, making the room feel warmer as it evens out the temperature. A ceiling fan that’s correctly sized for a room is often run throughout the year for comfort.

Custom Homes of Waunakee featured a minifan in the same sharp white as the other appliances, a crisp contrast to the cloud-grey cupboards. Fans are available in many finishes, from stained or painted wood to polished chrome, oiled bronze, and aged brass. Sleek and streamlined, propeller-style, rustic-luxe, loft-

Home by Classic Custom Homes of Waunakee with fan and lighting from Madison Lighting.

Expensive to run? Not at all—a ceiling fan costs pennies to run. Compare that to the average air-conditioning unit that costs an estimated $120 per month when running six hours each day. Ceiling fans only need to run when you’re in the room because their cooling effect is instant. Enter a room and flip it on like you would a light. Most people find they can push their thermostat up six or seven degrees in the summer and run the air-conditioning far less because their fan is such a workhorse. And while a ceiling fan is saving you money on your energy bill, it’s also saving energy, which is a mighty green thing to do. What about style? A quality ceiling fan can be a stunning visual element in a room. At the 2018 Parade of Homes, we saw the simplicity of a new brass fan in a home built by NorthPointe Construction that gave counterpoint to stunning brass hardware. A farmhouse built by Duren Custom Homes embellished the family room with an old windmill-style fan. A second-floor laundry room in a home by Classic


living, minimalist, and decked-out looks, ceiling fans come in so many varieties that it’s interesting to see how they can add style to a room. There’s a huge quality range in the manufacturing of ceiling fans. If you plan to invest in one, remember it’s an appliance. Hardiness matters when it comes to the fan’s length of service. A quality ceiling fan can actually be fairly inexpensive, as low as a couple hundred dollars. The key is what’s inside: long-wearing, quality parts that can be repaired or replaced over the years or a fan made of plastic parts with a sealed housing that cannot be repaired.

Like a refrigerator, a ceiling fan is also built to run. But unlike a refrigerator, the working conditions for a fan change. Humidity; heat; and, for a fan that’s wet or damp rated for use on a porch or pergola, huge temperature swings will test a ceiling fan. A quality fan shoulders those challenges and keeps on running. If setting your thermostat up in summer and spending less on air-conditioning is your goal, you’ll need to do a bit of homework before you shop. Measure the room where your new fan will be located, including the ceiling height. Are the ceilings vaulted? Take note and then visit

Home by Hart DeNoble Builders with fan and lighting from Madison Lighting. 30 Additional photos at to better understand what you need in your new fan. There are three key elements when selecting a fan: the size of the fan, where to place it in the room, and what size motor you’ll need to move the volume of air in there. It sounds like a lot of heavy lifting, but it’s surprisingly simple. A fan that’s too small doesn’t make the whole room more comfortable, a fan that’s closer to the floor than seven feet moves the air inadequately, and a fan with an undersized motor can’t move the air efficiently. All these things mean you won’t be able to adjust your thermostat and save energy.

Home by Classic Custom Homes of Waunakee with ceiling fan from Madison Lighting.

Home by Duren Custom Builders with ceiling fan from Madison Lighting.

The experts at Madison Lighting can help you check all the boxes and find the right fan for your room. From bedrooms to pantries, screen porches, and outdoor dining spaces and the family room to your walk-in closet, there’s a fan that will make it feel better to use the space and while making it look beautiful too. Tom Woodward is the owner of Madison Lighting, a brickand-mortar showroom in Madison, and the nationally known online shopping experience at Photographs provided by Madison Lighting, taken by Shanna Wolf. View additional photographs at Madison Lighting 6701 Watts Road Madison, WI 53719 608.271.6911


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How to Beat the Bidding Wars! Avoid the stress of the crazy Spring Market GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER • Use the Winter/slow time to get rid of your debt! • Get a PRE-APPROVAL from a LOCAL Lender/Broker so you can start the buying process immediately (this is different than a “pre-qualification” and carries more clout). Sellers and their agents tend to give preference to pre-approval letters originating from local area banks and lenders. Your agent can recommend good sources for pre-approval letters locally.

DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT BEFORE STARTING YOUR SEARCH • You will beat competitors to the punch and make offers faster! • You and your spouse/significant other need to agree on “Must Haves!” Create separate priority lists, and then compare/combine them so your agent can use them as the FOUNDATION of your search. • Spend time driving around desired neighborhoods during different times of the day to see if location variables fit your needs (do this PRIOR to going to showings!).

PREPARATION SAVES TIME…AND TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE • Try to get in to see houses BEFORE the scheduled open house times. • Have your Realtor ask questions PRIOR to the showing so you can be ready to submit an offer as needed. - Are there any offers on the table currently? - Will they be presenting offers as they come in? • Ask your Realtor for a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) to determine the home’s actual worth. - It’s okay to pay more than the appraised value, or asking price. - Don’t let your emotions get the best of you: there will always be more “fish in the sea.” Walk away if your gut tells you to.

SELL YOURSELF TO THE SELLER: NEGOTIATION IS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT $ ONLY! • Ask your Realtor for advice regarding an Earnest Money Deposit. Then consider raising that amount. You’re going to pay it anyway at closing. • Don’t make a lot of special requests or ask for additional inclusions. - Wait until AFTER your offer is accepted and address any concerns during your home inspection contingency timeframe. This is the key to determine what the Seller needs to compensate you for any deficiencies found in the home. • Writing a letter to the Seller is a nice touch! Explain how you see yourself in the home and what you love about the house. Have your Realtor submit the letter along with your offer. • Put yourself in the Seller’s shoes and get creative to make your offer stand out from others. Small details can add up and push your offer to the top of the pile.

Contact Laura today! Laura Lahti with Badger Realty Team is a seasoned Realtor with a great reputation in the community. Contact her today to assist with negotiations and manage your paperwork details so you don’t miss your chance on a great home!

608.239.3469 HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS 33


Sustainable Living

Support Clean Energy, Use Energy Wisely Maybe you take shorter showers or collect rainwater for your garden. Maybe you access tickets and receipts electronically from your smartphone instead of printing paper copies. Maybe you bike to work. Whatever your contribution, the reality is that more people are choosing to live sustainable lifestyles. An important part of sustainable living is making smart choices about energy. Supporting locally generated renewable energy is one way to meet your household's needs while reducing your individual footprint. Joining the Shared Solar Community MGE provides easy ways for customers to power their homes with clean energy. Shared Solar is an innovative program that offers participants the benefits of locally generated solar power without having to install solar panels on their homes. Instead, subscribers to the program share the electricity generated by a solar array in their community. “Our customers asked for additional clean energy options, and we responded with Shared Solar,” says Cheri Salmon, MGE market development manager. “It’s a simple way for them to add solar power to their individual energy mix.” MGE partnered with the City of Middleton on its first Shared Solar project—a 500-kilowatt solar array on the roof of the City’s Municipal Operations Center. More than 280 customers subscribed. The program sold out quickly in 2016, 34 Additional photos at

even before the 1,700-panel solar array began generating clean energy in early 2017. “When they offered this partnership, I thought it was brilliant,” says James Monroe, Shared Solar participant from Madison. “It gives me all the benefit of getting solar on my own roof without any of the upfront costs or maintenance costs.” With a low upfront cost, Shared Solar is an option for customers who want solar power but choose not to install or cannot install solar panels at their home. Participants pay a one-time, upfront fee to reserve some of the electricity produced and a fixed rate per kilowatt-hour for up to 50 percent of their annual electric usage. This rate stays with subscribing customers for 25 years—even if they move within MGE’s electric service area. “It’s relatively inexpensive,” says Patrick Eagan, Shared Solar participant from Middleton. “If you were to put solar panels on your house, it would cost thousands of dollars. This is hundreds of dollars.” Shared Solar is a good option for a customer living in an apartment or condo, or for a homeowner with a shaded roof. “We actually had explored solar for our house, and we would have had to cut down trees,” says Anna Biermeier, Shared Solar participant from Middleton. “When we had the opportunity to buy into a cooperative effort, it was wonderful.”

“We can have solar without having solar on our own property,” says Penny DePaola, Shared Solar participant from Madison. The clean, renewable energy generated through Shared Solar helps the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helps to manage fuel costs that can increase over time. “This partnership with customers and the City of Middleton also advances MGE's Energy 2030 framework, under which we have set the goal of supplying 30 percent of our retail electric sales with renewable energy by 2030,” Cheri says. “Working together, we can reach our shared goal of a cleaner energy future.” Expanding Shared Solar “It’s a good investment,” explains Paul Sager, Shared Solar participant from Middleton. “Why couldn’t they do more of these?” MGE is planning to expand its successful program with a second solar installation. If approved by regulators, the array will deliver locally generated clean energy to subscribing customers. “We are pleased to continue to partner with customers to advance renewable energy and to be planning an expansion that will create more opportunities for customers to purchase clean energy,” Cheri says. Customers who join the waiting list will be notified when program details become available. You can visit /SharedSolar to join the waiting list to participate. “It’s really exciting to be a part of something new coming out like this,” says Miguel Benson, Shared Solar participant from Madison. “Everyone pitches in a little bit, and we get a big reward from it as a group.”

• Drive an electric vehicle (EV). EVs cost less to drive and to maintain. Today’s all-electric models can go up to 200plus miles on a full charge. When you charge at MGE’s public charging network, you fuel up using 100 percent clean energy. Visit to learn more. Take it a step further and charge your EV at home with green power. Add yourself to the waiting list for MGE's Shared Solar or sign up for MGE’s Green Power Tomorrow program. It offers up to 100 percent renewable energy for your home. Visit and for details. • Use a smart thermostat. These devices have the capability to control the temperature in your home remotely via a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Smart wall switches, outlets, and plugs also offer convenience and energy savings. Visit for a $75 incentive offer on qualifying smart thermostats. • Switch to LED lighting. Regular incandescent bulbs are inefficient, converting only 10 percent of the electricity used into light. LEDs are a better option. They are more efficient and last longer. Visit /energyuse to learn about LEDs and other ways to save energy. It’s easy to track your energy usage at Customers can view and download history and use it to track cost savings from making energy-efficiency improvements. As your community energy company, MGE is your source for energy-saving information. Visit and Or talk to an energy expert on MGE's Home Energy Line at 608.252.7117 or 800.245.1125, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by email at Photographs provided by MGE.

Managing Your Energy Use Powering your home with clean energy is one part of the sustainability equation. Being energy efficient and actively managing your energy use are other important pieces. New technologies create opportunities to be more sustainable. MGE is committed to working with customers to help manage their use and cost by tapping new technologies. Consider some of these strategies for more sustainable living: HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS 35


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An established space isn’t a confined space when it comes to redesign. I’m reminded of the struggles an artist friend of mine had when creating assignments for his design students. He’d establish parameters, anything from using specific techniques to approaching a select medium, and his students would initially question why he was stifling their creativity. They would learn that creativity isn’t about doing whatever you want—it’s the challenge of making an idea or a concept accessible in a defined setting through design choices that train an audience to intuitively navigate that world.

by Kyle Jacobson

Henry Doane had a vision when he took to converting the high-repute Restaurant Magnus to Tempest Oyster Bar. He wanted the space to provide a casual dining experience alongside that of fine dining without one taking over the other. The space itself gave him limitations, but he saw the potential to work within those restrictions and develop cohesion for the two dining worlds while employing a unique take on nautical. Upon entering the lobby, a patron finds a classic 1948 ChrisCraft boat. On the left of the northwest wall in the lobby, dark wood frames the host station that then opens up to a white room with a plank floor, brownish-red tops, and white vinyl upholstery lit by a bowing chandelier. The room measures itself somewhere between classical and ocean liner, a luxury banquet hall in the captain’s chambers. An airy touch is added with an array of antique mirrors and old ship lights. “I tried to keep it what I call ‘nautical chic,’” says Henry. “I don’t want it to be tacky, but I want it to be fun in a way.” He doesn’t go all out with fishnets and the expected for seafood restaurants, but that’s not to say those elements don’t sneak in. Back in the lobby with the old Chris-Craft, a blue marlin hangs next to the entrance to the bar, which juxtaposes the host-stand entrance on the shared northwest wall by trading rich wood tones for some off-white curtains. The bar takes everything from the fine dining area and tones down the classical to add industrial to the mix. It’s design choices—the exposed-duct vent covers, the lights, and the stainless steel chairs—that drastically alter the feel, but the white palette is familiar. A solid hemlock bar top, four inches thick, sits atop a base filled with empty wine bottles glowing dull from muted lighting, making them appear as though polished by sand and sea. Then there’s the clamshell stage at the far end with its semicircle booth, which creates a sort of kingpin nook. HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS 37

The crazy thing about the space is that when I walk in, I don’t question the eclectic design choices the two areas share via three large floor-to-ceiling openings in the dividing wall. One ambiance almost seamlessly drifts into the other. If anything can be said about Henry “trying to open up the space to give more panoramic views of the whole interior,” it’s that it works because he knew he needed to be meticulous in realizing his vision. He went for a connection that spans the entire restaurant. “I just tried to use everything I could find that was actually authentic. … I was trying to be sensitive to the space and the historical integrity. I kept all the original windows and the woodwork.” Beyond authenticity, Henry needed a sense of balance in each space, particularly the bar. “The stained glass was here from Magnus. … They really work well with the restaurant, but they had no symmetry.” The problem here was a support column in the bar that sat off to the side of the exterior door. A false column was inserted to center the draft tower between it and the existing column. On either side of the door hangs a blanket of silver fishing spoons behind Tempest’s hard-alcohol selection, creating a symmetry look more apparent than that in the fine dining area. But perhaps a simpler answer exists for the cohesion that rings throughout. “There’s some rust and there’s some weathered stuff and found objects. I just kind of mixed it up, but I wanted it to have interest.” Every seat provides something that draws intrigue without feeling gaudy or gimmicky. It’s not always the pieces themselves, but the

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mystery of their origins. Like some of my favorite artwork, thought is guided by Henry’s design decisions to ultimately be interpreted by the individual, injecting each repeat experience with the stimulus to feel distinct. Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor for Home Elements & Concepts, and a writer and beer enthusiast (sometimes all at once) living in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Photographs by Eric Tadsen. View additional photographs at Tempest Oyster Bar 120 E. Wilson Street Madison, WI 53703 608.258.1443










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Stress-Free CATS by Marissa DeGroot

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Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) staff and volunteers keep very busy reuniting lost pets with their families, creating new matches, and counseling community members who are facing issues with their pets. DCHS staff find the top reasons cat owners seek help are litter box issues and poor reactions to people or other pets in the house. These issues, and many others, are usually caused by stress. What can you do to help make your home less stressful for your feline friends?

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Make your Home Interesting Interactive play time of 10 to 15 minutes twice a day keeps your cat healthy and may help reduce anxiety. Cats also love to find hidden food, so try putting food in a treat ball or make your own by sealing the ends of a paper towel roll and poking holes in it. Give your cat new things to play with and investigate. This doesn’t necessarily mean buying a new toy every week. Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that make your cat most happy—a paper bag, cardboard boxes, aluminum foil balls, or reintroducing toys they haven’t seen in a while. Of course, cats always love a good scratching post too!

Photograph provided by Dane County Humane Society

Make your Home Feel Safe Make your home a refuge for your cat by providing safe hiding spaces throughout the house, like a cat tree, cardboard box, space in a closet, or towel draped over a chair. Also, find a good spot up high where your cat can nap or keep an eye on everyone below. If your cat seems anxious, you can also try calming products, like Comfort Zone Feliway Plug-In Diffusers and Sentry Calming Collars, which release a pheromone to calm stressed cats. Make Litter Box Time Stress Free Many litter box problems stem from a medical concern, such as a urinary tract infection or urinary crystals, that can make using the litter box painful, so always consult your veterinarian first. Once that has been ruled out or to help your cat like their litter box again, there are many steps families can take to make their cats more comfortable.


Making your home safe and stimulating for your cat is one of the best ways to keep kitty stress free and happy for years to come. For more pet-care resources, visit

Photograph provided by Dane County Humane Society

Cats like their litter boxes to have a bit of elbow room in a quiet part of the house where they won’t be surprised. Consider upgrading the size of the box and adding an additional box. Also, try one that is open on top, as hooded litter boxes prevent cats from seeing around them and can make some kitties uneasy. Be mindful of what you are putting in the litter box too. A nonscented litter is usually best, as cats tend to dislike strong scents. One and a half to two inches of litter is generally enough, but not too much where paws sink in. It’s important to remove waste daily, but generally litter boxes don’t need a deep cleaning more than once every three or four weeks. Kitties like to have clean bathrooms! Marissa DeGroot is the public relations coordinator at Dane County Humane Society. Dane County Humane Society 5132 Voges Road Madison, WI 53718 608.838.0413

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Home Elements & Concepts February - April 2019  

Home Elements & Concepts is devoted to sharing the voices of people who create the spaces we live in. You’ll hear firsthand from area artist...

Home Elements & Concepts February - April 2019  

Home Elements & Concepts is devoted to sharing the voices of people who create the spaces we live in. You’ll hear firsthand from area artist...