Home Elements & Concepts May-July 2022

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VOL. 22

publisher Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@homeelementsandconcepts.com editorial director Amy S. Johnson info@homeelementsandconcepts.com lead designer Jennifer Denman senior copy editor & lead staff writer Kyle Jacobson sales & marketing director Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@homeelementsandconcepts.com designers Crea Stellmacher, Linda Walker, Barbara Wilson administration Debora Knutson, Olivia Seehafer contributing writers Lisa Bernard, Abe Degnan, Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens, Karina Mae, MGE, Elysia O'Brien, Sketchworks Architecture, Spray-Net

Photograph provided by Degnan Design-Build-Remodel

Photograph provided by Spray-Net


EVCO Plastics' DeForest Headquarters Undergoes an Eye-Catching Makeover 32

the renovation of the first and second floor of a 20,000-square-foot headquarters

photographs Coyle Carpet One, Dane County Humane Society, Degnan Design-Build-Remodel, Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens, MGE, Chad Renly, C|R Prints & Photography LLC, Spray-Net


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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. all rights reserved. ©2022 No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission by Home Elements & Concepts.

Going Frameless


face frame versus frameless cabinets

Spring Cleaning Tips to Keep Your Floors Looking Beautiful 12 flooring care and maintenance tips


How to Turn the Brown Season Around


keeping your landscape interesting outside of the growing season


A Home for Sparky, Whiskers, and Buster planning ahead when adding a pet to your home



An Indoor Oasis a pool and spa addition


What's the Best Exterior Paint


Watch for the next issue August 2022.

things to consider when selecting an exterior paint

Cover photograph by Chad Renly, C|R Prints & Photography LLC, provided by Sketchworks Architecture.


Sustainable Living­­: Windows of Opportunity choosing the right window options for your home


4 Advertiser Index 38 From The Publisher



from the publisher Summertime, and the living is easy. Now is the time we can better appreciate the outside of our homes. From the patio, we see into our green areas and rekindle our love of gardening, birdwatching, and a host of other seasonal hobbies. There are still times you’ll want to beat the heat, and what better way to do that than by ensuring your indoor spaces are refuges that maintain a link to the world outside. Spring cleaning might be a great opportunity to change things up so you can better interact with outside areas of interest. You might also want to consider fan placement with windows to get the best breeze. Even though not every day in the summer will be a winner, there’s a lot we can get out of the scorchers. Hopefully the articles in this issue inspire you to make your home both a haven from the heat and a jump off point to enjoy a day in the sun.

Amy Johnson

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An Indoor

OASIS by Abe Degnan

Our clients desired a family retreat. Somewhere everyone could gather for all sorts of recreation. Their goals specifically included an indoor pool addition that could fit a six-person spa, an infrared sauna, and a dedicated changing room. They wanted an entertainment area where they could all hang out together, watch football and basketball games on TV, and enjoy some drinks. They also wanted big windows and plenty of light as well as operable skylights. The process of creating this room was detailed, and virtually no expense was spared. A commercial HVAC contractor was brought in to install a heating and cooling and dehumidification system designed to control the humidity and ensure that the room stays comfortable and usable year-round. The ductwork is specifically designed for the purpose of providing airflow around all of the windows and patio doors in such a way to prevent condensation. In addition, skylights can be opened in the summer to increase ventilation and allow warm humid air to escape. The room is wide open and low slung. A very comfortable and relaxed atmosphere without formality. We needed to design around limitations of second-story bedroom windows on the existing house, and by stepping down 18 inches from the floor of the main house, we achieved these goals. The room is broad, bright, and spacious. The addition has a dedicated bathroom and changing room. This multipurpose room prevents anyone from needing to walk into the HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS


8 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

main house with wet bathing suits. A Therma-Tru fiberglass door is used as a barn door. Though stained to look like natural wood, in reality, it’s immune to the high-moisture environment. The changing room has a floating vanity with a thick lavatory top. This gives us a sleek contemporary look. A lighted vanity mirror hangs above it, and the walls of the entire bathroom are finished in 24- by 12-inch wall tile from floor to ceiling. The walk-in shower has a glass panel separating it from the rest of the bathroom, keeping this interior very transparent and wide open. It boasts a teak changing bench, a niche for shampoos, and fixtures by Kohler. Precise planning was paramount throughout this entire process. The large fiberglass pool had to be installed before the room was even built. The foundation was poured, the pool was installed, and then a waterproof platform was built over top of it to function as a temporary floor for us to work on. This was to protect the pool from construction debris as well as nails, metal shavings, and other items that could rust and stain the pool interior during construction. It also provided a safe and level working surface for all the crews that were involved. Finding a place for equipment and ductwork was another challenge. There’s a pit for the pool pump and heater, which also houses the sunken spa tub. Getting the perfect amount of space for all the needed equipment while complying with electrical safety codes was a particular challenge. Meanwhile, we decided to house the HVAC equipment in the basement of the existing home. Ductwork was carefully insulated and run under the concrete floor in order to route it to the left side and right side of the room before it turned up and across the tops of the windows and patio doors. As noted, the specialty equipment and precise ductwork help keep the glass free of condensation and the entire room comfortable and healthy. Furthermore, the waste heat created by dehumidification is used to heat the stamped concrete floor through radiant tubing within it. Durable, low-maintenance materials are used in all areas. The faux beams are made of foam. The ceiling is made of aluminum. The walls use DensGlass gypsum board, which is coated in EIFS to look similar to standard drywall without any of the moisture concerns. Andersen 100-series fiberglass windows have no wood content, and composite decking was used to build the steps out from the house into the room. In the end, this project was completed in just over five months of challenging winter work, ready in time for a May HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS


client party. With careful coordination every step of the way, we collaborated with Patio Pleasures and Bachmann’s to ensure we delivered this beautiful pool, spa, and sauna— ready for family and friends.

Degnan Design-Build-Remodel 128 Commerce Street DeForest, WI 53532 608.846.5963 degnandesignbuildremodel.com

Abe Degnan, owner of Degnan Design-Build-Remodel, helps change lives and solve problems by remodeling homes. A father of six, his passions outside of work are orphan hosting and adoption. Photographs provided by Degnan Design-Build-Remodel. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com

10 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com


Abe Degnan, CGR, CGB, CAPS

Project Designer

Dave Duewell, Senior Designer

Lead Carpenter


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Your Floors Looking Beautiful

12 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

by Elysia O’Brien

Spring has sprung, and while you’re cleaning out cupboards, scrubbing the fridge, and rotating your wardrobe, don’t forget to pay some attention to your floors. A home's flooring is a significant investment frequently overlooked during spring cleaning. It’s possible to keep your floors looking great for years to come if you take a few precautions and provide sufficient care and maintenance. Get to Cleaning Our first suggestion, regardless of the type of flooring you have, is to vacuum or sweep it to keep dirt and debris from soiling or scratching it. Vacuuming is essential for basic floor maintenance, which is especially true for carpet maintenance because it removes dirt that may be trapped in the carpet fibers. Carpeted floors should be vacuumed twice a week to remove loose dirt and debris. When it comes to vacuum strength and type, different fibers and manufacturers have different requirements. So before you start, double-check your maintenance instructions to see which vacuums are safe to use on your specific carpet.



sure to keep your cleaning receipts as proof of maintenance service in case of a warranty claim. Refresh Doormats and Trim Pet Nails Doormats help to keep your floors clean by preventing dirt and debris from entering your home; make sure to clean them on a regular basis. Rubber, foam-backed, or plastic mats should not be used on laminate, luxury vinyl, or hardwood floors because they can trap moisture and discolor or ruin the floor. Woven and heat set backings allow for air flow and should be used in conjunction with rug pads to protect your hardwood floors. Additionally, you can help your floors stay clean and beautiful all year by keeping pet paws and nails trimmed. Pet nails and paws should be kept cut and free of dirt, gravel, grease, oil, and other debris to prevent scratching of floors and carpet snags. It’s a sign that your pet's nails are too long when you can hear them clicking on hard surfaces.

If you have hardwood floors, make sure the beater bar on your vacuum is disengaged or use a brushless vacuum then follow up with a dry mop to ensure a thorough cleaning. A wet mop can be used on tile, luxury vinyl, or other waterresistant flooring. Check that any cleaners you use are warranty approved for your specific floors—the best way to ensure this is to read the care and maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer of your floor. Rearrange Your Furniture and Area Rugs The natural aging process of hardwood floors and the crushing of carpet fibers results in the need to rearrange rugs and furniture frequently to avoid excessive pile crushing, minimize traffic patterns, and allow wood flooring to age evenly. Professional Carpet Cleanings Regardless of how frequently you vacuum, your carpet will require professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months to maintain its warranty. If your carpet is subject to heavy use, you may need to have it professionally cleaned at more frequent intervals. Professionals in your area can be found on the Carpet and Rug Institute's website, carpet-rug.org. Most warranties require hot water extraction to be maintained. Some styles, however, must be cleaned in a different manner. Check the manufacturer's warranty guidelines for the cleaning method for your carpet, and be 14 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

Reseal Natural Stone Floors Marble, travertine, limestone, granite, quartzite, slate, and sandstone are the most common types of natural stone flooring. Because natural stone is porous, it necessitates ongoing care and maintenance, such as resealing with a penetrating sealer. Penetrating sealers protect your natural stone from stains, bacteria growth, and acid erosion. The frequency of resealing is determined by the type of installation space



and the volume of traffic in that space; the general rule of thumb is to reseal natural stone tiles once per year.

For more on the care and maintenance of flooring, visit bit.ly/how_to_clean_floors.

Clean Smarter, Not Harder Establishing a regular cleaning routine will make spring cleaning easier by preventing the accumulation of dirt, dust, and debris throughout the year. If you have a regular source of messiness in your space (plants, pet food bowls, etc.), use catch mats, drain pans, or saucers to catch spilled water, dirt, crumbs, and other messes. Furthermore, if you have hard-surface flooring (especially hardwood, laminate, or vinyl) in a high-traffic area of your home, consider laying down area rugs to reduce wear and tear.

Elysia O’Brien is the digital & data administrator at Coyle Carpet One.

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Photographs provided by Coyle Carpet One. Coyle Carpet One 250 W. Beltline Highway Madison, WI 53713 608.257.0291 coylecarpet.com

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How to Turn the Brown Season Around by Karina Mae Our snow-covered winter days seem to be dwindling on either end of the season’s edges—the brown season of dormancy stretching on longer and longer each year. Plants and trees need soil temperatures to be above certain degrees for any growth to occur, so despite our lack of the fluffy white stuff, our growing season won’t extend quite the way our brown season will. Brown season starts as early as March and can extend until mid-May, returning by late October and lasting until the end of or past December. This potentially adds up to four months of the year, with the growing season being about the same amount of time. Given we only have a few inches of snow cover as I write this on an early February day (with 40 degrees Fahrenheit on the way tomorrow), this leaves us with some room for creative additions if we want to keep the landscape interesting. There are many ways to keep the brown season thriving, and incorporating just a few can alleviate that muddy feeling we all have in November and April. Four-season interest items would include things like stones or rocks, artwork, people spaces, 18 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

animal places, shrubs of dormant valor boasting textured or colored bark or berries, spring or fall bulbs, and even some perennials can keep the dull season from being lifeless. Being sure a few of these items are more than three feet off the ground helps with the topography of your space and will ensure they stand out amongst the snow we do get. Large satellite stones, benches and other outdoor furniture, and winding gravel paths can be amazing foundational additions to any yard. Terraced edges of large boulders, rain trenches, or flowing dried riverbeds can lend strong lines and hold their ground all year long. Waterways carved out and filled with rock will melt sooner and freeze later than other ground surfaces, leaving more time for tread into dormant spaces. Patios readied for winter with seasonal planters, optional heating or lighting, and some artwork can keep any space feeling friendly. Artwork that can endure our freezing depths would be made of wood, metal, or resin; be sure to avoid anything that could hold water. Folks could find respite around a firepit or some temperate furniture adorned with blankets. Birdhouses or nesting areas can create fantastic habitat building, while heated birdbaths make your house the dream for any wintering bird family. With more than 20 kinds of birds wintering in Wisconsin, they could provide



great entertainment and some companionship through our brown time. Shrubs or small trees are quite possibly the most efficient way to impact your dormant space, with certain varieties lending more to the beauty of dormancy than others. Exfoliating bark, such as birches, stewartia, or nine barks, can be captivating whether under ice, snow, or sitting dry. Birches, nut varieties, and several others have catacombs that last the whole winter through. Crabapples, highbush cranberries, aronias, winter berries, cotoneasters, and callicarpas will keep gorgeous berries until just before spring’s thaw. The right rose will be abound with bright orange hips. Other shrubs can have showy stems that color the landscape, versus texture it. There are hot-red and golden dogwood’s that keep fiery colors all season. Cherry bark has a dark spotted print; magnolias are elephant grey and smooth, with the canopy coated in large fuzzy buds; and aspen bark taunts a fresh green under an opaque finish. Witch hazel can bloom in either November or February for more than three weeks and comes in oranges, reds, and yellows. Oaks will keep their leaves until spring buds break the seal, dancing on the chilly breeze and frosting delightedly. Then, of course, there are the evergreens and coniferous groups which stay green all through the 20 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

year. Yews may seem outdated, but are easy to prune back to interest. Mugo pines and curly white pines differ enough from their larger relatives to keep the variety high. Boxwoods hold a solid place, and the funkier spruce and chamaecyparis lend a more unique feel. Forsythia, redbuds, magnolias, crabapples, juneberries, and cherries color the landscape long before any leaves emerge. Perennials are true summer lovers here in Madison, but some stand still, even dormant, while others lay green all season. Yuccas stand tall and green while ground sedums remain as is, poised for frost. Plants like grasses, echinaceas, monarda, and stiff asters can remain standing long after they’ve finished their season (it’s important to let them age three to five years before being left for winter interest, as ice buildup will crack the crowns on younger generations). Cutting them late April is just in time for new growth to emerge and allows your baby insects to emerge and sink into the soil. Some perennials, such as hellebores; bergenia; and ground covers, like wintergreen and ajuga, never really go dormant at all. They store any photosynthesis they can for early blooming and so remain green all winter long. Bulbs are spring’s glory color for sure, with snowdrops and crocuses blooming right around thaw and extending through daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, alliums, and more. There are also fall crocuses that show an electric pale

purple amongst November’s fallen leaves. Most bulbs are perennial for three to six years, so additions are needed to keep the bulb season glowing. Almost all bulbs are planted just prior to ground freeze for the next spring. Another small thing that can drastically change the way your garden feels as it’s waking up is applying a thin layer of mulch on top of your fall leaves. This can help bulbs to have a fresher carpet while still allowing insects to come to life. Heavy mulching too late in the fall or too early in the spring will kill beneficial insects in their young stages. Mulching for the summer should ideally happen in June, when thripstaged insects have aged to be strong enough and moved onto other life stages. Leaving your leaves in the beds adds quality nutrients and supports all sorts of microorganisms. Our brown landscape doesn’t have to be boring, we just need to think outside the growing box and imagine more for your visual palette. Karina Mae is the designer and team leader at Garden Search & Rescue. Garden Search & Rescue Madison, WI 608.438.9571 gardensearchandrescue.com




GOING FRAMELESS Mastering Your Spaces Brought to You by

For Every Room

in Your Home.

Do you have wide reveals? It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Most of us do. And they look okay. In fact, if you’ve never seen a tight reveal, you’d assume a wide reveal is normal. But with each face frame cabinet box, you’re losing a minimum of three inches.



Chris Schmidt of Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens says the tight reveals of frameless cabinets are very European. “If you ever study up on European living, every inch is not worth wasting. So if they can get the cabinets closer together, and you got 10 cabinets, you just saved 30 inches. That’s another cabinet you can fit.”


Face Frame

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When you order face frame cabinets, you’re often choosing from prefabricated cabinets to find the right combination to fit your space. With frameless, you’re getting a truly custom job to fit your space because, with only an eighth of an inch between drawers, each cabinet box needs to be precise. Frameless cabinets are also stronger. As the name suggests, there isn’t a face frame to provide any sense of structure, which means the cabinet box itself must by sturdy all around to support the entire assembly. Face frame cabinets rely on the face for structure, as the rest of the cabinet is weak enough for you to bow and warp with your own muscle.


It’s not often the most attractive look is also the most utilitarian. With a tight reveal between cabinets, you have more room for storage and the envy of your neighbors. Photographs provided by Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens.





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A Home for

Sparky, Whiskers, and Buster by Lisa Bernard

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Before you take the leap of adding a new pet to your family, there are plenty of questions to answer and shopping to be done. By thinking ahead, you’ll be able to relax and focus on your new furry friend once they’re home. To start, families should discuss what their daily routine will look like. Who’s responsible for feeding the animal and changing its water? Who will walk the dog? Who will scoop the litter box? Who will clean the rabbit’s cage? This discussion can help your family decide what type of pet you’re looking for. Would a puppy requiring lots of exercise and attention be a good fit? Or would a senior cat looking for a retirement home be a better match? Once you decide on the type of pet, you can purchase some basic items. Dogs, cats, and rabbits need food and water bowls and some toys. If you know what size dog you

plan to get, you can purchase a crate and dog bed. Future cat parents can purchase a carrier, litter box, and scratching post ahead of time. For those getting a rabbit, you’ll need a litter box and a large cage or wire dog crate about four feet long, allowing the rabbit room to stretch and stand on its back feet without bumping its head.

are toxic to animals and move those into rooms that will not be accessed by your new pet. Electrical cords, dangling strings from window treatments, medicines, cleaners, and breakable knickknacks should all be put away in closed cabinets or closets or otherwise made unreachable.

“I recommend waiting to purchase food until adopters know what their new pet is used to eating,” says Sarah Hudson, senior shelter resource counselor at Dane County Humane Society (DCHS). “This way they can avoid upset tummies by either maintaining that diet or transitioning slowly to the new one.”

When bringing home a new cat or kitten, close off a small room to be the cat’s home base, complete with water, food, litter box, toys, and scratch post. The cat may need a few days or weeks to become acclimated to this room. Once that happens, allow it to come out at its own pace to explore other areas. If you move the litter box to another area, be sure to choose a quiet location to allow for privacy.

It’s also a good idea to start pet proofing your home before bringing an animal into it. Check your plants to see if any

Puppies and dogs need safe havens too. If using a crate, Sarah advises putting it in a quiet, dark area; placing either




a plush blanket or dog bed inside; and covering the top to reduce stress. “The key to crate training is to make it a warm, positive, inviting place for your pet,” says Sarah. “The crate should never be used as punishment. Doing so will only serve to make the crate a scary place for your pet.” For dogs that don’t do well with crates, use a pet playpen or a room with a door or pet gate. For rabbits, Joan Johnson, senior animal caretaker at DCHS, recommends keeping the cage indoors in a calm environment. Don’t put the cage in direct sunlight, and make sure the area is not musty or drafty. Covering a third of the back of the cage with a sheet creates a cozy spot. “Don't let your rabbit run when they first get home,” says

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Joan. “The rabbit needs to get used to all the new smells and sounds of their new environment.” If you don’t have a veterinarian already, start looking before getting your new pet. “Veterinarians are very busy right now, and new adopters could find themselves having trouble scheduling an appointment,” says Dr. Uri Donnett, DCHS’ chief shelter veterinarian. “So starting early and calling many clinics may be necessary. It’s also good to know where your local emergency veterinarians are in case there’s an accident and you need immediate care.” If you plan to get a rabbit, you need to find a veterinarian that specializes in them. “Rabbits are considered an exotic

pet, so their veterinary care can be a little more expensive as well,” says Joan. And remember the rule of threes: be patient the first three days as your pet transitions from the shelter to your home. After three weeks, your pet likely has learned routines and is expanding their horizons. By three months, pets know they’re home. Lisa Bernard is the public relations coordinator at Dane County Humane Society. Photographs provided by Dane County Humane Society. Dane County Humane Society 5132 Voges Road Madison, WI 53718 608.838.0413 giveshelter.org




WHAT'S THE BEST EXTERIOR PAINT A Whole New Painting Experience Brought to You by

An Innovative

Painting Solution

When it comes to exterior paint, “best” depends on a myriad of factors. Answers to some core questions can help guide your decision-making process and give you a better idea of what you’ll need for your project. They can’t be summarized, so we’re going to take a deep, relatively technical dive into the things to consider when choosing the perfect exterior paint for your project over a series of articles—starting with this one.



How Long Do You Expect Your Exterior Paint Job to Last? Longevity is the primary motivation when choosing an exterior paint, and for good reason. Finding the right product isn’t easy to do nor is it cheap, so you don’t want to do it every year. In order to temper expectations, it’s important to understand that, at a chemical level, inert substrates (surfaces) will always hold exterior paint better than active or living surfaces, such as wood. Inert surfaces allow for a more stable chemical and mechanical bond. This basic chemical concept means that not much will last long on wood, and you’ll need to factor in regular maintenance. Inert surfaces offer more promise. To narrow down the scope of this statement, we’ll define durability simply as adhesion.

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Proper paint preparation is vital for a lasting paint job; applying the correct paint for the surface you’re looking to revamp is equally as important. This leads us to our second question. What Surface Are You Painting? This is by far the most important variable to consider. Although most exterior latex paints are made to be applied on just about any surface, a jack of all trades is a master of none. At a technical level, adhesion happens when the surface tension of the paint is lower than the surface energy of the surface to be painted. If the paint doesn’t properly coat or wet the surface in its entirety, you’ll never get the proper mechanical and chemical bond required for a long-lasting exterior paint job. How you apply the coating also has an impact, which we’ll talk about next issue. Beyond adhesion, we’ll need to dive a bit deeper to establish what other properties to look for on the most commonly painted exterior surfaces to ensure a long-lasting paint job. Siding Paint needs to be washable, yet slightly flexible, which creates somewhat of a paradox. It needs to be flexible enough not to crack but not too flexible that dirt pick up becomes an issue. Aesthetically, you’ll want to choose a gloss that’s not too flat but not so glossy that it enhances the appearance of any defects in your siding. In order to achieve these properties, the optimal conventional paint will be a self-cross-linking exterior paint. These types of resins create a tighter bond, allowing for better adhesion, washing, and flexibility. Doors Doors are high-traffic items that require good scratch resistance. The optimal paint for this would be an


enamel. Water-based polyurethanes are an excellent choice where enhanced flexibility and fade resistance is needed. Alkyd enamels could also do the trick if hardness is the primary desired property. Stucco This surface requires elasticity; breathability; and, ideally, washability. Ideally because, back to the elastic example, having a flexible coating that is washable is somewhat paradoxical. Although you can use an exterior latex paint on stucco, elastomeric coatings are better suited. All large paint manufacturers make these types of coatings, but the challenge they face is price. Elastomeric coatings need to be applied very thick to achieve the desired coverage, so you can expect a gallon to cover only between 75 and 100 square feet. Paint manufacturers will use additives, such as calcium carbonate (essentially chalk), to thicken their products without drastically increasing the price. The paint then becomes less washable, and that undesirable powdery finish will more quickly occur as the paint starts to degrade. Still, it’s important that you don’t purchase on price alone. Look for our next article to learn more about application of the right paint for your project. Photographs provided by Spray-Net.




EVCO Plastics’ DeForest Headquarters Undergoes

an Eye-Catching Makeover by Sketchworks Architecture

32 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

Although EVCO Plastics might not be a household name for the average consumer in Dane County, you probably have something fabricated by EVCO in your home without knowing it. Think shelving in your refrigerator, a medical device, or even a component of your electric toothbrush. The DeForest-based company, which also has locations in Oshkosh, Georgia, Mexico, and China, is a global leader in plastic injection molding and contract manufacturing. They produce countless consumer and industrial plastic products that make up components of items we use every day. Founded in 1964, the company always had its roots in DeForest. With massive growth in the years since, EVCO’s headquarters has grown to serve 425 employees. In 2019, the company met with Middleton-based Sketchworks Architecture to refresh and renew the first and second floors of their 20,000 square-foot headquarters. 1848 Construction was brought in as the design-build partner. “EVCO Plastics is a multigenerational, family-owned business with international reach, but [they] place great value on local presence and meaningful relationships,” says Sam Blahnik, vice president of business development at 1849 Construction. “The newly renovated space provides modern amenities that will attract and retain employees while keeping an intentional focus on celebrating the company’s historical roots.” Love Where You Work When EVCO’s management team met with project manager Nick Badura of Sketchworks Architecture, there were several items on the company’s wish list: creating a secure and attractive lobby, adding more meeting areas, and making employee workstations more collaborative and open. Post renovation, gone are the tall dividers between desks and crowded workstations. Workspaces have been transformed into bright areas with transom windows that allow light in throughout the entire second floor. Multiple casual spaces throughout both floors, such as informal seating areas and an updated breakroom, allow for on-the-spot meetings or conversations between employees—which is key for fostering a positive workplace dynamic. Of course, this was the intention, says Badura. “The goals were to bring more staff to this location and provide more defined visitor and staff areas. Lerdahl Interiors had worked with EVCO on an earlier breakroom project in the building, and the office design was intended to continue to modernize and match up well with the newly remodeled breakroom.” Style and design were also tantamount to the project. One of EVCO’s brand colors is blue, and the hue is woven HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS


throughout the headquarters—notably in brilliant blue walls, sleek pendant lamps, and zigzag carpet in work areas. Shades of charcoal, light grey, and beige act as a neutral, soothing backdrop. Zingy prints in carpet, wallpaper, and furnishings ensure that spaces are inspiring—unforgettable for visitors. Even the luxury vinyl tile in the brand-new lobby is laid in a decorative pattern for stylish impact. Style and Substance The overarching theme for the first and second floors was open. Instead of an enclosed breakroom, a common area with a kitchenette and bar seating provides a comfy reprieve during the day. Weaving in the latest trend in interiors, the grey and white quartz countertops and backsplash provide a seamless, sleek look while the space is warmed up with medium-hued, slab cabinetry with minimalist hardware. Gold-accented pendant lighting gives the space a restaurant vibe. “Our hope going into this project was to create an inspiring space for our cross-functional teams to innovate together,” says Anna Bartz, director. “[We] completely reworked the concept of what our corporate headquarters should be as 34 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

we look towards the future—[this] was no easy task, and Sketchworks was pivotal in making our vision come to life. We could not be more thrilled with the end product.” Comingling spaces were also located throughout both floors for employee collaboration, and several conference rooms welcome visitors and employees alike. Tables can be configured in multiple ways for large or small meetings, and rooms range from small to large, depending on what type of employee gathering is occurring. One conference room is flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows on one side, offering employees views of nature. In general, many of the rooms utilize a frameless system with sliding glass doors to visually connect spaces. Even though the renovation breathed new life into the company’s headquarters, it was important to EVCO that they maintained a sense of their company history and represented the company’s global reach. Conference rooms even give a nod to the countries in which EVCO has locations. “Along with location themes, there are items (traditional vases, tables, et cetera) that have been acquired by EVCO over the years,” says Badura. “And these items were incorporated and located in the design [in the conference rooms].” The biggest visual impact, though, is when visitors enter the building. Madison artist Tommy Sweeney worked with

EVCO to showcase the company’s history in a showstopping, photographic mural in the new lobby. “The historical wall mural in the entry captures your eye and provides a snapshot of the company’s impact,” says Blahnik. “It has been great to hear from EVCO employees on their excitement to relocate to the new space and see the creative intentionality put to use!” It’s an appropriate way to capture the company’s past—renovated space that points the company firmly toward the future. Sketchworks Architecture is a local architectural and interior design firm specializing in living, working, and entertaining environments. Our award-winning portfolio spans corporate, hospitality + retail, multifamily, government, and brewery + distillery projects. Photographs by Chad Renly, C|R Prints & Photography LLC. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com Sketchworks Architecture 2501 Parmenter Street Suite #100B Middleton, WI 53562 608.836.7570 sketchworksarch.com





Windows of Opportunity Today’s Styles Have Plenty to Offer

While new windows enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal and can increase its value, they also can improve energy efficiency. It’s an important consideration as heat loss and gain through windows is responsible for up to 30 percent of the energy used for residential heating and cooling.

Additional frame options include fiberglass, which is stronger than vinyl and can be very energy efficient. Fiberglass frames can also be fabricated to resemble wood. Another option is composite, which combines the strength and stability of wood with the rot resistance and low maintenance of vinyl.

Understanding different types of windows and materials used in their construction is essential in choosing the right option for your home. From frames to glass, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to looks, upkeep, functionality, and energy efficiency.

How Many Panes? Many older homes have single-pane windows, which are made with one pane of glass. A more energy-efficient option is a double-pane window, which consists of two glass panes with an insulating gas between the panes. Doublepane windows offer more layers of protection between the weather and your home.

Frame of Reference Many residential windows are made from wood. If you select this option, be sure to check for certification by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association. Wood windows offer good insulating value, but may require more upkeep than other styles. Consider wood windows with vinyl or aluminum cladding on the outer surface because they require less maintenance and don’t need painting. Well-built wood windows can stand the test of time, but they may be more susceptible to mold. Vinyl frames are a popular style. They’re low maintenance and easy to clean. Sunlight and extreme temperatures used to degrade vinyl, but better vinyl window grades are now available. Look for certification by the American Architectural Manufacturer’s Association. A well-constructed vinyl window can be practical and offer excellent energy efficiency. 36 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

Double-pane windows made with low-E glass are a good choice for saving energy. This type of glass is coated with a glaze that reflects heat radiation from the sun while still bringing in sunlight. Double-pane windows come in a variety of sizes and styles. There are also triple-pane windows. Considered more of a luxury product, triplepane windows are fabricated with three panes of glass. This design increases the amount of insulating space, making them very energy efficient. They also effectively keep out outdoor noise. However, triple-pane windows are costly

and quite heavy, which may require modifications to your home’s structure. Installation is Key Even the most energy-efficient windows can’t do their job if they’re not installed properly. Be sure to have your new windows installed by trained professionals according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you do not, your warranty could be void. Check the Label Once you decide on the type of windows to purchase, be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR® label. The ENERGY STAR® label indicates a product is independently certified to save energy. Check the label to be sure the windows you’re considering are certified to meet the criteria for your climate. Homes in Wisconsin are in the Northern Climate Zone. You’ll also see the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC’s) energy-performance rating on the label. This is similar to the mileage sticker on cars except the lower the NFRC-rated U-factor, the better the energy performance. This rating is the only way to accurately compare the energy efficiency of windows. The solar heat gain coefficient is also listed, which indicates how well a product blocks heat from the sun. In Wisconsin, it may be better to choose windows with a lower solar heat gain for the west and south sides of the house to keep out extra heat during the summer. Windows with a higher solar heat gain could work well on the north and east sides because they let in more of the sun’s light, which heats up your home in the winter. Update Existing Windows for Energy Efficiency Keep in mind that buying energy-efficient windows can reduce energy costs, but it takes at least 20 years to recover the cost of the new windows in energy savings. Replacing all the windows in a house rarely saves more than 15 percent of your home’s heating and cooling bill. If your existing windows are in good condition, taking steps to improve their energy efficiency may be the most cost-effective way to increase comfort and save on energy costs.

can be overlooked, but is very important. The locking mechanism activates a seal that helps keep the air you heat or cool stay inside your home. • Check for air leaks, then consider a window film to eliminate drafts. Be sure a full seal is made with the frame of the window. If there’s even a small hole or area that isn’t sealed, it will diminish the effectiveness of the covering. Another option is a temporary caulk that peels off when you want it off. Ask the Experts Window shopping can be complicated. MGE is available to answer your questions and provide tips on new windows as well as making existing windows more energy efficient. MGE’s energy experts are available 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 608.252.7117. Or you can email AskExperts@mge.com. Other Resources • mge2050.com • mge.com/saving-energy

Photographs provided by MGE. Energy Efficiency Kit focusonenergy.com/seesignup

• Use window shades strategically. During the cooling season, sun that shines on your windows heats up your home. Close window coverings to reduce heat gain. During the heating season, open window coverings to take advantage of natural light and heat from the sun.

ENERGY STAR energystar.gov

• Lock up. When heating or cooling your home, don’t just shut your windows—lock them as well. This step

MGE Connect

Focus on Energy focusonenergy.com/smart



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CityTins contains 20+ coasters redeemable at foodie-touted hotspots all over town. Each coaster is worth $10 off $25 dine-in purchase or $5 off $25 carryout purchase.

A value of $130-260. Submit 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 June 24, 2022.

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38 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

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Winner Thank you to everyone who entered our previous drawing. The winner of the $50 gift certificate to Old Sugar Distillery is Julie Holperin of Madison, WI.






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