Home Elements & Concepts November 2020 - January 2021

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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 Photograph provided by Cabinet City

copy editor Krystle Naab sales & marketing director Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@homeelementsandconcepts.com designers Crea Stellmacher, Linda Walker, Barbara Wilson administration Debora Knutson

Photograph provided by Washa Remodeling & Design


Dugnadsånd Bygger Livsreise


layers of engaging architecture, woodwork, and technology bring life to the artifacts and stories found at Livsreise–Norwegian Heritage Center in Stoughton

contributing writers Avid Gardener, Cabinet City, Christopher Eaglin, Karina Mae, Aron Meudt-Thering, MGE, Nick Siglinsky, Jessica Steinhoff


photographs Avid Gardener, Cabinet City, Christopher Eaglin, Garden Search & Rescue, Livsreise–Norwegian Heritage Center, Aron Meudt-Thering, MGE, Pete Olsen Photography, TKWA, Washa Remodeling & Design

consider building a team of experts to assist you when investing in a rental property

Five Experts to Consult When Buying a Rental Property



Accessorizing Your Accessorizer


read about the versatility of 32mm closet systems from Cabinet City

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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.

spending time outside and gardening offers many health benefits

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Taliesin Forever Relevant

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

Watch for the next issue February 2021. Cover photograph by Pete Olsen Photography (peteolsenphotography.com), provided by Garden Search & Rescue.

Impact-Resistant Shingles


protect your roof during extreme weather with impact-resistant shingles


Mental Health Benefits of Gardening Prairies In and Outside Town



managing a prairie or prairie plants is an amazing peek into a complex ecosystem



read about the relevance of Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's personal home


A Minimalist Kitchen: Enhanced Function and Efficiency


a minimalist kitchen remodel completed by Washa Remodeling & Design creates a clean modern look


Sustainable Living: Make Your Home Comfortable and Energy Efficient this Winter combat the winter chill and save energy with these tips


4 Advertiser Index 38 From The Publisher



from the publisher One of the most difficult years in our nation’s and world’s history is drawing to a close. The year seemed to start as any other even with the press intimating a potential health concern on the horizon. We’d been cautioned that a pandemic was likely imminent someday, but that idea always seemed more like science-fiction than an actual occurrence. In the blink of an eye, someday came. Hospitals and grocery stores filled to capacity, businesses and everything fun closed, and toilet paper and sanitizing wipes became as rare as a corpse flower. We faced an extraordinary life shift when we were asked to shelter Safe at Home. For those more fortunate, remote working was an option—a year ago, the mention of Zoom would have conjured up the image of the Looney Tunes Road Runner—while for others, when or if they’d be able to return to their job was unclear. No matter which group you fell into, you were luckier than those who’d been hospitalized, unsure when or if they’d return home. These things and more have made 2020 a heavy burden to bear, with 2021 to likely be a sequel. Struggling businesses that have reinvented themselves more times than we have fingers are still unsure if they’ll survive. Schools have had to vacillate between in-person and virtual learning. Record unemployment continues with no end in sight. And as of this writing, almost 220,000 people in this country have lost their lives, which some in public health say is a low estimate. Through all of this, there have been moments of harmony, including communities stepping up on behalf of local businesses through online shopping, carryout, and Go Fund Me contributions. Many individuals used their imaginations to create special recognitions for first responders. Families who normally spend the majority of each day apart for work, school, and extracurricular activities are again spending time together. It’s the latter that has emphasized the importance of home. It has come to embrace togetherness again through our collective cooking, eating, and playing. It’s in that theme of home that we exist—not for the superficial, but for the building and creating of spaces commensurate to the vision we have for ourselves and our families. It’s my hope that you’ll remain safe and healthy this holiday season, and that the year ending and the one beginning will allow you the time for reflection and planning.

Amy Johnson

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A Minimalist Kitchen

Enhanced Function and Efficiency by Nick Siglinsky

Minimalist design is a popular trend in both kitchen and bathroom remodels—you take away the focal points and allow the room to speak for itself. It’s a clean, functional, less-is-more approach. In a kitchen space, minimalism lends itself to better flow. Every item must have a use, or even better, serve a dual purpose, or it must go. Definitely no duplicates! This creates clutter-free counters, allowing for a much more functional kitchen. This minimalist kitchen, recently completed by Washa Remodeling & Design in the Shorewood Hills neighborhood, fits the description perfectly. The original design caused




the space to immediately feel cramped. The upper cabinets shrank the width of the kitchen, and there was wasted space due to a service door leading into the backyard. To open up the limited space, the service door was abandoned, and a large picture window was added to expand the sight lines.


The minimalist design was completely embraced by the homeowners, especially when it came to their color-scheme selection. The white walls and ceiling and muted grey accent wall contrast nicely with the black island cabinets, providing depth to the space. A white quartz countertop was chosen to enhance their clean-look goals. With no appliances on the countertops, the homeowners thought a countertop with multiple colors and veining would look too busy—a contradiction to the intended design.

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The single hardest issue to overcome in this remodel was a lack of storage space. Since there would be no upper cabinets, the storage space would be reduced by half. This problem was further compounded by needing to hide kitchen appliances to keep the countertops clean. At a bare minimum, most homeowners need a toaster, coffeemaker, and microwave. We ultimately hid the microwave in a built-in island space, the toaster behind cabinet doors, and the coffeemaker was moved to a beverage bar at the end of the kitchen. It’s amazing how once you commit to making sure that everything in your kitchen has a function, the amount of storage space needed is greatly reduced.


A minimalist-designed kitchen is appealing to many because of the functionality and efficiency that comes with the clean, modern look. But all kitchen styles and looks can




work; you just need to determine and incorporate the one that best works for you. Nick Siglinsky is a project/marketing manager at Washa Remodeling & Design. Photographs provided by Washa Remodeling & Design. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com Washa Remodeling & Design 2605 S. Stoughton Road Madison, WI 53716 608.838.8318 washaremodeling.com

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Mental Health Benefits of Gardening Spending time outside feeds our minds and bodies, and now more than ever, gardening takes on the importance of connecting to the healing of nature. The following is based upon a Seth J. Gillihan, PhD, article in Psychology Today (June 19, 2019) regarding health benefits from gardening. Practice Acceptance. Your garden is influenced by many factors of nature beyond

your control. You can only do your best, and whatever results will be enough. Move Beyond Perfectionism. Learn to be proud of what you achieve, not

discouraged that it isn’t perfect. Relish the process and celebrate the imperfections— even a flawed blossom is lovely in its own way. Develop a Growth Mindset. Gardening is often a process of trial and error. When

something turns out different than you hoped, a growth mindset allows you to learn from it, even if the result is of your own mistakes. Connect with Others. Gardening is a great way to open new doors of connection.

Gardeners love other gardeners: you can share tips, tricks, and the literal fruits of your labors. Connect to Your World. Gardening provides a hands-on connection to the earth.

You eat the vegetables you harvest, savor the herbs you prune, and enjoy the flowers you tend. Bathe in Green. Studies have found being in green or even simply looking out over

a green landscape is linked with better recovery from surgery, reduced anxiety and depression, improved stress management, and other positive effects. Be Present. Gardening helps you become centered, allowing time for just you

and nature. Physical Exercise. There’s no shortage of physical activity in gardening, applicable

to all levels of fitness and mobility. Eat Healthy. A garden can yield the freshest and healthiest foods. Reduce Stress. All of the above provide ample opportunities for you to

reduce stress.

All items sourced by Avid Gardener, a funky gardening specialty store offering eclectic gardening items, top quality plants, and fantastically useful goods. They have spring pansies; unique summer annuals and hanging baskets; fall mums; and fresh handmade Fraser fir wreaths, boughs, holiday porch pots, and all the trimmings to create a magical Christmas. They also have wonderful gifts, from garden supplies and home goods to local cheeses and charcuterie selections. avid-gardener.com

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SHINGLES by Christopher Eaglin

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Photograph provided by Christopher Eaglin

While hail damage may not be the first thing you consider when contemplating potential home risks, it’s a very common and expensive occurrence. In the 2018 webinar Hail: The Hidden Risk, Dr. Arindam Samanta says more than 10.7 million U.S. properties were affected by one or more damaging hail events in 2017. The highly localized nature of hailstorms makes their risks challenging to manage. Even in states more prone to hail, losses can fluctuate dramatically from year to year. And now, more and more hail events occur outside those areas. The roof is an essential part of your home or structure, protecting the inside from heavy wind, rain, and hail. If it isn’t strong enough, it will break or tear under the stress of extreme weather, which can leave your home or structure prone to leaks and other structural issues. Consequently,



it’s important to invest in a high-quality, impact-resistant roof to maintain the most protection.

Photograph provided by Christopher Eaglin

Impact-resistant shingles are made with high-quality, durable materials that are more resistant to hail and debris. These materials protect your roof, making it less likely it will suffer severe damage during extreme weather. A four-class system is used to identify the level of impact resistance a product has. Each shingle’s class is determined by dropping steel balls from a specified height onto the shingles. Shingles that show no signs of cracking or breakage after struck with two one-and-a-quarter-inch steel balls (roughly the diameter of a half dollar) dropped from 12 feet in the same spot receive a Class 1 rating. A

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Class 4 rating means the shingles retain their integrity after two two-inch steel balls (almost the size of a billiard ball) strike the same spot when dropped from 20 feet. The benefits of a Class 4-shingled roof offer peace of mind along with some financial incentives. Though it’s true that you’ll pay more upfront, insurance discounts may be offered for homeowners with the highest-quality shingles. You’ll also save money by extending the life of your roof while minimizing, or even eliminating, the need for repairs. It’s worth noting that Class 4 shingles are impact resistant, not impact proof, and manufacturer warranties do not cover hail damage. Safely inspecting your roof for leaks from time to time, especially after a hail or wind storm, is a great way to ensure damages are quickly addressed. This helps prevent a slew of potential problems from occurring, ranging from inconvenient to structurally compromising.

Shingles might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to investing in your home, but the role they play in protecting your roof and everything under it cannot be overstated. As with any construction project, be sure to follow building codes that may specify the class of impactresistant materials your home or structure must use. Christopher Eaglin is the owner of Christopher Ross Contracting (CRC), which provides insulation, siding, roofing, gutters, and window services in the Greater Madison area. Christopher Ross Contracting 1310 Mendota Street Madison, WI 53714 888.755.1272 crcwi.com




Sustainable Living

Make Your Home Comfortable and Energy Efficient this Winter Wisconsin winters mean snow, ice, and cold temperatures. While we enjoy the season's picturesque landscapes and outdoor activities, we also need to shift gears and adjust the way we keep our home comfortable. Implementing some easy strategies will help combat the winter chill and save energy. Keep Filters Clean The furnace filter is a small but important part of your heating system. A clogged filter can inhibit airflow, causing your furnace to work harder and use more energy. During the heating season, check your filter monthly, and clean or replace it when it’s dirty. When purchasing new filters, pay attention to the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. The higher the rating, the finer the filtration it provides. According to recent testing by Consumer Reports, top-performing filters have a MERV higher than 10. Filters with a lower MERV allow hair and other large particles to get through. Open or Close Vents Properly opening and closing high and low vent returns will help your furnace to operate efficiently. If your home has high and low vents, you’ll see low vents on the wall near the floor, 20 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

while high vents will be straight up from the low vents toward the ceiling. Hot air rises and cold air falls, so in the winter you’ll want the cold air to be drawn through the return registers for the furnace to heat it. You can achieve this by opening lower vents and closing top vents. Cover Windows at Night About 30 percent of a home's heating energy is lost through windows, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Insulated blinds, shades, and curtains are an effective way to keep your home warm in the winter months, and they have a vapor barrier on the warm side to prevent moisture from passing through the window treatment and condensing on the cold window. Insulated window treatments come in a variety of styles. Cellular shades contain one or more air layers in a honeycomb cross section. The air layers act as insulators, reducing heat loss through the window. The next level would be window warmers. They feature a layer of bonded fiber that’s covered with a vapor barrier and

enclosed in fabric. When the window warmer is lowered, the edges seal with clamps that match your window trim. No matter which you choose, be smart with your window coverings—open them during the day to take advantage of natural light and the sun’s heat, and close them at night to keep the warm air inside. Seal Air Leaks Heat can escape through your home’s gaps, cracks, and holes. Air sealing around windows and doors is an effective way to keep the heat inside your home this winter. Helpful strategies include: • Window film. An inexpensive way to help reduce winter drafts and condensation. It’s easy to apply and can even be used over mini blinds. • Caulk to seal window air leaks. Caulking compounds come in a variety of strengths and prices. Most are available in disposable cartridges that fit in a caulking gun, while some come in squeeze tubes, ropes, or aerosol cans. Caulk should be applied during dry weather when the temperature is at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit. • Weatherstripping. It works well to seal air leaks around movable components, such as doors. Weatherstripping is available in many different materials, so it's important to read the packaging and choose the right type of weatherstripping for your project. Proper application is key. Be sure your weatherstripping meets tightly in corners—apply one continuous strip along each side and be sure to weatherstrip the entire door jamb.

To take air sealing a step further, a good place to start in our climate is the attic. Warm air rises, so make sure warm air doesn’t escape through attic leaks. Air sealing and insulation go hand in hand, with air sealing done first to stop warm air from rising into the attic. Consider hiring a professional to complete a full air-sealing package. Reduce Heat Loss from Fireplaces If you’re improperly using your fireplace, it can take warm air away from your home. Follow these tips for maximum operating efficiency. • When not using the fireplace, close the damper. An open damper acts like a large hole, pulling hot air out through the chimney. • When using the fireplace, open dampers in the bottom of the firebox or open the nearest window slightly. Then close doors leading into the room and set the thermostat to between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure these temperatures will keep water pipes in other areas of the home from freezing. • Consider grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool air from the room into the fireplace and then circulate the warm air back into the room. If you’re installing a fireplace or upgrading an existing one, opt for a model with an airtight door and a blower. The more airtight the door, the more heat you’ll get from the fireplace. The blower is important because it moves hot air across the top of the fireplace into your room. Think Twice About Space Heaters Some people believe turning down the thermostat and using an electric space heater will save money. A space heater can be one of the most expensive ways to heat your home. At today's prices, electric heat costs at least eight times as much per BTU as natural gas. Running a typical 1,500 watt electric space heater four hours each day for a month would cost $25. Ask the Experts MGE is available to answer your questions and provide tips on staying comfortable and saving energy in the winter and throughout the year. Energy experts are available on the MGE Home Energy Line from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 608.252.7117, or you may email AskExperts@mge.com. Other resources for saving energy include mge.com/saving-energy and mge2050.com. Photographs provided by MGE. HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS



PRAIRIES In and Outside Town by Karina Mae

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Prairies, the heart of Midwestern scenery, are made up mostly of grasses, taller grasses, grass-like plants, sedges, and flowering plants. They can seemingly roll on forever or dapple the smallest spaces. Forbs that are present can vary greatly in color, bloom, and height, and reside mainly within the Great Plains of the Midwest. Prairies are only about 8,000 years old and, surprisingly, only about 1 percent are left. Care for and establishment of these land beauties is often only for the truly committed, but the reward is more than equal the endeavor. While prairies are 80 percent grasses, it’s often the flowers that people remember. Flower fields bloom in varying abundance and dazzle in yellows, purples, pinks, and whites with coneflowers, milkweeds, rosin weeds, prairie dock, plantains, and clover, to name a few. A sea of dancing

insects can be found hovering above, pollinating and eating with fervor. The air is filled with the cacophony of humming and buzzing; birds swoop, sing, and chirp with afternoon snacking. A visit that allows time for sitting, watching, and pondering will often delight with the sighting of sparrows, finches, jays, butterflies, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, katydids, dragonflies, damselflies, leaf hoppers, beetles, spiders, toads, snakes, and several-million soil fauna. Larger animals share the prairie as well, including badgers, beavers, blackfooted ferrets, coyotes, foxes, squirrels, muskrats, and deer, but you’ll need to sit quite still for some time to see them. To really experience all that a prairie has to offer, visiting daily would be best, but there’s another option. Establishing a prairie in your own space, whether a few plants or a few acres, can be extremely rewarding. Prairie can usually be split into three categories: wet, mesic, and dry. There are different flora types for each variety of



prairie, with plenty of crossover. These can often be found broken down further to address soil conditions to help with successful establishment in cases of low soil (organic matter), gravel, or clay. Prairies generally like it hot and dry, seeking full sun, though some species are better suited to regular rainfall or even consistently “wet feet.� There are a variety of methods for planting: seeds, seed mix/mats, plugs (small plants), and plants. Diversity is key and, in smaller locations, a combination planting can be best. Reliable, reputable seed or plant companies will generally result in less work, but that depends a lot on site and soil prep. The amount of energy and work will vary some, with water and weeds always being the nemesis for establishment. A prairie can take longer to establish than other garden settings, but around years five to eight and beyond, you should have to do little but enjoy it. Burns in the fall or spring can greatly help in management, as a good hot burn not only stifles out weeds, it helps to germinate an entirely new seedbank. Just be sure to consult with a professional regarding permits and rules. Very few trees call the prairie home, mostly due to the intolerance of fire. Oaks (Quercus) and hickories are two 24 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

that thrive in the terrain, while black cherry, walnut, and elm can also be found. Oaks are one of the few predominant species that do not release all their nutrients to the ground floor when they shed leaves. They pull the nutrients back into their cell structure and down their roots, leaving their leaves paper dry to facilitate a quick, hot burn. Prairie plant roots go deep at 8 to 14 feet, so surviving fire, sequestering carbon, stabilizing soils, and moving nutrients comes naturally to these summer wonders. At up to 20 square feet of space per plant above and below ground, these amazing plants hold their own in the harsh cold, sudden frosts, drought, and fires associated with Midwestern regions. Temperate grasslands are considered the world’s mostendangered ecosystem, with less than 1 percent left, so planting some of these herbaceous gems in any size garden is beneficial to their survival. Not all prairie plant species would be neighbor friendly—they seed out too prevalently for town use—but with hundreds to choose from, there are options. Managing a prairie or prairie plants is an amazing peek into a complex ecosystem, one that will inspire any generation. There are many companies and resources available for all kinds of assistance. Happy Prairie-ing!

Karina Mae is the designer and team leader at Garden Search & Rescue. Photographs by Pete Olsen Photography (peteolsenphotography.com) and provided by Garden Search & Rescue. Prairie management by Mike Healy and Adaptive Restoration. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com Garden Search & Rescue Madison, WI 608.438.9571 gardensearchandrescue.com Nearby prairies: UW Arboretum Curtis Prairie and Green Prairie, Pope Farm Conservancy, Pleasant Valley Conservancy, and Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Author’s favorite prairie plants: Showy Goldenrod, Solidago speciosa Ironweed, Veronica fasciculata Compass Plant, Silphium laciniatum Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa Purple Prairie Clover, Dalea purpurea* Wild Bergamont, Monarda fistulosa Creamy Gentian, Gentiana alba* Wild Quinine, Parthenium integrifolium* Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium Switch Grass, Panicum virgatum *Wisconsin endangered/threatened




TALIESIN Forever Relevant

Students visiting the Taliesin farm on a field trip. Farming on this property has been continuous since the 1860s and carries on today.


The endless relevance of Frank Lloyd Wright is obvious; he transformed 20th-century design. But the relevance of Taliesin, his personal home, might not be so clear. In 1911, Taliesin was born out of a love that Wright shared with Mamah Borthwick, and it endured because of Wright’s resilience. Not just resilience as we assume it to be—the idea of getting through something difficult and coming out on the other side as a stronger person—but it’s the concept more in line with research professor Brené Brown’s thinking, that stockpiled joy over time gives us the fuel for resilience. It may have ended abruptly and tragically in 1914, but that stockpile of happiness is what helped Wright create Taliesin in three different iterations in his lifetime (1911, 1914, and 1925). The connection to this place was struck so deeply in him that he couldn’t turn away. That grip of this valley is what has kept many of us here for generations. Wright’s joy fueled the rebuilding of Taliesin to what it is today—a place where rebels and radicals go to stretch their thinking, their truths, and their conclusions. That same 26 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

rebel spirit inspires us here at Taliesin Preservation to create a living laboratory—a living museum, if you will—pumping out ideas from the greatest thinkers in all fields of study and realms of creativity. Thus, Taliesin becomes an epicenter, a model for how a place can transform the soul. Just like Wright inspired generations of architects, he also taught students how to become free thinkers and took on a model of interdisciplinary training. Weeding the garden was just as important as drafting the Guggenheim Museum. No work was too menial. This is the place where Wright learned his work ethic from his family of Wisconsin farmers, preachers, and teachers. It becomes the bar for standards to which Taliesin Preservation holds its tours, programs, staff, volunteers, and vision. “Radical is a fine word, meaning ‘roots.’ Being radical I must strike root somewhere. Wisconsin is my somewhere. I feel my roots in these hillsides as I know those of the oaks that have struck in here beside me. That oak and I understand each other. Wisconsin soil has put sap into my veins, why, I

should love her as I loved my mother, my old grandmother, and as I love my work.” —Frank Lloyd Wright, “Why I love Wisconsin” Using the Past to Guide Our Future The future holds great responsibility to uphold Wright’s legacy at Taliesin. The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is moving on to its new campus at Arcosanti, and the Taliesin Fellowship still exists but is quickly shrinking. Pieces of the original culture are fading away. Taliesin Preservation doesn’t just fund building preservation on the estate; that would be a very narrow view of what preservation is. Without life and culture, the buildings have no soul, and without a soul, they’re reduced to the materials from which they are built. Taliesin Preservation embodies the Fellowship and all that Wright intended—even the unrealized ideas he had, like his concept for the Hillside Home School of the Allied Arts predating the Fellowship and the School of Architecture. Wright even approached the University of Wisconsin to create a satellite campus where his philosophies on integrated education would be taught. These are the things that inspire our programming today and keep us striving for more intentional and authentic partnerships. In 1931, Wright wrote a concept for his Hillside Home School of the Allied Arts to take place on the Taliesin estate that

Stretched fabrics by Aris Georges at a Taliesin Farm Dinner. Innovation and exploring the nature of materials is always an ideal we continue to encourage.

reads, “The soul must be wooed if it is to be won. It cannot be taught. Nor can it ever be forced. To be more specific this means that the nature of our livelihood, commercial

Every single viewshed of Taliesin was created with intention. That legacy of intention has become integral to everything we do here at Taliesin Preservation.



All forms of art and creativity are necessary for an interdisciplinary training program, no matter if you're training architects, chefs, dancers, painters, and nearly any profession.

industry, both by machine and process, must be put into experimental stations where its many operations may come into the hands.” Today, we draw on Wright’s resilience to inspire us as we navigate this difficult situation caused by the pandemic. We draw on our own joys and accomplishments to get us through this time in history. We can only pick up the pieces and continue working to come out stronger on the other side, just as Wright picked up the pieces of Taliesin after it burned down (twice), rebuilding it using the same foundation over and over while making changes to design elements. Wright was always building, always experimenting, always creating, and always rebelling against society’s ideas of how things should be. As our dear friend chef Luke Zahm says, “We’re warming them up; we’re turning structure into sentiment.” The experimental nature of ideas and rebel spirit continues to guide us through the 21st century—a legacy that will always live on and continue to inspire others. You’ll find this woven into any shared experience you have at Taliesin, like 28 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

a micro-apprenticeship, farm dinner, or summer camp, and we hope it inspires you to ask, “How might we live now?” Aron Meudt-Thering is the communication manager at Taliesin Preservation. She is a Spring Green native who was drawn back to this place after college at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, where she studied photography and graphic design. Aron is building her Taliesin-inspired forever home in Wyoming Valley with her husband and two children. Photographs by Aron Meudt-Thering. 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




Main visitor gallery as seen from the map wall.

Dugnadsånd Bygger

Livsreise by Kyle Jacobson

The spirit of working together builds Life’s Journey. “We have one chance to do it right because we can’t do it over.” Jerry A. Gryttenholm, treasurer for the Edwin E. and Janet L. Bryant Foundation, said this to everyone involved in building and designing Livsreise. He wanted to create something really special for downtown Stoughton, and Bryant Foundation would spare no expense. “From the top down, the management instilled in the workers, ‘This is a place where it’s not about saving as much money as we can and doing it cheap; this is about doing it right the first time, and you do it right. If it takes a little bit longer, you take a little bit longer to do it right.’” 30 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

After educating himself on what was and wasn’t working for other heritage centers in the Midwest, Jerry met with The Kubala Washatko Architects (TKWA) in Cedarburg. “The marching orders were I didn’t want it to look like a log cabin. I didn’t want it to look like the glass-and-steel structures that are going up in Oslo in Norway. But something more moderate. I think what we ended up with is kind of the riverfront old buildings in Bergen, Norway.” Specifically, the German-influenced architecture at Bryggen (the dock)— multiple stories, steep-pitched roofs, unbalanced window placement, and earthen yellows and reds. The result is Stoughton’s Main Street being bookended with something that, though not a replica of a building at Bryggen,

Livsreise exterior at night.

One of my favorite aspects is the oversized king-post, straightstrut trusses, marrying traits of industrial and cabin design in a very satisfying way by replacing the tie beam with thick tension rods. The tension rods were actually implemented after concerns were expressed over the walls moving outward through the decades, and what came of it is something that will last for hundreds of years. The use of mortise and tenon joints where the struts meet the king post are also a nice touch, highlighted by three uncut pegs per joint.

Photograph provided by Livsreise–Norwegian Heritage Center

Photograph provided by Livsreise–Norwegian Heritage Center

Inside Livsreise, TKWA, Vogel Bros. Building Co., and Zebradog: Dynamic Environment Design created layers of engaging architecture, woodwork, and technology that bring life to the artifacts and stories only to be experienced at the heritage center. Through weekly meetings, everyone was always kept on the same page, creating something both seamless and intentional. Every feature has a purpose, and nothing feels like an afterthought.

Each butternut-wood cabinet and display case is bordered with elaborate machined chisel work, and Livreise’s oftrepeated theme of the åttebladrose (eight-leafed rose) is used throughout. Of the åttebladrose, Marg Listug, manager of Livsreise, says, “That is our trademark, and it’s a sign of protection. Norwegians were Christians, but they had a lot of superstitions.” The rose is expertly made in the northern white maple floor as well, framed and given tone by carefully chosen pieces and clever use of grain direction.

Photograph by TKWA

takes heavy inspiration from the iconic Hanseatic heritage commercial buildings. Visitors also experience Norwegian culture in an intimate fashion either before or after walking through downtown’s historic district.

Special exhibit of immigrant trunks.



Photograph provided by Livsreise–Norwegian Heritage Center

Main gallery facing the interactive map wall.

An impressive 33-panel screen takes up most of the wall opposite the gallery’s entrance. Each panel works in conjunction with the other, and each pixel of the panel was done painstakingly by the experts at Zebradog. At the panel, visitors can interact via a console using touch-sensitive sculptures. Depending on which sculptures are chosen, a different video will play to tell your immigration story starting in Norway and ending in Milwaukee or Chicago. The majority of people who visit the heritage center are doing so either to hear the stories of immigrants who settled into the Koshkonong Praire as told by their relatives through recordings in the gallery; for a presentation in the 68-seat auditorium, walled with decorative rosemåling folk art and custom tapestries; or to check their genealogy in the genealogy center. However, there are those who come in with no expectations, and it’s not unheard of for them to spend more time with the architecture than with what’s on display. Each tradesperson involved has truly taken part in dugnadsånd, embracing the spirit of working together for something that serves community. 32 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

Kyle Jacobson is a senior copy editor and lead staff writer for Home Elements & Concepts. View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com Livsreise–Norwegian Heritage Center 277 W. Main Street Stoughton, WI 53589 608.873.7567 livsreise.org

Two of the story book kiosks and the journey wall in the background.

Photograph provided by Livsreise–Norwegian Heritage Center

The HVAC system is key to ensuring expansion and warping of the wood is as close to nonexistent as possible. Jerry describes it as museum quality, keeping the humidity below 40 percent year-round. The supply air vents were installed by the windows to prevent frost buildup, and the return air is disguised behind a slatted rail beneath what is inarguably the most prominent feature of the facility.


“My customers make my childhood and family’s dream of owning a business come true every day.” - Jerina, Owner JNJ Craftworks, Verona

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Accessorizing Your Accessorizer Mastering Your Storage Spaces Brought to You by

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A 32mm closet system might be the longest-lasting investment you make for your house. The versatility is unmatched, the need for more storage is constant, and myriad accessories mean you’ll never have unused space.

34 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

Think of any room in your house—garage, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, attic, entryway. None are the same when it comes to organization, so companies across the globe have been making new accessories for 32mm closet systems to accommodate trendy and age-old lifestyles year after year. It’s not just shelving and closet rods. There are hooks for hoses, rails for hampers, and drawers for drawers. Have problems with tool storage? Try a double-sided pegboard that slides out on a rail. Baking ingredients loaded in cabinets like last year’s holiday decorations? Maybe a shelf that operates like a drawer with a built-in lazy Susan is just what you need. Chris Schmidt of Cabinet City says, “With that 32mm system, you can put those accessories anywhere in the closet.” Remember the furniture in the 90s? A lot of it incorporated some sort of CD rack system. Now those racks are almost useless. But imagine if you could swap out the racks for boardgame storage or a liquor cabinet. That’s what these closets are all about. The only guarantee in life is that there is no guarantee. Getting an expert to install one of these closet systems ensures you’ll always have the accessories and ability to accommodate life’s next changeup. Photographs provided by Cabinet City.





When Buying a Rental Property by Jessica Steinhoff A rental property can be a smart investment during an economic downturn. With mortgage rates dipping to record lows, real estate investing is more attractive than ever. If you’re ready to take the plunge, consider building a team of experts to assist you. Here are five key members of this team.

the city or neighborhoods you’re considering for your first rental property purchase. See what factors they weighed when making decisions about location and property type. Pick their brain about how to market your rental units and whether to hire a property manager, as well as other aspects of the job.

Mentor There’s a lot to learn when you’re new to real estate investing, and there are many crucial choices to make. If you find a seasoned rental property owner to show you the ropes, you’re likely to feel more confident and better informed when it’s time to make these important decisions.

In exchange for their advice, consider offering to help your mentor with their rental business. This can give you invaluable skills for your future as a rental property owner. Ask what other experts your mentor recommends for your real estate investing team.

What makes a great mentor in the world of real estate investing? Knowledge they’re willing and able to share, a solid understanding of your goals, and a desire to help you succeed. Look for someone who has expertise about 36 Additional photos at homeelementsandconcepts.com

Financial Advisor Before you start viewing potential rental properties, make sure your finances are in excellent shape. A good financial advisor can review your assets and assess how much you could spend on a rental property and the expenses that

come with it. A great financial advisor will also help you clarify your investing goals and weigh the pros and cons of investing in real estate. Finding a financial advisor you can trust is essential. The websites of professional groups, such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE), and the Financial Planning Association (FPA), are good places to start. You can often find financial advisors at your local credit union, including UW Credit Union, whose Investment Services team offers consultations for free and ongoing financial planning for a fee. Tax Expert An accountant who’s knowledgeable about taxes associated with rental properties is a must for your team. This person should be adept at determining what to deduct on your federal and state income tax returns. But fulfilling your obligations to the IRS shouldn’t be the only goal. A great tax expert will also look for ways to save you money. By choosing the right set of deductions for your situation, your tax expert may be able to reduce your overall tax liability. As a rental property owner, you can typically deduct property taxes, maintenance costs, depreciation, and similar expenses. Your tax expert should know what sorts of maintenance costs qualify for a deduction. They should also know the ways that mortgage interest deductions for rental properties differ from those for your residence. Lender If you’re like many new real estate investors, you may need a loan to buy your rental property. A reputable lender can help you determine not only how much you’re qualified to

borrow, but which type of loan is the best fit for your needs. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to explore different types of mortgages and investment property loans, as well as home equity loans and lines of credit. Julio Rios, vice president of mortgage lending at UW Credit Union, says a lending partner shouldn’t just be a potential source of funds. “A great lending professional understands your goals and guides you through each step of the process,” he explains. “At UW Credit Union, we take the time to get to know you and what matters most to you. This helps us find the very best loan options for your situation and provide you with the support you need.” To make the most of your borrowing experience, look for a lender who’ll calculate your monthly payment for each type of loan you’re considering. Also make sure your lender clearly explains the fees and interest that affect how much you’ll ultimately pay for your loan. Real Estate Agent As you may have guessed, a real estate agent is another key member of your team. Look for an agent with extensive knowledge about your local community and plenty of experience with rental property purchases. Ideally, your agent will have access to off-market listings and know how much local landlords charge for rent at properties similar to the ones you’re viewing. A good agent should be able to advise you on how much to offer for a particular property and put together a compelling offer. A great agent will also connect you with other professionals you may need on your real estate investing journey. These include appraisers, inspectors, property management professionals, cleaning companies, remodeling contractors, attorneys, and insurance agents. With a team of experts in your corner, you should be well on your way to success as a rental property owner. For more tips on buying real estate, visit uwcu.org/loans/articles. Jessica Steinhoff is a financial education writer at UW Credit Union, a local financial cooperative that offers mortgages, investment property loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, and more. UW Credit Union 3500 University Avenue Madison, WI 53705 800.533.6773 uwcu.org HOME ELEMENTS & CONCEPTS


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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 Barbara Brady of Waunakee, 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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