raveling to Tim and Julie Moskal‘s Lodi home is a primer in tranquility as one drives up the gently sloping hill to a heavily wooded property where their four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home that overlooks Lake Wisconsin and the Baraboo Hills sits. From the outside this attractive home with hints of Wrightian accents in the exterior looks quite inviting. The couple built the house themselves in 1990, and back then it perfectly suited their needs with three young children. But now with grown children and grandchildren visiting, plus entertaining friends at home, the kitchen was in need of a revamp.
Enter Rick Shaver and Lee Melahn of Pleasant Living, a Madison interior design firm. Julie and Rick worked together at Boston Store—she as a merchandising clerk, he as a part-time salesperson. One day Julie mentioned that she and Tim were thinking about renovating their kitchen. Shaver was eager to offer their services and the four hit it off immediately.
“When Rick and Lee came out here the first time, they noticed that we liked Shaker, Craftsman and Mission style furniture. Then Rick asked why our kitchen wasn’t that way. He just picked up on it,” Julie says. “We had an idea of what we wanted, but they helped us define it more.”
The “old style 1980s” kitchen, as Julie describes it, had a corner sink, an electric range, oak cabinetry and laminate countertops. Photos of the previous space are indeed worlds apart than the now beautifully appointed kitchen.
“When we start the process [of redesign], we sit down and ask the client how they want to use the space, what works, what doesn’t, and how it can work differently,” says Shaver.
The couple collaborated with Shaver and Melahn in choosing custom oak-stained cabinetry with stained-glass inserts, quartz countertops, Arts and Crafts–style lighting fixtures, tile backsplash and a general reconfiguration of the room. The one thing Tim was insistent upon as the cook of the house? A Sub-Zero refrigerator and Wolf oven, stove and warming drawer. The stove in particular is decked out with a high-volume exhaust fan, warming lights, six burners and a griddle.
The homey kitchen wasn’t built only for style, but for practicality, too. There’s a small baking nook where Julie keeps her stand mixer, and drawers and cabinets open to reveal expertly organized ingredients, baking pans and bowls. The ten-foot-long butcher block with quartz countertop has a raised portion at the end with barstools where people can gather or Tim can cut vegetables. There’s a small vegetable sink embedded in the butcher block, and drawers have custom organizers for knives and spices.
Not surprisingly for small-town dwellers, the Moskals used several neighbors and friends (a professional cabinetmaker, carpenter and tiler) they knew for portions of the work, and Melahn’s brother-in-law even did the stained glass for the cabinetry. It’s the perfect way for this room to have come together, with help from family and friends, in a room that usually holds, well, family and friends. From their work together on the kitchen renovation, the Moskals, Melahn and Shaver have all become close. And in fact, they’re working on their next big project: the redecoration of the adjoining living room.
Shayna Miller is multimedia and style editor of Madison Magazine.
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