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Cabinet City by Dream opened its doors in Middleton last spring, says Lead Sales/Design Professional Chris Schmidt. A sister company to DreamHouse DreamKitchens, the new showroom is filled with beautiful room displays featuring a wide selection of cabinets for the kitchen and bath, and closet organizers that range from pantry shelving to complete garage storage systems. “We specialize in high quality cabinetry at affordable prices,” says Schmidt, who has spent his entire professional life in various areas of home construction and remodeling.
“All of the cabinets we sell meet our standards—they are built with dovetail joints and feature soft-closing doors and drawers,” he says. “We also offer installation and guarantee they will fit or we will replace them at no extra charge. This is all we do here—just cabinets—so we’re going to do it right.”
When accessorizing a home Schmidt suggests finding small ways to make spaces more efficient. “The accent pieces we offer bring utility to a home and make the most of the area homeowners already have,” he says, “such as closets, pantries, mudrooms, and laundry rooms. Entryways are often prone to clutter. It’s probably the most used and most underappreciated space in the home. It’s the place where families keep all their coats, mittens, boots, shoes and backpacks. And if you’ve got lots people storing their things in that space it gets overwhelming.”
Schmidt recommends investing in boot benches and locker systems to keep things tidy and organized. “We can create an entryway system designed specifically towards storing things that you put on and take off as you go in and out of the house,” he says. Boot benches, for example, can be both fashionable and practical. They come in a wide variety of colors and materials. In addition, bench surfaces can be granite, marble or Corian.
Schmidt emphasizes that the first-floor laundry room is another perfect place to organize differently to maximize space. “Make it a central space for everyone in the home by adding compartmental storage and a folding area,” he says. “And if it’s a clean, bright, organized room you won’t dread spending time there.” He says many existing homes come with a contractor-grade shelf and pole system in the laundry area. “But with a very affordable closet system, we can add more shelving and hanging space—maximizing the utility of that room,” he says.
For those looking to add character to a room with accessories, Brown & Beam offers unique, exceptional furniture and accent pieces. “We try to stay trendy and affordable by offering unique finds from around the world, like rugs from Turkey and Morocco,” Owner Lora Brown says. “And accessories are always a popular seller. They really pull a room together. Unique artwork, pillows, lighting and botanicals can remake a living space.”
Brown says comfy living spaces and offices have been focal rooms as of late. “People are looking for comfort and functionality, but with a special, updated feel,” she says. Brown has also seen an uptick in bold color choices in both accessories and furniture. “Accent chairs and rugs add a pop of color to a neutral underlying palate, especially in bright blues, oranges, purples and reds,” she says.
Brown prides herself on staying current on the latest styles so Brown & Beam can offer items that are new and fresh on the market. “We are in the process of collaborating with other local businesses to bring in the newest looks and trends for people to see in a room setting,” she says. “And we plan to roll out some new services over the next few months that help inspire customers and make designing spaces and buying furniture even easier.”
Thinking outside of traditional accessories, Brown believes that injecting new life into a room could be as simple as changing your paint color or adding an area rug that brings both comfort and a sense of style to your space. “Our vinyl floor cloths have been huge sellers lately,” she says. “They are perfect pieces to put in front of sinks or under kitchen tables since they clean easily while bringing a lot of character to the space.” She also recommends pieces of art and wall decor to fill in empty spaces that can look unfinished. “We try and carry many large pieces of art for those big walls in family rooms or entryways,” she says.
Brown loves assisting customers who come into her store. “I really enjoy problem-solving and finding exceptional, unusual objects that can tell a story, provide inspiration, and help spaces function better,” she says. “I’m also passionate about working with people, sourcing great products, creating inviting spaces. Every day people tell me Brown & Beam is exactly the kind of store Madison was lacking. I’m so happy we could fill that niche!”
Communications Director John Michael Villa is very busy these days, talking about the new products and new locations for LEI Home Enhancements. The Ohio-based company installs windows, siding and doors in homes in 15 cities located in nine different states, and just keeps expanding. They have been in the home improvement business for 10 years, and have had a presence in Madison since 2013.
“We offer a wide range of remodeling services to homeowners,” Villa says, “but our focus is really on our new line of windows, the Revelation Elite Series.”
Villa explains that most homes 10 years or older are ready for an upgrade of some kind. “If your energy bill has been high, that probably means you need new windows,” he says.
In fact, regardless of climate, it costs money to keep the interior of your home at a comfortable temperature. In the summer, you want to keep heat out of your home. In the winter, you need to keep heat in.
“That’s when ordinary windows become a costly problem,” Villa says. “They do little to stop heat from coming in or leaking out.” He recommends LEI’s Revelation Fusion-Welded Vinyl Windows as a great long-term investment that will keep heating and cooling bills down. The windows incorporate more than a dozen advanced design features that effectively block the flow of heat, saving consumers money and keeping the house comfortable, season after season.
Revelation Windows also feature the Intercept Spacer System, with a unique, U-channel design that creates an effective thermal barrier to help reduce heat loss. Its one-piece design allows the window to seal in insulating krypton gas that will help keep the home more temperate throughout the year. The design also comes with a lifetime warranty that
covers all breakage.
“Energy efficient, triple-paned, krypton-gas sealed, these windows are guaranteed to save you 35 percent to 55 percent on energy bills,” Villa says. “Another advantage of using LEI Home Enhancements for small remodeling projects is that we are always local for the customer. We have a manufacturing facility in each city where we offer installation, so there’s no middle man. We also don’t use subcontractors to do any of the work. It’s an LEI project from beginning to end.”
Later this year Villa is looking forward to offering customers an exclusive new line of windows designed by former fashion model Kathy Ireland. “She is in the process of working with us on new designs and colors. They are going to be a beautiful option for homeowners,” he says.
Custom Made Accessories and Accents
Baraboo Woodworks is a Madison-based business that transforms trees from area communities into functional works of art. The three year-old company, founded by forester and former state legislator Fred Clark, operates a sawmill and dry kiln at their eastside location. The only business of its kind in Madison, this small operation converts Dane County trees into finished products for homes and businesses using a variety of woods, including black walnut, cherry, maple, ash, and white or bur oak. Occasionally they have access to less common, but even more beautiful species, like honey locust, hackberry, catalpa, and sycamore.
“When handled right, the wood from these trees is stunning,” says Clark. “We work hard to create one-of-a-kind pieces of functional art. We’re grateful that our clients strongly support our efforts.”
Josh Rice is the lead artisan at Baraboo Woodworks, assisted by Jim Papadopolus in the shop, and Josh Geidel on the sawmill. Metal artisan Tim Stankovitz
adds distinctive metal bases to the tables they create.
Rice and his crew recently wrapped up a residential project in collaboration with designer Carrie Simpson from Vault Interiors, furnishing a newly remodeled home in Middleton Hills. Rice explains, “By the time we got involved in this project, most of the general aesthetics of the home had been determined. We had the opportunity to create complementary pieces, including a custom dining table and bench, a console table, and a bathroom vanity for the first floor. The whole project went smoothly thanks to input from an engaged and enthusiastic client, and expert guidance from Simpson.”
A challenging task, the furniture needed to harmonize in color and style with the existing woodwork in the home and fit into a very specific footprint. More than just art objects, the pieces also needed to be practical and durable. “After looking at options for materials in our shop, our client selected red elm, mainly based on the beauty of the wood,” Rice says “Multifaceted projects like this require trust and collaboration, so we learned to work together quickly and we got to know each other well. And it is always rewarding when our clients see their new furniture installed in place. Our ultimate goal is for our clients to be completely happy with their investment and able to appreciate the value of their pieces for years to come.” •