A Taste of Palladian
Palladian architecture became popular during the 19th and 20th centuries in Europe, particularly in Rome and Venice. While primarily used for public and municipal buildings initially, the concept was eventually carried over to villas and churches and even some of the more famous Roman temples in Venice. Over time, the symmetrical design scheme became the most distinguished attribute of the wealthy merchant homes in the area. You can get a feel for the symmetry that graced so many of those European homes as you approach this grand beach home on Oconomowoc Lake. A structure that was originally covered in aluminum clad siding with fluted pillars now takes on this ageless look and feel with stucco walls and sculpted plaster pillars. You now have the classic imprint of a Palladian home from the front entryway and the rear lakeside view.
Keeping with the old world theme, the marble-tile front foyer features a winding staircase to the second floor with an open balcony that gives you just a glimpse of the massive great room inside. Before we go there, weÕll head down the hallway to the left for a little local nostalgia. If youÕre not already familiar with Oconomowoc, itÕs one of those small town Wisconsin communities that works hard to retain some of the flair of its historic past. The cherry wood library wall on the left comes complete with a functional sliding ladder just like the libraries of old. The doors in the center of this wall include a custom designed stained-glass that depicts the original Oconomowoc theatre and leads us into the made-to-order family theatre room. Now, while the owners clearly wanted to retain a historic look and feel in this home, they didnÕt lose touch with many of the current technological advances available today. With seating for eight, the stadium style theatre room features a stage, a projection screen connected to a state-of-the-art sound and video system and comes complete with automated velvet curtains and room darkening shades. Across from the theatre room is a butlerÕs pantry for moviegoers who like to indulge in that authentic experience and of course they didnÕt forget to include the bathroom at the end of the hall.
We still havenÕt even talked about that majestic lake view and 133 feet worth of shoreline frontage, but it is difficult not to consider the great room the focal point of this home. This room features 25-foot floor-to-ceiling windows across the entire back wall and a massive hand-made wrought iron chandelier with a power chain retractor built-in for ease of maintenance. A stunning sight indeed. Many of the other light fixtures, sconces and balusters throughout the home carry this similar wrought iron theme. This room is finished off nicely with white-trimmed Venetian plaster walls and a matching white-surround gas fireplace with a huge arched mirror. Just next door the roomy office gives you the same look and feel, but instead has cherry paneled walls with built-in bookcases and another fireplace for effect.
Moving toward the kitchen and keeping with the warmth of the European touch, the flooring is done in 300 year old French roof tiling. There are also custom cabinets, a built-in china hutch and professional grade utilities and appliances which include two sinks, two dishwashers, a Sub-Zero refrigerator with two additional drawers, a wine refrigerator, a Dakar stove with hanging pasta filler and more. Adjacent to the kitchen is a small coffee room, one of the few rooms in the house that doesnÕt offer a lakefront view, but a comfy little room that is also big enough for a second dinette area if needed. The primary dining room was re-designed as an arched, almost tunnel-like, room that sets between the kitchen and sunroomÑ .
a concept that allows it to be deceptively bigger than it first appears. It also includes matching built-in china cabinets on either side finished with honed-granite counter tops. The vast sunroom, like virtually every room along the lake side of the home, has another wall full of windows and the same French tile flooring as the kitchen. With heated tile flooring, consistent with all of the tiled floors in the home, and a huge patio outside of either set of matching French doors, itÕs easy to see how this room would get a lot of attention from either family or guests.
Continuing down the hall past a utility room and walk-in closets weÕll find an elevator at the end of the hall leading to the second floor. Around the corner from this elevator and next to the garage entrance is where the original structure ended. With all of the other remodeling that went on, the owners decided to extend the living quarters behind the garage and thus created the most entertaining sector of this masterpiece. Starting with a vintage 1950s soda parlor direct from the ÒHappy DaysÓ set and complete with cozy booths and bar stools, you can let the kids settle in for a pop while you get your workout in the adjacent exercise room. ThereÕs another large room on this end of the home that could be used for more entertainment, a play room or even a guest bedroom. Just beyond is a glassed-in hot tub room which features another dramatic view of Oconomowoc Lake.
As we finally come to the winding staircase and head upstairs, youÕll find the entire north side of the home is consumed by the master suite. This truly is sweet. There are three separate walk-in closets and a circular wall separating the bedroom on the west side from the sitting room with full screen TV and built-in book shelving on the east side. The master bath includes double vanities and old fashioned chandelier lighting. Top it all off with an open-concept marble shower room with seating area and dual shower heads. As we make our way across the balcony we finish up with three additional bedrooms, a couple of large cedar storage closets and a fourth closet-less room that could be used as another private office or den. Two of the extra bedrooms include their own private full bathrooms. A few of the other amenities included throughout are a 1.3-acre professionally landscaped lot with a walk-out sand beach shoreline, four separately controlled furnaces, a four-car heated garage, arched doorways and Venetian plaster throughout, California closets, Brazilian cherry hardwood floors, a state-of-the-art Lutron lighting system and so much more.
When Andrea Palladio originally came up with this architectural concept back in the 1500s, he probably had no idea how far reaching the popularity would travel. One thing is certain; his expectation of character and class would not be compromised. This lakefront home in Oconomowoc clearly has a little bit of everything, and would surely make him proud.