redux house - whitefish bay, wisconsin
The Redux House is the meticulous reinvention of a prototypical suburban ranch at the end of its life cycle. Located in a small enclave of prosaic spec homes on Milwaukee’s Northshore, the original 1967 house had fallen into serious disrepair, its spatial coherence and overall usability severely compromised by a myriad of misguided interior alterations and a cellular floorplan of small, disconnected rooms. The project illustrates how the tired bones of a dysfunctional building can be reclaimed as the framework for a rigorously contemporary, precisely detailed dwelling, one in which the everyday routines of a young family’s life can unfold comfortably.
The building’s exterior shell was restored and thermally insulated, whereas the inside was completely gutted to accommodate the radical re-organization of the interior as a series of spatially and visually interconnected spaces. Structural modifications in strategic locations allowed for new large-scale openings between the home’s previously separated parts, creating a spatial continuum that starts in the glazed the entry vestibule and links together the entire house.
The existing masonry fireplace stack, once freed from abutting walls, transformed into a visually commanding four-sided monolith anchoring the center of the house. The previously dark, internalized corridor on the second floor was partially opened up, turning into a mezzanine with a small reading nook overlooking the main living hall below. Sheathing the home’s tall, vaulted ceiling place, a thin continuous wood layer follows the gentle roof slope above the living hall and weaves into the second floor hallway to accentuate the new spatial connection between the two levels. Like a drape, the wooden ceiling liner gently folds down where it meets a vertical surface, its warm, lustrous sheen and material richness complementing the highly tactile Lannon Stone chimney and the home’s crisp, light-colored interiors.
The kitchen and dining area are consolidated as an open space in the flat-roofed eastern wing of the house, connected to the living hall with steps along a built-in credenza and entertainment cabinet. Carefully placed skylights frame views of the suburban sky and bring in natural light, as do a pair of large glass sliding doors that connect to the new backyard patio. Here, the wood flooring from the inside seamlessly transitions on the exterior into a wood deck, precisely delineating the outdoor dining space before folding up to form a linear bench with a tall back that obscures views of the saccharine Tudor-style mansion abutting the backyard.