Monthly Archives: August 2013

Bartelt Lake Home Remodel in M Magazine

M Magazine’s September 2013 issue features a home tour of a recent Bartelt remodel on Fowler Lake in Oconomowoc.

The 1800s Victorian home had been converted to a four-family residence, and the couple wanted to restore it back to a single-family home, reintroducing its original charm while accommodating the family’s modern lifestyle.

See the “Dwellings” section, pages 92 – 94, here.

Bartelt "House Tour" in M MagazineBartelt "House Tour" in M MagazineBartelt "House Tour" in M Magazine


Ensure school year success with these home tips from Bartelt.

Summer is winding down, and while the kids may not be ready to go back, it’s important to ensure a smooth transition between vacation and the start of the school year.  We’ve compiled some ideas to make your home more efficient and life easier for back-to-school.

Study hard.Wauwatosa Homework Station

Big or small, consider setting aside a space dedicated to homework.  Include seating, supply storage, a desk, and other essentials for assignments or projects.  A “homework station” allows kids to be part of family activities.  Parents can also easily monitor computer use and ensure students are getting their work completed.  A home office is another option.  We’ve converted unused formal dining rooms and other spaces into functional dens.  Kids have room to spread out their papers and books and concentrate.  There’s also plenty of room for bookshelves and office gadgets.

Establish a family hub.Fox Point Mudroom

The mudroom is your family’s launch pad.  You can keep all out-the-door essentials right where you need them.  Incorporate lockers, assigning one to each family member.  When they come home from school or extracurricular activities, they’ll have their own space to stash their belongings.  The mudroom is a high traffic area, so it’s also the perfect opportunity to keep the family on-task with messages and reminders.  Consider a “drop zone,” or command center, for phone charging, file cabinets, a calendar, a chalkboard, mail storage, and other organizational tools.

Lighten the load.

We touched on this recently, but we believe this is important.  With the beginning of the school year comes more laundry.  Whether it’s part of the mudroom or near the bedrooms, a laundry room should include ample storage and functional features – custom cabinetry, a sink, counter space, shelves, and other elements to make laundry time more efficient.  Like the mudroom, we suggest incorporating cubbies, with a designated bin for each family member (or different clothing types), into the laundry room design.  This makes it easy to sort clothes and even easier for the kids to put them away.

Have a bite to eat.

Encourage your family to kick off the day with a nutritional meal.  A breakfast bar or nook – off the counter or as a banquette – is the perfect spot to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, sip on a cup of coffee, or read the morning paper.  It often fulfills other roles, too.  Kids can sit there for an after-school snack and share the day’s events.  They can set up a temporary homework area.  You can use it for extra party seating or a buffet.

Find Oconomowoc Lower Levelspace to unwind.

Carve out space for the kids to relax and spend time with friends.  A play area with toy storage, bookshelves, and a table for projects is ideal for younger children.  A finished lower level or bonus room is a great space for teenagers (and adults).  Include a snack bar with a beverage refrigerator, games, a bathroom, and a home theater for the perfect “hangout.”

*As seen in the August issue of “Village West Living,” a publication for Elm Grove residents.


Bartelt’s Mary Sweet in “Say ‘yes’ to a master suite” in 30West Magazine

How can you transform your master suite into a personal retreat?  Find out in the article “Say ‘yes’ to a master suite” on page 14 of 30West magazine where our designer, Mary Sweet, is quoted.

See the article here.

Master Suite 30West Magazine

Guest Post: Take the Party Outside with a Grill

Outdoor Grill by Shady Lane GreenhousesJust like building a home’s foundation one brick at a time, I start designing outdoor, built-in grills one question at a time.  There are the standards you might expect: How big is your family?  How often do you entertain? How large are your gatherings? The answers are quick, with little hesitation.

However, there’s one question that’s sure to give some clients pause: Do you want to face your guests while grilling?  It is, after all, a very social activity (even though some pitmasters get very focused when searing their grill marks).  If you thrive on all the camaraderie that grilling attracts, the answer is obvious.  That leads to yet another question: What about a bar?

While a bar, especially one that provides seating, might be considered a luxury item to some, to those who entertain frequently and for large groups, it’s a necessity.  It’s an efficient use of space and time to be able to serve beverages while keeping one eye on the kabobs.  It’s also pure pleasure for your guests to be afforded such attention.

Outdoor Grill by Shady Lane GreenhousesWith or without a beverage area, I ask my clients to think about circulation.  That means “people flow.”  While the grill invites conviviality, laughter, and relaxation, it still has to serve a highly functioning purpose: the preparation and dispensing of food.  A poorly thought out traffic pattern does not lend itself to great parties, so I like to spend a substantial amount of time with clients discussing this element of their grill.

As important as all the rest are grill aesthetics.  I’m usually asked to design a grill that blends with the home (but not always).  If the built-in grill is meant to be a showpiece, I make sure it doesn’t overpower any building or landscaping elements.  While it might be nice to have the grill just drop from the sky, you don’t want it to look like it did.

There’s one last tip I’d like to share.  When asking clients what they wish they would have done differently with their built-in grill, there was just this one comment: “I wish I would have included a warming drawer.”

About the Author:Heidi Hornung of Shady Lane Greenhouses

Heidi Hornung, a Bartelt partner for many years, is a landscape architect and retail manager at Shady Lane Greenhouses in Menomonee Falls, Wis.  Growing up in the gardening industry and with over 20 years of landscaping experience, Heidi is a self-described “flower freak.”  She earned her bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and spent time in Germany on a landscaping crew before graduation.  If you’d like to learn more about Heidi and Shady Lane Greenhouses, visit or call 262.251.1660.