By Sara Rae Lancaster
A Sunday drive through Milwaukee and its suburbs can be an architectural feast. Whether it’s a tree-lined city street or a pastoral lane, there’s a rich assortment of homes that reflect the diversity of its residents, a mix of architectural flavors ranging from Gothic revival, Queen Anne and stick style, to federalist, Prairie style and “Milwaukee bungalow.” Although strikingly different in design and age, each plays an important role in the area’s residential landscape.
“Individual houses provide a point of interest,” says Robert Greenstreet, an architect and dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “But it’s the combination of those houses into streets and neighborhoods – the cumulative effect – that really has the major impact here.”
But every once in a while, there’s a single home that grabs our attention. We slow the car as we drive by, or bring our steps to a stop on the sidewalk to get a better look, and imagine what it would be like to live inside those walls.
What is it about these homes that makes them so, well, captivating? Is it because they’ve stood the test of time, a freeze frame of an era gone by? Is it the appeal of their outlandishly enormous size? The lack of encroachment on the natural surroundings? The state-of-the-art design? A sense of sheer quirkiness?
Pondering these very questions, we scoured greater Milwaukee and spoke to a number of local architects, contractors and homeowners in search of a collection of Dream Homes, extraordinary houses that made us swoon for all these reasons and more.