This Eclectic, Colorful House on Milwaukee’s East Side Will Make You Want to Redo Your Own Home

Bright, bold patterns breathe new life into a classic East Side home.

Left to her own devices, decorator Kate Kazlo gravitates toward a palette extending from white to… off-white. “I like the serenity of neutrals,” says Kazlo, owner of Home Market, a home furnishings store in the Third Ward. But a project on Milwaukee’s East Side gave Kazlo an opportunity to show off her aesthetic range. “When I met with the homeowners, I had two very different proposals,” she recalls. “One was typical of my work. The other was outside the box, with bold hues and lots of pattern.” The clients were unequivocally smitten by the latter. “I knew right then that this would take me out of my comfort zone,” says Kazlo. “And I thought of it as an adventure.” She incorporated vintage pieces the couple had inherited, items they purchased while traveling and contemporary finds to create an overall effect that is eclectic as well as personal.

Living Color
A pair of white linen love seats (Lee Industries) with nailhead trim helps create a contemporary look and feel, providing a backdrop that allows the ikat pillows and curtains, plus trellis-patterned stools, to take center stage.

Enter Smiling
Floral chinoiserie wallpaper (Chiang Mai Dragon by F. Schumacher) sets the exuberant tone for the rest of the house. “We wanted a pop right when you walk in the door,” says Kazlo.

How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro
  • Choose a color palette and stick with it. This secret shortcut makes creating harmonious combinations easy.
  • Geometrics ‑ including stripes, dots and chevrons ‑ work well with florals, so for a fail-safe method, select one geometric, one floral and one solid.

Sit It Out
A pair of chairs (Lee Industries) offers a more intimate seating option in the living room. The suzani print upholstery adds yet another layer of pattern, and mixes remarkably well with an antique Delft ginger jar lamp.

Small Wonder
“You open the door and discover this little treasure,” says Kazlo of this half-bath off the kitchen. The dragon-print wallpaper (Tibet by Clarence House) gives the room an exotic edge. A graceful sink is original to the house.

Bold Move
With the living room and entryway complete, the couple was ready to take a bigger risk in the sunroom. Kazlo had the walls painted blue, while keeping the trim bright white. From there, the palette took a new turn, with a moss-green velvet settee and splashy floral print upholstery (F. Schumacher) on the chair.

Rest Your Eyes
The comforter provides a broad swath of white, helping to establish a sedate feeling suitable for a bedroom, while chair – another suzani print – keeps the pattern party going.

Get Busy
The second-floor study had dark paneling and carpeting before Kazlo transformed it into the airy room seen here. The built-in double desk and shelves keep the space sleek and functional, while chrome desk chairs (Restoration Hardware) add a modern touch.

Mini Makeover
After Kazlo finished decorating the rest of the house, it was clear that the kitchen, although relatively new, needed freshening. The cabinets were refinished in white, a subway-tile backsplash was installed, and industrial pendant lights were hung. French bistro-style stools and patterned window treatments (Brunschwig & Fils) complete the look. ◆

Photos by Matt Haas

‘In the Mix’ appears in the January 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Editor-in-chief Carole Nicksin has worked in publishing for over 20 years. Prior to joining the staff of Milwaukee Magazine, she was the style director at All You, a Time Inc. publication. She also served as decorating editor at Home magazine. Carole has written for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle and numerous other publications.