Take a Peek Inside This Milwaukee-Area Frank Lloyd Wright Home Remodel

A pool and pool house blend seamlessly into a classic Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Craig Adelman knows his family home like the back of his hand, but it wasn’t until later in life that he learned Frank Lloyd Wright had designed it.

Red concrete floors were installed throughout the house when it was built in 1948; Photo by Matt Haas
Craig Adelman enjoys a quiet moment at home; Photo by Matt Haas

“[Wright] used to come in with his cape and his hat – I used to wonder who he was,” Adelman recalls of the architect, who oversaw every aspect of the home’s 1948 construction. Wright even insisted, a month and a half after the Adelmans moved in, that they replace the 40 birch-veneer doors installed throughout the house because his design called for cypress.

Kubala Washatko Architects renovated Adelman’s kitchen during their three-year restoration project; Photo by Matt Haas

All that attention to detail paid off, though. Adelman’s late parents, Albert and Edith, soon came to love the 3,000-square-foot Fox Point house. And when Adelman inherited the home from them, he knew that he wanted to make it his own while remaining true to Wright’s original vision. So he hired Kubala Washatko Architects – a Cedarburg firm that had previously designed an addition to Wright’s First Unitarian Society Meeting House in Madison – to restore its interior and expand its exterior, adding a pool and a 700-square-foot pool house, and enlarging the patio.

A renovated bathroom in the main house features a standing shower and soaking tub; Photo by Matt Haas
Indirect lighting provides a warm, cozy glow. Photo by Matt Haas

The expansion (including pool and patio) about “doubles the size of the house,” says architect Allen Washatko, who completed the three-year renovation project in 2014. Now Adelman enjoys reading in his new lanai under the glow of soft lights, and he swims in the pool daily from March to November, weather permitting.

Washatko used “geometry established by Wright” to inform the additions he made, inside and out. The restoration proved to be more of a challenge, necessitating the removal and replacement of the original red-stained concrete flooring to fix extensive water damage.

The renovated interior of the home still features the cypress finishes original to its construction. Photo by Matt Haas

Minor setbacks notwithstanding, he and Adelman both see the project as a success, an homage to Wright’s Prairie School ideals that beautifully blends historic and contemporary design elements. ◆

Frank Lloyd Wright favored low lines in his designs to complement the sprawling vistas of the Midwestern landscapes in which they were often built. Photo by Matt Haas

‘New Addition’ appears in the August 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning July 31, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.