By Shayna Mace | Photography by Chris Joyner Studios
Jerry and Kelley Kilcoyne had been looking on and off for years for a residence on a lake but hadn’t found the right fit. Then one day Jerry got a notification that a lot was for sale on the southeast shore of Lake Mendota, so the couple went over to check it out.
The lot is on a quiet street that is located on the former grounds of Camp Sunrise, says Kelley. They liked the narrow 51-foot-wide lot and its potential, so the Kilcoynes bought it in June 2015 from the next-door neighbors, who owned the lot. They immediately started planning their dream home design with Mark Solner of udvari-solner design company, who came highly recommended from a few lake neighbors.
“We knew about Mark’s work and liked his designs, which is why we selected him,” says Jerry.
The couple had a few basic things they wanted in the design, such as an open floor plan and maximizing the lake views—but the biggest caveat was making the house fit on the narrow lot. However, the size of the property was precisely what appealed to Jerry the most: “We liked that it was small, but had plenty of slope to build a walkout [on the lower level]. And of course, we loved the view.”
Guests know walking into the Kilcoyne home that it is most definitely not cookie-cutter. In the front entry is an entire wall full of photographic prints on aluminum that Kelley has taken throughout the years of the family’s travels, lake shots and everyday vignettes—like a rooster perched on some wood, taken during a trip to Key West. She’s not a professional photographer; she just enjoys capturing everyday moments, she says.
The front entry opens into an expansive great room, sitting area and kitchen with ten-foot ceilings. Floorto-ceiling windows open up the room to stunning lake views and flood it with airy lightness. Medium-gray walls (with a unique plaster texture) are accented with a pop of purple in the sitting area, which play off of the interesting, colorful art pieces and natural hues found in the kitchen.
One of the main attractions in the kitchen includes the center island topped with a hybrid quartzite/granite material called “Stone Wood”—because it looks like a slab of wood, but is a stone material. Kelley says they found the piece at Midwest Tile, Marble & Granite in Milwaukee.
“We knew we wanted something different, and we looked and couldn’t find anything. Then we found that piece,” says Kelley. “But we didn’t want to use it for the whole kitchen because it would’ve been too much of a good thing; we just wanted it as a showpiece for the center.”
Hanging above the island is an oil-rubbed bronze cutout pendant light with sparkling glass pieces tucked inside for a gleamy, dreamy touch.
“It’s fun—it doesn’t give off a ton of light, but it sets a little bit of a mood at night when guests are over and it’s cool to look at,” says Kelley.
The center island and pendant light coordinate nicely with the neutral quartz countertops, glass tile backsplash and custom cabinetry by Heffron Homes, who built the entire abode. Next to the center island is an Amish-made liveedge walnut dining table and bench from The Montage in McFarland, paired with purple upholstered chairs from Wayfair.
The sitting area facing the lake was originally supposed to be a screened-in porch, but the couple changed it with Solner to be enclosed instead—and are happy they did, says Jerry. They sit in there all of the time and watch all of the recreational activities on Lake Mendota.
Adjacent to the kitchen is the living room with statement red couch, colorful throw pillows and a custom-made light fixture and accent furniture made from industrial parts. Kelley says the lamp, made out of old sprinkler parts from a coffin factory and a fire hydrant, was crafted by a vendor in Odana Antiques. He also made the side table out of a City of Madison manhole cover (that weighs a whopping 100 pounds). The TV console base was custom-made by a maker in Texas and shipped to the couple. The glass-topped coffee table with a base made of bicycle gears and wheels fits in handily with the room’s decor.
Besides the custom-made pieces, the couple peppered in art glass items from Florida and Wisconsin, and several paintings of Hawaiian scenes by their favorite artist Christian Lassen.
“Our decorating style is eclectic, contemporary and industrial with some surprise elements,” says Kelley. “It’s things that make you want to look again.”
Downstairs is another spacious entertaining space with two sitting areas, kitchenette, guest bedroom and full and half-bath. The heated wood laminate floors make it cozy in the winter—which is perfect for when Jerry watches games down here. On the TV console are his prized autographed helmets from Bart Starr, Brett Favre, Ron Dayne and Pat Richter. Next to the couch is a gift from Kelley to Jerry: a cool Bucky Badger wood figure that was carved by a chainsaw artist.
To the right of the game room is Jerry’s office that has an enviable lake view—which was something Jerry and Kelley incorporated in the home’s design. “We wanted to fit how we lived, so Kelley has her own studio and I have my own office, and they were both lakeside,” he says.
Stepping outside from the lower level is a manicured patio (built by The Bruce Company) with firepit that has a whimsical stainless steel cover on it with a spiderweb design on it, done by Kelley’s brother-in-law.
On the second floor is the couple’s master suite, Kelley’s studio (with a water view), laundry room and an exercise room. The master bedroom has views of the Capitol at night too: “that’s the coolest view,” says Jerry. The upper deck connects to Kelley’s studio and the master bedroom for a pleasant sitting area. The house was also designed for an elevator (though it’s not installed currently) should Kelley and Jerry decide to put one in down the road.
Besides the water views, Jerry says the cantilevered concrete decks and interior staircase are his favorite parts of the home.
“Living on the lake is awesome, and I only wish we would have done it sooner,” he says.
For Kelley, it’s simple.
“I love being on the lake. I love waking up to it, and going to bed to it.”
This home was featured in the Madison: Fall 2017 issue.
For more photos of featured Madison homes, visit the Madison Gallery page.
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