The Wall Street Journal
Location: Racine, WI
- Price: $2,495,000
Located 25 miles south of Milwaukee, this Wisconsin home was built in 1962 by architect Hans Geyer and thoughtfully expanded in 2003. It is now on the market.
Gwen Farley Green’s mother Mary, a native of Racine, Wisc., had always wanted to live on the water. So when she and her husband, Raymond, were moving back to the area in the late 1960s after living in Tokyo, they looked along the shore of Lake Michigan. They bought a mid-century modern home for $80,000.
Designed by celebrated local architect Hans Geyer, the property took cues from the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, whom Ms. Farley Green’s mother loved. ‘It reminded her a lot of his work, so she fell in love partly because of that,’ says Ms. Farley Green. A 1980s expansion completed by a Frank Lloyd Wright expert created the pictured living room.
Ms. Farley Green’s father worked at S.C. Johnson for 39 years, working his way up from sales to CEO. ‘They entertained a lot, hosting executives and community leaders,’ she recalls. The living room expansion was to accommodate large parties.
The kitchen features two ovens and a SubZero refrigerator, as well as a built-in desk and banquette, where the family shared most of their meals. ‘We had many great discussion around that kitchen table,’ says Ms. Farley Green, who is in her early 60s.
A wall of sliding glass doors opens to a screened-in porch that doubles the size of the dining room. ‘It’s a really cool feature,’ says Ms. Farley Green. ‘You’re basically dining outside.’
Another expansion in 2003 doubled the size of the main floor, adding three bedrooms, three bathrooms, an office and a laundry room, and expanded the basement. ‘Both additions are seamless,’ says Ms. Farley Green. ‘You can’t tell what’s new and what’s not.’
The 8,474-square-foot home has a total of six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and one half-bathroom. It is listed with Sotheby’s International Realty.
The original part of the home has a vanity area with a wall of built-in closets. ‘The closet space is unbelievable in the whole house,’ says Ms. Farley Green, noting that all of the closets have built-in shelves and drawers.
The basement, with a bar and living room, was the site of an annual family Christmas Eve party with 45 people. They would play a game called ‘fish pond,’ where everyone fished for silly wrapped presents that were stacked behind the bar. ‘Whatever you got, you had to wear for the rest of the night,’ says Ms. Farley Green.
Ms. Farley Green’s favorite spot is the screened-in porch, next to the lily pond. She is selling the property because she has another home in the area. ‘I have a number of cousins in the area who will take over hosting duties,’ she says.
The kitchen banquette overlooks the lily pond. Ms. Farley Green says they used to guess how many white and pink lilies would open up any given day, and in the spring, they would watch baby ducklings paddle around.
Ms. Farley Green notes that the size of the beach is cyclical, and it was larger when she was younger. ‘We used the beach quite a bit,’ she says. ‘The lake is so soothing. The house is a peaceful oasis on the water.’
Photos: THE REDMONDS ARCHITECTURAL MARKETING