Lesley & Win's Scandinasian Style

Green Tour from the Archives

Name: Lesley and Win Sager
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned

When Lesley and Win Sager bought their 1950s home, they knew it had a pedigree. The house was designed by architect Herb Fritz, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose Taliesin school is just 40 minutes away in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Fritz designed a number of homes in the area, and is well-known by lovers of both mid-century and prairie design. The home had fallen into disrepair, but interior designer Lesley recognized its potential and took on the challenge of bringing it into the present in a green way that honored its history.

"This house was in incredibly bad shape when we bought it," says Lesley. "Most people thought that it was a tear down. We chose to honor the architect by using materials and finishes that complimented the house instead of trying to repair what was existing."

The original house had never been completed, and no work had been done on it since 1953. "It always looked like it was missing something," says Lesley. Using a variety of sustainable materials, she and Win took on renovations including converting the carport into a garage and adding a master suite over the top.

In the kitchen, they added Energy Star appliances and composite quartz countertops. Vintage Asian cabinets made of dark elm were repurposed into base cabinetry. The remaining cabinets were built locally with FSC-certified wood.

The couple improved their home's energy efficiency with blow-in insulation, new windows, and fiber cement exterior siding. The bathrooms have Kohler low-flow faucets, dual-flush toilets, and electric heat mats. Amazingly, they finished the entire reno in 12 weeks. Lesley and Win's love of Asian art echoes their architect's Wright influences—and the Scandinavian touches are fitting in southcentral Wisconsin. Scandinasian is the perfect description of their prairie modern style.

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Re-Nest Survey:

Our style: Nature simplified. We call the house scandinasian.

Inspiration: The architecture and the landscape dictated the design. Herb Fritz designed the house in 1953. He was a student and associate of Frank Lloyd Wright. We were also inspired by an existing door in the house and a number of different Asian influences.

Favorite Element: the fireplace

Biggest Challenge: the landscape, because the house is built into a hill.

What Friends Say: They never want to leave the house.

Proudest DIY: Pretty much the whole house! We did all the work in 12 weeks.

Biggest Indulgence: the porcelain tile

Best Advice: If you want to keep a renovation on track, do your research, and be completely prepared before you begin. Have your plans ready, sub-contractor bids in place, and selections made before you start the job.

Green Elements/Initiatives:

  • Hardie Board exterior siding. This is a long-lasting fiber cement siding that earns high points for sustainability because it requires fewer resources for replacement, reduces maintenance and repair costs, and uses a baked-on paint finish that eliminates VOCs.
  • much of the wood flooring was salvaged from elsewhere in the house and reused
  • CeasarStone countertops, which are 97% quartz
  • In the kitchen, two antique Asian cabinets were turned into base cabinetry
  • Varia Ecoresin translucent cabinet panels from 3Form. They are made from a minimum of 40% pre-consumer recycled resin; we used the bamboo and banana fiber styles.
  • low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets
  • energy-efficient Marvin Windows

    Favorite Green Element: the Asian cabinets in the kitchen

    Future Green Goals: composting

    Dream Source: I would love to use more 3form and CeasarStone. I love the products and the colors.

    Resources:

    Appliances: Electrolux in the kitchen. LG washer and dryer.

    Countertops: CaesarStone

    Furniture: Asian and Scandinavian, from a number of sources

    Lighting: Hubbardton Forge

    Tiles and Stone: Porcelain and river rock

    Paint: Sherwin Williams low-VOC Duration Home paints

    Flooring: Original oak

    Siding: Hardie Board

    Other: 3form Varia Ecoresin

    Design: Sager Designs

    (Thanks, Lesley and Win!)

    Interested in sharing your home with Re-Nest? Contact our editors through our Green Tour Submission Form.

    (Images: Top photo: Therese Maring; photos below jump: Eric Ferguson; "before" photos Lesley Sager, gallery photos Therese Maring. Originally published 2010-11-24)

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