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.
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.
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.
Appliances: Electrolux in the kitchen. LG washer and dryer.
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
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(Images: Top photo: Therese Maring; photos below jump: Eric Ferguson; "before" photos Lesley Sager, gallery photos Therese Maring. Originally published 2010-11-24)