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Redaction House

Johnsen Schmaling Architects

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  • General Contractor: Burg Construction
  • Interior Designer: Johnsen Schmaling Architects
  • John J. Macaulay

Project Status


Year Completed



2,430 sq. feet
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Project Description

Custom Home / Under 3,000 Square Feet / Award
On a quarter-acre site on the shores of Lac La Belle, just over 30 miles west of Milwaukee, is a colorful new house that brings all the attributes of urban infill to this bucolic landscape. Designed by Milwaukee-based Johnsen Schmaling Architects, the 2,430-square-foot-house was designed for a fiber artist and her family. The architects organized the program around a series of voids cut into the three-story building mass, which accommodate a covered second-floor deck, an entry court, and, inside, a double-height living room. “This is a known volumetric and formal strategy but the level of execution at all parts is extremely high,” juror Cary Bernstein said. The architects took cues from the client’s art by detailing a brick wall by the entry with progressively wider perforations, and by accenting the horizontal cedar siding with vertical boards painted in colors inspired by the client’s yarn collection. Views out to the lakeside environs are carefully curated, with floor-to-ceiling glazing interrupted by opaque walls to edit out undesirable sight lines. The final result is reminiscent of a censored CIA file, hence “Redaction House.” The jury appreciated how the compact design and footprint felt at home within its neighborhood setting despite its own density. Juror Joel Sanders noted that it feels “extraordinarily comfortable in that context. It fits in so perfectly.” —Katie Gerfen
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