At Home in Racine: An Updated West Racine 1940s Home Finds Modern Uses for Original Details

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Mary and mike

I did it again folks, convinced a few fellow Racinians to open their doors to me.

And for the first time, the series has taken me into the kringlecentric neighborhoods of West Racine! If you are local, you know that West Racine is adorable. If you are not local, consider pulling your life together and making a move. (Real talk, we have our issues but) our lake is “great”, our housing market is redic., and our tap water is refreshing AF.

I happen to know a good realtor, too. purely coincidental.

Let’s start snooping!

Personalized charm greets you at the door!

How great is this simple mosaic tile entryway floor?


 West Racine boasts tons of homes with cool old character, original woodwork and generous layouts. This home was built in 1946 and is on the historic register.

The family just renovated a few years ago.

1893 Upright Steinway – Salvaged from a honky tonk and tuned with the honky tonk “twang”. Mary’s parents refinished it and found Birdseye maple under the gaudy red paint.



Old bankers lamp found at an antique shop



Remodeled fireplace hearth with new black mosaic. The dark and very English vibe is set off by these antique- look tools and more contemporary stools.



Mary does a great job of styling, bringing in tonal and textural variety to a mostly black and white scheme. This creates balanced and refined spaces that don’t feel overly “decorated”. Mary is a styling bawss.


The original sunroom storm doors where fused together to make a sliding French- inspired barn door. (made by local carpenter ,Don Tempesta. okay don! we see you.)


Can you believe they scored this leather ottoman at Habitat for Humanity!? The texture and color pair perfectly with this cow hide rug. Nailed it.


Mary confesses that her style is not completely defined, but she knows she likes layers and mixing new pieces with antiques.



E. Lauffer Black Forest German Grandfather clock, acquired by Mike’s grandparents when they lived in Germany. They had it shipped back to the U.S. and gifted it to him and Mary when they were newlyweds.


How dope is this? These honed slate countertops were salvaged from the home’s basement where they were used as shower walls. The counter-top fabricator (shout out to monte osterman) suspected that they were most likely old billiard tops. So this is their third life, at least!

I’m obsessed with how many pieces of the home’s history have been reincorporated in a fresh new way.

Above the bed is a 30″ Rope Sheave from a piece of equipment made by Filer & Stowell, in Milwaukee. They made equipment mainly for the lumber industry, but also dabbled in steam engines. Mary scored this at School Days Mall in Sturtevant.



Even the dog coordinates. This is Baci, Queen dog. She likes to chill under this  bench and think about how chic her life is. #goals


Little vignettes like this offer continuity throughout the house, allowing for the mixing of furniture styles and eras. Even if Mary can’t quite name her style, it is evident. More like a feeling. But since I am a woman of words I had to give it a try.

The best I can come up with is “Spooky Old-Timey European Casual” ????

Subway tile all day! The couple went floor to ceiling in main floor bath and even incorporated niches for yet another styling opportunity. That old hospital scale is from Mike’s Grandmother’s estate.

I loved this tour. What did you think? Do you have a good name for the design sense? How would you describe this personal style? Drop a comment.

A million thank yous to Mary and the gang for letting me feature their awesome house. Let me know when to swing by for the next Honky Tonk.

Feeling inspired by Mike and Mary’s fabulous home?

Whether you’re just thinking about a shake-up or you’re long overdue for a fresh look, click here to read about my online design and styling services. Mention “At Home in Racine” when you reach out for 10% off your first projekt.

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