Brookfield and Elm Grove designers have once again donated their talents and time to assist in the annual Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse.
The WBCS was founded in 1998 as an all-volunteer charitable organization. It raises funds for research into breast cancer and prostate cancer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Since its founding, the WBCS has donated over $5 million.
"Our money stays right here in Milwaukee, and it's for both prostate and breast cancer research. We're one of the few groups that gives to both," WBCS Public Relations Chair Linda Short said. "A lot of people are doing things for breast cancer these days, but prostate cancer is becoming very common."
This year's house is the Fitzgerald-Herzfeld Mansion located at 2022 E. Lafayette Place. The 6,158-square-foot house was built in the early 1900s by William E. Fitzgerald, the president of Milwaukee Dry Dock Company and manager of American Shipbuilding Company. Fitzgerald and his wife Jesse chose Ferry and Clas, a prestigious architectural firm also known to have designed the Milwaukee Central Library, to plan their home. Fitzgerald died soon after the home's completion, and it has passed to a number of owners since.
"What's really neat about (this house) is that it has had so many different owners but is still in great condition due to all of them caring for and appreciating the significance of it," Short said.
The Brookfield and Elm Grove designers who contributed to this year's project are as follows:
Margaret Weis and Betsy
Weis and Peckenpaugh are designers at Calico Corners. The pair worked on the living room in the Fitzgerald-Herzfeld Mansion.
"We've been doing it for 15 years, and it always feels good," Weis said.
Alvin Heitmann and Dave Pope
Heitmann and Pope are designers at Ethan Allen Design Center and worked on the house's dining room. It was Heitmann's first year of involvement with the project.
"I had a blast doing it. It's been a great experience, and it was an honor to be a part of this," Heitmann said. "It's a real joy to know that the work you're doing is going to help others."
Kristi Pross and Laurie Wegner
Pross and Wegner are independent designers who worked on the powder room in the house.
"We just wanted to do something impactful and fun, and it's obviously for a great cause," Pross said.
Ryan, an interior designer at Kitchens by Design, was responsible for the mansion's kitchen.
"I always look forward to it every year. Everyone is hustling and bustling to get things done by the deadline date, and it just becomes its own little community," Ryan said.
Michael Carter and
Carter and Williams are interior designers at Ken Michaels Furniture. The pair worked together on the house's sunroom.
"I don't think there's any of us who haven't had someone we know touched by cancer. Raising money that stays local is a great thing, but it's also just fun for us," Carter said. "We really like showcasing our work. We get to use our personalities as designers."
"It's an area where you have a little more freedom to express your own design," Williams said. "Typically when you're working with a client, they have a look that they're set on. With this, we get to express our own desires."
Williams herself is a 10-year survivor of breast cancer.
Konzal is a designer at Nicholas Carl Design who worked on this year's WBCS master bedroom.
"I kind of walked into the space trying to get inspiration and saw that you can see a reflection off of the lake that has a silver color, so I took that color and brought it into the room," Konzal said. "It's always fun working with the other volunteers. It's a great group of people. There's a real sense of camaraderie."
Bergman is an interior designer at Boston Store Furniture Gallery. She designed the library and its adjoining bathroom.
"I wanted to have it have more personality than just 'Here are some shelves with some books,'" Bergman said.
Missy Mann and
Mann and Mather are interior designers at Laacke & Joys. The two of them were responsible for the outside areas of the project.
"We've been involved since its inception. The first thing people see when they pull up will be (the outdoor work)," Mather said. "It's really a pleasure, every year, to be involved."
Short noted that the designers for the house are responsible for their own supplies and their efforts are purely on a volunteer basis.
The Fitzgerald-Herzfeld Mansion will be open to visitors from May 31 to June 15.
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