Collection by Tiffany Jow

This Sustainable Wisconsin Home Is Nearly Off-the-Grid


One of the Midwest’s first LEED Platinum homes enhances a historic neighborhood.

Upon deciding to move from Chicago to southeastern Wisconsin, a young family asked Milwaukee firm Johnsen Schmaling Architects to design an unassuming, modern home that reflected their nature-loving lifestyle. The project site—a narrow lot in a historic neighborhood—was flanked by a three-story mansion and a midcentury ranch. The architects responded by creating the OS House: a colorful, unapologetically contemporary residence that thoughtfully embraces its environment. Indoor-outdoor spaces like an elevated patio, shaded terrace, and natural light-drenched vestibule are artfully carved into the bi-level home and connected with sliding or stationary glazed panels, taking advantage of the area’s amazing views. One of the first LEED Platinum homes in the Midwest, the project incorporates green amenities aplenty. Insulated with foam made from agricultural byproducts, the residence has a custom rain screen system, low-flow water fixtures, and a deep-well geothermal heating and cooling system that allows it to operate almost entirely off-the-grid.

The cheery geometric facade of the 1,900-square-foot OS House makes a statement in a historic Wisconsin neighborhood.
The main entryway is flanked by the dining room and a glazed vestibule, which gives way to the kitchen and living room.
A third-floor study projects over the edge of the house, providing breathtaking views of the nearby lake.
High-efficiency glazing and permeable surfaces on the driveway, entry path, and terrace that facilitate stormwater...
A custom eight-inch-deep rain screen system was designed to reflect solar radiation, and allows moisture to escape with...
Harry Bertoia’s iconic Bertoia side chair is surrounded by custom railings.
Custom cabinets and a faucet from Kohler’s Purist collection are complemented by Luciano Bertoncini’s Min table and...
Nestled in the cozy study, Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair and Ottoman sit atop a Spinneybeck cowhide rug from...
A compact custom desk and shelving system makes the most of the available space.