Elements of Surprise

Home’s Contemporary Interior Design Belies its Suburban Setting


Walk inside the suburban Cedarburg home and prepare to be surprised. Peabody’s Interiors interior designer Emily Winters helped a young couple create an urban sophisticated space to showcase their extensive art collection. “I feel so strongly that your home should reflect you and your personality,” Winters says.


The neutral tones of the walls and furnishings in the living room allow art and accents to “pop.” 

M: Who are the clients? 

EW: The clients are 30-something professionals who are making the transition from an East Side condo to their first home. They’re both incredibly artistic and full of personality and wanted a space that spoke to that.

M: How did the homeowners’ art collection inspire the design? 

EW: The art is very strong and lively; choosing the interior elements and placing the art was a delicate balance. The interior elements needed to provide interest as well and not just become a bland backdrop. In some rooms, the decision on which art to place was the first one we made and it influenced everything else in the room. In others, the art placement happened later in the process.

M: Describe the incongruency between the exterior setting of the Cedarburg subdivision and the interior “wow” of the home.

EW: Sometimes subdivisions of homes all start to feel the same and a bit like they’re void of personality. You feel like you can drive through and predict exactly what each one might look like on the interior. I love that this one blows the lid right off that theory. These clients are anything but “cookie cutter,” and I love that they wanted to keep that vibe going through their house. 

M: There is a lot of sparkle in the design. 

EW: One of the clients happened to really love all things sparkling and would’ve had the whole place full of glam. The touches of sparkle speak to her personality and really add a nice layer of texture to each room, but in a way that’s not too overwhelming.  

M: In what ways did you exercise restraint in the design? 

EW: The living room was a bit of an exercise in restraint with the ivory textured sofa, creamy beige carpet and very simple off-white paint. It was a conscious effort at creating a warm backdrop for the art in that room, as well as allowing for some interesting/unexpected choices in accent pieces in the room. The very neutral larger elements allowed us to introduce the antiqued mirror coffee table, the horn table with the silver patina, and the touches of black and red without the room becoming crazy busy.

M: Tell me about that dining room table.

EW: It’s so fantastic! The clients had purchased it before we started working together on the home and it was a wonderful choice on their part. It’s so unexpected and it brings this really amazing texture to the space. It’s actually made of resin from the railroad ties from the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam.

M: What elements give the master bathroom its contemporary feel?

EW: It’s the color combination, along with the texture of the art that is mimicked in the lines of the chandelier. It creates a very serene but contemporary feel.

M: Is there a design secret to displaying artwork?

EW: I’m not certain there are any real secrets. Art needs to feel like it belongs in a space. I don’t mean the colors need to “match” the room perfectly or be perfectly themed to fit the decor of the home. It should have good scale and presence, be loud if the room needs it or understated if the room is already bold. And, it needs to be hung around eye level, not up in the stratosphere.  


Sparkling accents, such as the chandelier and the mirrored buffet, add texture and a glam feel to the space.


A fireplace adds a cozy feel to the eat-in kitchen.


The ceiling in the master bedroom is painted a graphite color. “I love a little color on the ceiling so that it doesn’t become a forgotten surface, but not every room can handle that amount of color,” interior designer Emily Winters says.    

In the powder room the floral wallpaper creates a contemporary vibe with its color scheme of black and cobalt blue.

A large-scale photograph in the master bathroom was the inspiration for the room’s color palette.