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Formal but welcoming
Crabtrees call their home ‘eclectic French provincial’
By Kathleen Ostrander

David and Eileen Crabtree were taken by the lovely stone homes in France, but they also wanted the formality of a brick home. Their residence on Old Salem Lane in New Berlin is the perfect blend of formal and warm French provincial styles.

Eileen Crabtree calls it "eclectic French provincial," but most people would just call it beautiful.

"Since we are in the country we wanted stone, but we also wanted the formality of the brick," David Crabtree said.

The exterior of the home is done in brick and stone. The front is welcoming, although formal, and off to the side is an area done in stone with wooden shutters and accents. It looks like a castle courtyard.

The garage has wooden doors, and it looks like a country house off to the side of the main manor. Even the entrance to the drive is done in stone and brick. The entranceway is beautifully landscaped with patches of floral and greenery on the way to the house. They have the feel of a shrubbed oasis.

"I did a lot of the interior and David wanted to do the outside," Eileen said.

The outside courtyard on the front of the side of the house is accessible through a utility hallway off the kitchen. It is a beautiful profusion of blooming plants and greenery and it has the feel of a European outdoor bistro. "We like to go out to the garden and have a glass of wine; it's perfect for that," Eileen said.

The interior is spacious and bright with crisp crown molding that accents warm earth-toned walls. The open floor plan makes the space seem endless, and a wall of windows offers a spectacular view of the back area of the estate.

The front foyer has an electric candle light fixture topped with metal scrollwork. The basic scrollwork design is repeated throughout the house, helping tie the rooms together. The frame of the bed in the master suite as well as some of the artistic accents in the spacious master bath carries the scrollwork theme. There are double walk-in closets in the master suite, and the master bath has decorating touches including an expensive spa.

In addition, the color scheme of muted and crisp white tones, peach, cream and green, is repeated throughout the house creating a soothing flow from room to room. The rugs on the floor in the formal dining room as well as the family room have a delicate scrolled floral print to continue the decorating theme.

The floors are a warm red hickory and the study, as well as the cabinets in the kitchen, is done in cherry wood. There is a cozy dining area off the kitchen that has a sunny view of the backyard.

The fireplace in the downstairs living room is paneled in cherry while the fireplaces throughout the rest of the house have the European stone styling that David favored in the front courtyard.

The stainless steel appliances are covered with cherry panels to keep the "country" feel to the kitchen. The colors in the ceramic-tiled backsplash carry the color accents from the rest of the house.

The staircase to the upper story - where the Crabtree girls have their lounge - and their rooms are done in wood and white. The tread is wood, while the riser is white and the balusters are iron. It is this attention to detail that makes the whole theme of the house coherent. David's penchant for large timepieces can be seen throughout the house. Beautiful clocks are artistic accents in many of the rooms.

The basement has a huge cherry framed bar that can make guests think they are in an Irish pub. But it is the wine cellar that is unforgettable. It is inset in a stone wall and set up like a grotto and a French bistro. The basement also has a game room and a workout room.

Back upstairs, several sets of French doors open into the backyard. In the morning and afternoon, sunlight floods the living area of the house through a wall of windows.

The back of the house, thanks to David, has a distinctive personality. The shutterless windows are accented in white wood and the entire rear façade is done in several types of stone and rock. An airy screened porch as well as nicely appointed sheltered outside areas extend the living area for the family.

The pool area is landscaped in the same type of stone used on the house.

The house has elements of a country manor and a fairy castle, but taken all together, it has the feel of "home."


Story published Friday, December 4, 2009 ( Volume 4, Number 7 )

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