On a quiet street in Madison, Wisconsin stands a 1950 home that looks like a brought-to-life version of one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s blueprints—and for good reason. Jesse “Carey” Caraway, an understudy of Mr. Wright’s, designed the abode. Michelle and Jonny Hoffner couldn’t believe their luck when they discovered the Usonian home, Frank Lloyd Wright’s term for the handful of suburban dwellings he and his students designed. The house was perfect for raising a family—two-year-old Dottie, with another on the way.
The couple owns a photography business called Paper Antler, mixing wedding and editorial work while cultivating a loyal Instagram following. Describing their work as “withstanding the test of time and trends,” their décor aesthetic ties into that as well, staying true to many of the home’s original features while wrapping in their fresh, inventive style. The couple collaborated with interior designer, Lauren Piskula of Deluxe Design Studio, to create the beautiful look throughout the home. Honoring Wright’s tradition of weaving nature into a home, the team brings the outside in through plants, artwork and unencumbered views of their courtyard through the sweeping windows.
Vintage Meets Modern
Michelle and Jonny have a knack for dichotomies—vintage and new, handcrafted and mass-produced, traditional and innovative. The kitchen exemplifies this with black cabinetry purchased at a Midwest hardware store chain and brass pulls found through Schoolhouse Electric. Throughout the home, a birch-like material on the walls adds texture. Jonny explains that the original-to-the-home material, called Pecky Cyprus, is a now-endangered wood no longer used in construction.
“The trees laid on the bottoms of rivers for hundreds of years. When they’d pop up, people would snatch them. The knots are from hitting rocks on the bottom of the river,” says Jonny.
Kitchen necessities are set against a star-patterned cement backsplash discovered at The Cement Tile Shop. The couple credits the choice to the interior designer they collaborated with, Lauren Piskula of Deluxe Design Studio. “It has that vintage, retro feel, but it’s also clean and modern,” says Michelle.
A standard dining room table takes a snug turn as a breakfast nook, punctuated by sea-green chairs from Anthropologie, an antique bread bowl and “Be Present” wall art made by the couple’s brother-in-law.
In this renovated guest bath, the poured cement countertop and flooring takes center stage. Elongated subway tile, a raised sink and a globe-shaped pendant light from Cedar & Moss work together to create a current look.
Although the copper fireplace hood looks modern, it is actually original to the home. “The hearth is the center of Usonian homes. When we moved in, the fireplace hadn’t been used for decades,” says Jonny. To the left of the fireplace sits a record player cabinet, crafted by Jesse and Chandra of Wholme. The duo also completed the remodeling projects throughout the home.
Eschewing a traditional shelf, the couple displays beloved objects and houseplants on a ladder made by friend Andrew Coslow, owner of his design studio ByAndrewCoslow. Nearby logs serve as décor and stand at the ready for building a fire.
Darkness & Light
In an addition built onto the home in 1952, Michelle and Jonny did the majority of their renovations, setting up couple’s quarters complete with a spacious bedroom and well-appointed master bath. Marked by contrast, the bath features white cabinetry offset by black hand-scraped tile and Midcentury-inspired lighting from Etsy shop TripleSevenHome.
Natural elements accentuate the shower, including Kohler copper fixtures, marble tile walls and a cascading succulent. Honeycomb floor tiles wrap in modern detailing.
Wide Open Spaces
The centerpiece of the living room is the watery wall art, photographed by Jonny in Door County, Wisconsin. “It was taken at the same house we always rent on the lake, so it has a lot of meaning and memory,” he says. It’s an example of a fine art print Jonny sells through their sister brand, Rock Paper Antler. Awash in a sea of black, white and neutrals, the Room & Board and CB2 couches add plushness and act as perfect perches for taking in outdoor views.
At a workstation built for two, the couple, who have been working together for a decade, runs their photography business. Instead of devoting a room to their office, the hallway was put to good use, allowing space for a built-in poured concrete desk accented by artwork and potted plants.
The unique bed, also crafted by Andrew Coslow, is called a “slat bed.” Flanked by simple touches like straightforward dimmer lights, a potted plant and a small stack of books, the bed and surrounding space exemplifies the couple’s commitment to minimalism. “We always have an idea of where something is going,” says Michelle. Jonny adds, “The less you have, the more you appreciate it. Our goal is to always have the union of function and beauty.”