Urban River Getaway 5

How A Local Family Makes Memories

Isabella Allendorfer described her goals for designing a second home just up the road as a place that would be “chic, slick and glamorous.” What she and her husband, Brian (a fifth-generation residential & commercial contractor) achieved was much more: it’s an urban river getaway for their family to spend quality time together.

On the downtown banks of the Milwaukee River this enthusiastic boating family from North Barrington enjoys time together in a two bedroom, two bath condo with nothing short of drop-dead views. Once winter loosens its icy grip, the Allendorfers dock their boat (“Sea-Dorfer”), giving the family of five – and frequent guests – easy access to boating adventures on Lake Michigan from their 50’ floating dock. When boating is not an option, Isabella says her children – ages 16, 14 and 11 – enjoy exploring Milwaukee. “My kids are loving it so much, they are even into museum hopping now,” she says.

Designing this home (about 1500 square feet with floor to ceiling windows and 13’ ceilings) required the full resources of Brian’s construction company, Brian Allendorfer Co., Inc., established in Chicago in 1885. “It was a complete gut job,” Brian says. The original one-bedroom design was converted to two bedrooms and two baths to better accommodate a family of five. A large kitchen provides the ideal setting for cooking, entertaining and conversations.

Make no mistake about it; the shared design ethos of Brian and Isabella is evident in this stunning space they designed and built. Brian insisted on it being a Smart Home with heating, air conditioning, security, audio/visual and lighting all accessible from a smartphone. “The home is essentially run by a series of processors,” he says. It’s a home that’s both cozy and sophisticated for family gatherings while also a top-of-the-line, sleek couples getaway.

True to the Allendorfer’s shared German heritage – Isabella moved to the United States as a youngster – many finishes, lighting and appliances came from German suppliers, providing a touch of European class to this incredible downtown Milwaukee home.

For more information, visit ballendorfer.com or call 773.292.0600.


The Allendorfers curated a variety of products to finish their home using suppliers from Germany, Brazil, Canada and the US. “I’m a big fan of Bauhaus design so it was important that we carried out that theme as much as possible,” says Brian Allendorfer, the fifth generation owner of Brian Allendorfer Co., Inc., a residential and commercial building contractor.


Kitchen and Master Bedroom Closet Cabinetry: Leicht (Germany)


Bathroom Cabinetry by Duravit (Germany)

Plumbing Fixtures

Bath and Kitchen Plumbing Fixtures: Dornbracht (Germany)


Appliances by Miele (Germany)

Master Bedroom

Leather Wall Paneling, Leather Upholstered Bed Frame and Floating Nightstand Wall Cabinets: Florense (Brazil)

Lighting Fixtures

Lighting Fixtures by Tech Lighting (USA), Edge Lighting (USA), Contraste Lighting (Canada)