Stebnitz Builders on Making a House a Home

Holly and Sean Marquis spent a year conducting an exhaustive search throughout Walworth County for the perfect home to accommodate their growing family. Finally, they laid eyes on a charming, rustic house that was tucked into a private wooded area between Geneva Lake and Lake Como. “It was love at first sight,” says the couple, who were married in 2020. They loved the home’s location and look, but unfortunately,it didn’t provide as much space as they had hoped for, so they decided to pursue their options for expansion.

The biggest challenge the Marquises faced was finding and designing the space. They turned to Elkhorn-based Stebnitz Builders for help. Jeff Auberger, one of the company’s remodeling and design consultants, helped the Marquises bring their design plans to life.“ Jeff, and the team, encouraged us to think about all the details,” explains Holly. “They were so patient throughout the whole process.” One of the tools that helped the Marquises during the planning phase included 3D design software that Stebnitz offers clients to help contemplate spaces, colors and textures virtually.

Stebnitz Builders has been remodeling homes for over 50 years throughout Walworth County. They have championed “the art of listening” to their clients and know what it takes to provide the best possible outcome for each project. Stebnitz Builders sets themselves apart from other companies with their commitment to their employees. “We invest in our people, and that makes a big difference,” explains Sam Stebnitz, brand manager. “The commitment we have with our employees is what allows us to continue providing the best client experience year after year.”

Stebnitz Builders has a strong commitment to the community through a variety of organizations. They are proud to be a third-generation partner of the United Way of Walworth County, matching 100% of all financial contributions made by their employees. The company is also an avid supporter of Open Arms Free Clinic, the Elkhorn Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the Walworth County Fair Meat Animal Sale, Elkhorn YouthBuild, and teachers and staff in various schools across Walworth County. “We are always eager to serve our community in any way we can,” explains Stebnitz. “We are a great team that moves together.”

With the Stebnitz team’s direction, the Marquises decided to convert the home’s original garage into additional living space, and then to add a new garage to the property. The first step of this involved redesigning the backyard. “The house had the backyard in front,” explains Sean. “It was a challenge to renovate the garage without first fixing the yard, but Jeff and his team figured out every detail.”

To achieve the couple’s desired effects in the yard, Stebnitz Builders partnered with Elkhorn’s Terra Yard Creations for the landscaping. Auberger’s production team designed an outdoor space that would be both family-friendly and inviting to guests. They added an outdoor kitchen with a custom designed, rough-sawn cedar pergola covering the patio, and added a fire pit and a hot tub. Unilock pavers and blocks create winding paths throughout the yard, and a long fence enhances the tall trees at the perimeter of the yard to provide privacy and beauty.

Next, the Stebnitz team converted the original garage space into a new space that contains a mudroom and laundry room, powder room, sitting room, dining room and great room with fireplace. Auberger recommended using distressed hardwood throughout the converted garage living spaces to complement the hardwood flooring in the original house. For the combination mudroom, laundry room and powder room, they opted for luxury vinyl tile in a marbled finish, due to its versatility in high traffic areas. Auberger added stained, built-in cabinetry and shelves to the mudroom for easy organization and storage space.

The final step of the project involved adding a new, three-car garage to the home. The Marquises took advantage of the added space above the new garage by adding a bedroom, a bathroom and a bonus room living area in the design. A combination of carpet and hand-scraped, hardwood flooring was used throughout the living quarters to create a warm and classic feel. The team at Stebnitz Builders designed a large bathroom with a walk- in shower and custom cabinetry. The garage living spaces feature private entry from the side of the garage.

The Marquises finished the project just in time to bring their first child home from the hospital to settle into the new space. Admiring the changes, the Marquises declare that the renovation was a big success. “It was certainly a leap of faith to take on such a massive project,” explains Holly. “It turned out even better than we had envisioned for our family.”


204 Commerce Ct., #3 Elkhorn, WI 53121 | 262-723-7232 |

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