Monday, February 13, 2012

The Parlor and Other Stuff

This room was originally the parlor.  There is a side door inside the room that leads to the foyer.

We acquired the house in April 2007.  A year later we had restored the house enough so that we could live there full time.  

You can't imagine what we went through that first year just to get the house up to a level of occupancy.  There was no water, and chimney mortar was wicking rain into the house--and brought the dining room ceiling to the floor.  And the list went on and on.  Roof repairs, 60 amp electric service like two kite strings, entrance steps and porches decayed so bad it was dangerous to walk on them.  Crumbling and Dangerous are the best words to describe the house when we bought it.  There was no insulation, and a vintage gas furnace

We have three bedrooms upstairs and this one downstairs.  To the left is a Sheboygan secretary.  Visible in the faded mirror I can read Chicago 1903.  I paid $250 for the desk, and two months later saw one just like it in a Princeton antiques shop for $1695.  Our Sheboygan desk has a key to lock it.

Here's the parlor sans wallpaper,  after insulation was blown in the walls, and repair the wall cracks--two skim coats of joint compound, sanded smooth, Zinzer 123 primer, and finally two coats of wall color Bewitch by Valspar.  I used the color Bewitch again  a year later on the 3/4" beadboad in the new upstairs bathroom.

Paint color--Bewitch by Valspar; 3/4" bathroom beadboard.

To me, the color Bewitch is the new black; a great neutral color, Bewitch goes with everything.

Bedroom Air Conditioner

I collect signs. Thought you'd enjoy this one.

I'm finishing this post tonight, featuring one of my oil paintings. 
Pauline and Dean Jaansen's antique Nipon vase, painted 25 years ago.  I have photographs of this painting showing stages of the work in progress.  At one point only the vase was painted--it looked like it was floating in the air on the canvas.  Truth is, I was so scared about handling the vase; I painted it first, then returned it to the family.  If I dig around and find the photo of the floating Nipon vase, I'll post it.  Its a real hoot. 


  1. How lucky that house is that you are its caretaker! What a commitment. Thank goodness mine was in good shape when i bought it!

  2. ouFrom this posting, it sounds as though you saved the house just in time from certain ruin.

    So many things to study in this posting! I like your still life painting, which seems to fit the period of the house very well, and I like that handsome wallpaper, as well.

    I wonder, had your house been vacant for an extended period before you moved in?

  3. You have such a beautiful home!

  4. Thanks Ann,

    Glad you found the home of your dreams too. You sure have a lovely home!

    Jon and I knew from the beginning our whole house restoration would be long(now 5 years and continuing) but we weren't expecting it to be such an emotional journey.

    We are thrilled this house chose us and honored to "stoop" to save it.

    It took a couple of nuts like us to bow down and give it life again. (Smiling)it really happened that way as quite a bit of the work has been on our hands and knees.

    My uniform is made up of an inside-out sweatshirt, and sweat pants covered with paint splatter. I own more sweatpants than dress pants. I buy dust masks in boxes of 50 count. And my restoration hair-do is stranger than Donald Trump's. But, I'm happy. That's all that counts.

  5. Hi Mark,

    No one lived in the house since the 1970s, perhaps longer.

    The first owner/builder John Olson Wrolstad 1893-1907, then the house sat vacant for 10 years after his death in Dec 23, 1907. Dec 1917 the second owners bought the house and their grandchildren were born there.

    The two grandchildren (little girls) grew up, married, moved away, inherited the house in the 70s, and kept the lawn mowed and the house heated for 30 some years while no one lived in it.

    We are the third owners in 2007. We chased the last little girl Donna (born 1920)for 6 years to buy the house. Each time we asked to buy the house, she told us NO.

    The last time I talked to her was by phone June 2006. With anger in her voice she told me if she ever decided to sell the house we'd be the first to be called . . .

    By accident or miracle, we received a phone call February 14, 2007 from a realtor asking if we'd be interested in a fixer-upper. The fixer-upper turned out to be the old house we'd been trying to acquire for the last six years.

    We didn't know the lady we'd been chasing died in November 2006. And just like she'd said, we were indeed the first to be called.

    Her children did not know us, they did not know we had chased their mother the last six years to buy the house. Like wise, the realtor was unaware we were interested in the old house. It was either a fluke or the house chose us.

    All I can tell you is for six years every other weekend when Jon and I passed by this house on our way to get groceries in Stevens Point, I'd ask Jon to stop and we'd sit in the driveway 10 minutes or so, just admiring the old house.

    During those moments I silently spoke to the house, and I promised such outrageous things . . . I promised to restore it and take care of it if it were ours some day.

    "Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you're young at heart"

  6. Hi Ashley,

    Do you think our old house would make a cool Bed and Breafast?

    I'm glad you stopped by to look at our old house. Slowly, she's turning the corner and coming back to life. We are very happy living here.

    Hope to hear from you again.

  7. I don't remember weather or not I had mentioned it, or posted a comment about it, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE That bathroom of yours with that wallpaper and beadboard. It's amazing.

    And the floating vase sounds hilarious. :D

  8. Hi Mrs. D-

    I love when you show the quirks of your amazing home, and the before and after shots. You guys are simply amazing in what you were able to accomplish in a very short time span. Your artistic eye has chosen just the right colors for everything. It was interesting reading your comments (maybe I should fall behind on reading my favorite blogs more often?) about how you came to acquire your home. Kismet, I believe. :-)