Friday, December 17, 2010

Our New House on the Home Tour

Late last year, we had the great fortune to find and purchase a wonderful home in North Central Wisconsin. It was designed by Russell Barr Williamson. Russell Barr worked for Frank Lloyd Wright as his chief designer from 1914 to 1917. After he left Frank Lloyd Wright’s employment, Russell Barr started his own firm based in Milwaukee and built homes in Fox Point, River Hills, Mequon, Beaver Dam and the surrounding areas.

The home was built in 1952 by the Diedrichs. We were told that Mrs. Diedrich was the one that wanted an open concept contemporary home. From the stories told, the Diedrichs loved to entertain and the home certainly lends itself to that with a wonderful great room and good overall flow.

The home stayed in the Diedrich family until 2009. We are the second owners and have always wanted to own a home designed by Russell Barr Williamson. We searched throughout Wisconsin for several years and were very excited to find this home. The home has many Russell Barr trademarks including exterior Pecky cypress wood, soaring windows, many built ins and an extensive use of interior wood and stone. The house is in very good original condition. The bathrooms and kitchen are original except for the oven and fridge in the kitchen.

We put our home on the city Tour of Homes earlier this month (December 2010). We decorated the house in late 50’s/early 60s period appropriate decor including an aluminum Christmas tree of course! We also displayed a large collection of 1950’s/1960’s antique and vintage Christmas items. We tried to stage the house as if you were walking into it on Christmas eve in the late 50's or early 60s.

We really love our new home and find it to be such a serene and peaceful place to be. The house has so many different angles and lines to it but they all work in symphony some how. Our home is one of Russell Barr's smaller homes at about 1900 sq feet. Many of his homes that we looked at were more in the 3500 plus square footage.

Join me for a blog tour of our home as it was setup for the Home Tour

This is our front door adorned with a vintage plastic Santa and plastic wreath.

This is a view of the great room from the dining room. The dining room is a few steps up from the great room.

The party wouldn't be complete without a card table setup for a game of bridge. The card table is vintage from Dave's grandmother. The place mats are plastic and just so cute. There are even vintage playing cards in a vintage card dispenser on the table.

We got this great little bar in California at least six years ago. We have finally found the perfect spot for it. Two nice stools for the ladies to perch on while the man of the house makes them a Whiskey Sour.

The house has an amazing amount of built-ins, perfect for displaying a collection of vintage Christmas items. I love the little sleighs, Santas, ladies and angels. They are very cute and whimsical.

The house has 4 built-in desks. I believe there was one in the master as well but it is no longer there. This is in the corner of the great room. I could see the Mom sitting there and gazing out the windows as she went through her Christmas card list and wrote out her cards.

Here are three perspectives on the great room with the sofa as the centerpiece. We found this sofa at an estate sale. We were there at 4:45pm and the sale was closing at 5pm, reopening the next morning at 8am with everything half price. The sofa was covered in a very 70's flowery pattern but I could tell the lines on the sofa were more 50's/60s. I unzipped the flowery cover and saw a beautiful dusty pink frieze fabric underneath. So with some apprehension, we decided to wait until the next morning and see if the couch was still there. I got there right before 8am and headed straight to the basement as soon as it opened. I was thrilled to see it was still there and bought it on the spot. We took it right home and in the driveway started to rip off the old fabric holding our breath as each cushion was revealed with the fabric intact. The couch and fabric were in amazing condition and we got it all for half price!

This is the view from the couch. We placed our six foot aluminum tree there due to a lower ceiling height, otherwise we felt it would be lost in the high ceiling of the rest of the great room. More built-ins!

The local grocery store gave each homeowner on the tour a flower arrangement. The florist had never been in the house so I tried to explain to her that is was a bit atomic. I think she did a good job with making the arrangement complement the house.

The fireplace can be viewed from both the dining room and the great room. I found these vintage, homemade felt stockings at an estate sale. I just love them. One has skis on it and a cup of hot chocolate, another has a martini glass.

This is the dining room. If you are sitting on the sofa with your back to the pictures above the sofa, the dining room is straight in front of you. We set the table with Dave's mother's good china she got for her wedding in 1954. It is called Platinum. In the upper left corner of the picture you can see another built in. There is a close up picture of it below. In the upper right corner of the picture is this great three level, blond wood tea cart I picked up at a church sale. It fits perfectly there and holds a small lit ceramic Christmas tree.

Here is a close up of the top of the tea cart.

Here is a close up of the dining room built in.

This is the kitchen.

I staged a little baking setup with a vintage stand mixer, cookbook, spices, lard box, vintage cookie cutters and aluminum Santa cake pan.

On the other side of this is the dining room and fireplace. It is nice you can hide the mess of making dinner but can still chat with folks in the dining or great room. A great design for 1952!

This is the master bedroom. It is a wonderful size with a nice reading spot under the window. The vintage TV belonged to Dave's grandmother.

The sweater was knitted by my grandmother Lucille.

This is the master/main bath. (There is a half bath off the hallway near the great room.) The master bath is huge. There is a door for it right off the master and one off the hallway. The small chair is original to the house.

The lady of the house has her spot for her makeup and beauty regimen.

This is the hallway/lounge. We have the original blueprints for the house and this area is called the lounge. The hallway runs from the front door to the back bedrooms with this wider area for the lounge. We used some of our vintage rattan furniture for this area. The daybed is Heywood Wakefield. We found it at a local antique shop. The chair set is from England with reversible cushions. I have some amazing black, red and chartreuse, with an oriental design, vintage barkcloth that I am going to have pinch pleat curtains made out of. I think this will finish off the lounge quite nicely. We got the lamps at an auction in the mid 90's and the large picture of the oriental lady at the Route 66 rummage sale this past June. This is truly the fun part of collecting, when you get to put it all together.

I love vintage Christmas cards. There is just something about the colors and designs. Here is a great little Santa card holder.

I created some interactive Hot Spots for the tour. These where spots where people could pick things up and look at them. Here were some old magazines and a Christmas catalogue for them to peruse. The folks on the tour really seemed to enjoy the Hot Spots!

This is the back bedroom. I decorated it as a teenage girl's room with lots of pink. It had flamingos, movie idol magazines, Barbie and Ken and of course a small aluminum Christmas tree with pink ornaments.

The last stop on our blog tour is the family room. You could use this room as a bedroom as well if needed. This was the spot where the family kicked back and relaxed. There was a vintage puzzle you could work on or you could take a peek in the Viewmaster at Santa and Rudolph (a Hot Spot for the tour). Again wonderful built ins and there is even a spot for Mom to do her sewing or Sally to do her homework.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour. We really enjoyed getting the house setup and sharing it with everyone on the tour. We got some wonderful comments and the best ones were when people said it took them back to when they were little or at their grandmother's house.

We never thought we would find such a wonderful home but our persistence paid off. They are out there just sometimes hard to find. If you are on the hunt for your perfect home, hang in there. We did and the payoff was more than we could have imagined.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope 2011 is all that you want it to be.