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A simpler life
Historic building restored to former glory

BY JANET RAASCH

 

For many years, the stone structure on North Green Bay Road in the town of Cedarburg was nothing more than the shell of the building. Paul Rasmussen Construction completed the restoration in 2010.


The old stone house restored by Paul Rasmussen Construction near the intersection of Pioneer and Green Bay roads is deceptively roomy — and modern. And not just modern in the obvious ways like indoor plumbing and electricity. Inside the nearly 2-foot-thick fieldstone walls that have stood since the 1860s when the former general store was a pit stop for Civil War troops heading north, there is now in-floor heat, central vacuum and a reverse osmosis water system.

In restoring the historic structure — many will remember the shell it was for decades — Paul Rasmussen took great care in preserving its character: the wood plank floors, beamed ceilings, rosehead nails. "If these things aren’t preserved there isn’t going to be any of this old history for future generations," Rasmussen says.

The property changed hands several times in the last few decades — Rasmussen even thought about buying it many years ago — but none of the owners made very much headway. "In the past everyone put their hands on that place but it wasn’t completed. Now it’s completed and it needs someone to live in it, to appreciate it. It needs an owner," he says.

The kitchen boasts many modern conveniences, including a downdraft cooktop, dishwasher, garbage disposal and hot water on demand.


Rasmussen bought it from the bank after the couple who hired him to restore it went bankrupt during the project. He completed the restoration in 2010 and received the 2011 Residential Preservation Award from the town of Cedarburg.

Though he talks about selling it, he hasn’t ruled out living there himself. "I was sitting over there the other night having a glass of wine with a friend of mine imagining what it was like 100 or 150 years ago and seeing everything in black and white."

 

 

 

 


The restored 1860s stone house is 1,600 square feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room and dining room.

 

Small-space secrets

Want to know the secrets of living large in a small space? Interior designer Linden Laurent with Peabody’s Interiors, staged this small space and offers some tips.

• Smaller things create a feeling of clutter. Use large pieces but not as many pieces in a small space. It keeps it clean and creates a lot of punch.

• Use things that do double duty. A small chest instead of a side table adds storage space; a dining room table provides a large work surface.

• Keep a feeling of openness in a small room with versatile pieces: a drop-leaf table in the kitchen folds down when the meal is over; a secretary desk adds storage and folds up when not in use.

• A tall floor mirror will reflect light and provide a feeling of depth.

• Using concentrated color on a wall adds drama to a small space and makes it feel bigger. m

— Janet Raasch