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Platteville Tour of Homes Saturday
Proceeds to benefit historic preservation
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Wirtz house, 2085 Fountain Bluff Lane

The 2014 Platteville Tour of Homes will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The tour highlights homes of interest in the Platteville area and is cosponsored by the Old House Enthusiasts, Inc., and the Grant County Historical Society. Proceeds will be donated to local and regional historic preservation societies.

There are four historic and newer homes on this year’s tour: Dr. Paul Mariskanish and Jen Long at 315 W. Main St.; Lu and Gary Jones at 840 W. Main St.; Connie and Shawn Steinhoff at 1816 County B; and Cathy and David Wirtz at 2085 Fountain Bluff Lane. The Mitchell–Rountree Stone Cottage, owned by the Grant County Historical Society, also will be open as part of the tour.

Marishkanish/Long: The residence of Dr. Paul Mariskanish and Jen Long is a cream brick home in the Queen Anne style. Mariskanish purchased the home in 2005 after falling in love with the style and grace of the home.

The home was built in 1908 and 1909 by the Fanz (Frank) Xavier Burg Sr. family. Renowned Platteville architect Henry Kleinhammer designed this mansion. The home remained in the Burg family until 1976. It is located in the West Main Street Residential Historic District, which was designated in 2007.

The home features 16 rooms that include such details as woodwork, ornate trim, columns, beveled and stained glass, beamed ceilings, fireplaces, and original light fixtures.

In the past three years, extensive restoration has continued. The kitchen has been restored with high attention to detail. Details for the kitchen include a tin gilded ceiling, historic wall treatments, and light fixtures. All missing wood detailing has been replaced. Throughout the home, historic wall treatments are being installed. The home is furnished entirely with period antiques, window treatments, and floor coverings that match the quality of the home. There is a large chandelier that graces the dining room for added elegance.

Jones: The brick cottage built around 1860 by carpenter/miner Richard Verran was purchased in 2011 by Lu and Gary Jones, who summer in Door County and go “south” to Platteville for the winter. The couple met while students at UW–Platteville nearly 50 years ago. Lu, a retired insurance agent, pursues her interests in genealogy and history; Gary, a retired secondary English instructor, is a writer who teaches part time at the university.

Three years ago Gary had gone for a run in Platteville on a visit for his mother-in-law’s birthday and noticed that the little brick house on his route was for sale. “Let’s just look at it,” he suggested to Lu. Three days later they made an accepted offer to purchase.

The symmetrical dormered structure has a Williamsburg feel as it nestles under three 250-year-old oak trees. Forenoon visitors to this Civil War era house will be greeted by a uniformed soldier representing that time.

The front room is balanced with a wood-burning fireplace sitting room at one side and a library at the other. Visitors will proceed through an updated kitchen-dining area to a garden room with a handicap accessible bathroom. Upstairs are two cozy gabled-ceiling bedrooms and a study that overlooks the spacious back lawn.

The house is furnished primarily with antique and vintage reproduction furniture that complements the period charm of the home, including a Victorian parlor set, a maple low-boy, and a one-room school teacher’s desk. Rooms are filled with artwork, old framed family photos, vintage quilts, British transfer china, Flagg and Homan pewter, and a 1908 family wedding dress on a mannequin. Lush plants complement the décor.

Those who are familiar with the Mitchell–Rountree Stone Cottage will note architectural similarities in the Verran cottage. This home has been featured on earlier tours of homes.

Steinhoff: Shawn is the Vice President of North American Mechanical and Connie is the Director of the Platteville Senior Center. They purchased their home in 2011, attracted by the location just outside the city with a beautiful view from their Juliet balcony overlooking the Little Platte River.

Lloyd Linden was the original owner of the home, built in 1970, but the Steinhoffs have remodeled extensively including an addition expanding the floor space to approximately 3,000 square feet.

Connie and Shawn recently completed major renovations with new flooring and wall coverings throughout the home.

The entryway has new oak doors and woodwork. An open staircase leading to the lower level has been rebuilt with 100-year-old birdseye maple reclaimed from a school in Beaver Dam. To open up the kitchen, the dropped ceiling was taken out and the walls have been moved.  Connie retiled the walls, and new oak cabinets, lighting and appliances were added. Nearby is the boiler room, which supplies the radiant floor heat and hot water. The master bedroom has been remodeled adding a large walk in closet. The spacious living room and dining room area exits to a large deck.

The three-story addition brings a lot of great space to the home. On the main level is the new two-car garage and the stairs nearby lead up to Connie’s favorite room, a 700 square foot quilting studio. The studio includes a half-bath with pocket doors, its own in-floor heating system, air conditioning and enough space for her 14-foot quilting machine. Beneath the garage is Shawn’s space for home brewing, a beer kitchen with its own sink, stove and refrigerator.

Wirtz: Cathy is a retired educator and David was a career U.S. Army officer. Both David and Cathy had lived in Platteville in the 1980s and 1990s, and moved back to be closer to family and the beauty of Southwest Wisconsin.

This single-story home with a walkout basement sits on a secluded nine-acre site looking down through the trees to the Rountree Branch of the Platte River. After looking for property in several states, this setting had the exact beauty and interest they had sought.

Because both David and Cathy have ancestral roots in the railroad industry and a love of old depots, David envisioned this home as an exterior with the features of a depot. This well-insulated, geothermal heated and cooled home, features three-foot overhangs and a long front porch that welcomes you to a bright open floor plan. The 14-foot great room ceiling is made of white fir from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the red oak floor is from a 1930s corn crib found in Galesburg, Ill.

Although built in 2010, the home was designed to reflect the couples’ appreciation for the “old things.”  Look for the beveled glass side lights by the front door, antique screen door to the pantry, the back “bird deck,” old green shutters covering the television and the linen closets as well as supporting cherry wood desk in the master bedroom. The master bedroom has the bed set in the middle of the room to maximize the view of the woods and fields. The basement level houses a study, a guest room, and Cathy’s sewing room.

Much of the home’s features were designed by David to fit the home to the couple’s interest in unique acquisitions from Wisconsin and all the states where they have traveled.  This modern home is a blend of treasures surrounded by beautiful land and a unique home.

The homes on this year’s tour will be enhanced with decorations from Erschen Florist and Kathie’s Gifts and Uniques.

Tickets for the 2014 Platteville Tour of Homes are $8 in advance, available at Erschen’s Florist, Change of Seasons, Kathie’s Gifts and Uniques, and the Platteville Regional Chamber. Tickets also will be available for $10 at the door on the day of the tour.