A Tour of the Victorian Farmhouse
Four and a half years ago, Stephanie and her husband Travis, who were expecting their second son, went to look at a big, gorgeous home that was out of their budget. Mysteriously, there were no photographs of the home’s interior on the realtor’s website. When they got there, they understood why. Though the outside was every bit the Victorian beauty they’d seen online, the interior was a complete mess. It hadn’t been updated since the ’60s, and they immediately knew it would be way too much work to even consider. By the time their 20-minute drive home was over, they’d decided to buy it.
The Victorian Farmhouse
Enter the Victorian Farmhouse, a unique over-100-years-old blend of a city-style Victorian and a country farmhouse near Milwaukee, WI. Stephanie and Travis certainly had their work cut out for them. All 13 rooms in the home needed to be completely redone. So, what convinced them that it’d be worth the work? Stephanie’s ability to see past the mess to the hidden original elements showed her that beneath all the musty layers was their forever home. And, four and a half years later, taking that leap of faith has paid off.
Tile was an integral part of this remodel because Stephanie’s choices, especially marble and hexagons, allowed her to honor the age and style of the home with new materials and create the modern farmhouse of her family’s dreams.
Year built: 1892
Owned for: 4.5 years
Square feet: 3,000
Stephanie has put almost as much work into the researching the history of the Victorian Farmhouse as she has designing it. Through Ancestry.com, the historical society and the library, she learned that the original owners were successful dairy farmers William and Elenora Foster (pictured with the home below). The family’s success in farming allowed them to build this Victorian-style home out on their country farm. The house was originally built as a wedding gift by William’s parents, who lived next door, and the family stayed in the home until the 1940s. Stephanie and her husband are only the fourth owners in 127 years. At one point in its history, the house was used as a guesthouse for travelers passing through.
The intact historical details of the home were a big selling point for the couple. From the grand staircase down to the intricate doorknobs, there are hidden treasures everywhere. The front parlor is one of their favorite places because of the cozy atmosphere the fireplace and the stained-glass windows create. In the dining room, the original woodwork of the two-toned floor is the standout feature. To complement this original detailing, lots of antique and thrifted items were used. This bench in the entryway, originally used as church or theater seating in the 1920s, was salvaged from a dumpster and perfectly suites the home’s style.
The kitchen shines as an authentic-yet-functional space with its mix of modern conveniences and historical details. Maintaining the character of an 1890s home while bringing a fresh take was the ultimate design goal. Rustic and vintage pieces, like the colorful Depression glass from the 1920s that Stephanie has been collecting for years, add character and a farmhouse feeling. Modern materials, like this marble-look tile and updated appliances, have an updated look that coordinates with the rest of the space.
Like much of the house, the laundry room also has amazing wooden features. The vintage bench and hexagonal tiles, which Stephanie loves and repeated throughout the house, flatter these features and combine function with style.
Read more about the Victorian Farmhouse journey on their blog.
All photography except third photo by Stephanie Kreger. All contract work by The Kreger Company of New Berlin, WI.