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Vernon County Historical Society's Candy Cane Tour features a variety of homes - La Crosse Tribune

Posted on 09 November, 2017 by Sarah R. Morris
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The Vernon County Historical Society will host its Candy Cane Tour of Homes, Sunday, Dec. 2 from 1-5 p.m. This year the tour includes homes that are new and old, large and small, city and country. The tour begins at the Vernon County Museum, 410 S. Center Ave., Viroqua, where visitors can purchase a ticket for , receive a map of the locations and enjoy Christmas cookies and beverages.

The tour has been a community tradition since 1989 and this year includes four residences plus Creamery Creek Senior Living. Funds raised support the programs of the historical society as well as upkeep of four historic buildings: the Museum, the Sherry-Butt House, Foreaker School and Old St. Mary’s Church.

For more information, call the Vernon County Museum at 608-637-7396; go to the website, vernoncountyhistory.org; or see the historical society’s Facebook page at Vernon County Historical Society.

Anne O’Connor, 305 Jefferson St., Viroqua

The house at the corner of Jefferson and Rusk again welcomes Candy Cane Tour visitors on Dec. 2 for a third time. The Proctor House was on the first Candy Cane Tour in 1989 and again in 1995 when it was owned by Dr. Jeffrey and Paula Menn.

O’Connor and her family now live in the Craftsman-style stucco house, built in 1907 by H.P. Proctor. It features dark woodwork, wood floors and an open staircase leading to a landing featuring a leaded-glass window.

The large living area was a new feature for houses at that time, rather than the small-boxed rooms of the Victorian era. The fireplace at one end of the living room features more leaded-glass windows on either side.

The house will be decorated with fresh greens, bouquets of dried foliage and lots of white lights. The ornaments on the Christmas tree were given to the family by friends after a fire in their previous home a few years ago. O’Connor asked friends if they had an ornament with a story they could contribute. One ornament was in a friend’s family for three generations and it now hangs on the O’Connor family tree — one of many symbols of friendship and love.

Jane Keeley, 308 Linton St., Viroqua

This small 1950s house has been modernized into a cozy retirement home. It was built by Obed and Myrtle Braaten and was their family home for many years. Jane purchased the home a few years ago and, with contractor Joel DeWitt, carefully planned how to update it for her purposes. Work began on the house in January of 2018 and she moved from her Gays Mills acreage in spring.

The wall between the kitchen and living room was removed, creating a bright and inviting space. Keeley is a musician and wanted to have enough room to host a (small) square dance for friends. A new patio door at the back of the kitchen leads onto a new deck and provides a lot of light to the kitchen and living areas.

A collection of china from Jane’s grandmother, with an unusual design of red cattails, is displayed on top of the light oak kitchen cabinets. Quilts and antique furniture are placed around the house. There will be swags decorating the cabinets and the Christmas tree, decorated with musical instrument ornaments, will be in an unusual place.

Veronica and Joe Kleiber, E5066 Tryggestad Lane, Viroqua

At the end of a long lane, overlooking their farm fields and woods, stands the recently completed home of Veronica and Joe Kleiber. With a view from every room and a soaring cathedral ceiling in the great room, this is a modern version of a farmhouse.

From the entrance a short hallway opens into a large space with a bank of four long cathedral-like, south-facing windows. The house is designed to be energy-efficient, using natural light and LED. The passive-solar space is protected in summer by a spreading maple tree and in the winter the sun heats the tile floor keeping the kitchen, dining and living space warm.

Painted gray cabinets in the kitchen complement the Shaker-style natural maple woodwork and hickory wood floors and tile throughout the house. The pantry has a rolling “barn door.” Quite appropriate for a modern farm house are a large mudroom and a farm office.

The house was built using local businesses, such as Nuzum’s, Spaeth’s and Elegant Stone. Joe has installed the dark woodwork and doors saved from the old farmhouse on the lower level — a nostalgic touch in contrast to the modern main level. The house will be decorated for Christmas with a large tree in the great room. The ornaments have been collected over the years by Joe, Veronica and their three children.

Amy and Joe Kleiber, E5530 Gabrielson Lane, Viroqua

A new, modern farmhouse is the home of Amy and Joe Kleiber, the son and daughter-in-law of Veronica and Joe Kleiber, just up the road. Construction of the prairie-style home began in 2015 and the family moved in November 2016. Amy found a house plan on the internet and worked with John Zahm at Nuzum’s in Viroqua to incorporate the family’s needs. Seland’s and Spaeth’s, local materials and contractors were used in the building. The result is a new modern home with the feeling of an old lived-in-forever farmhouse.

The front door has a stained-glass window in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright and the feeling persists as you walk through a short hallway which opens up into a 15-foot ceilinged room. The great room flows into the dining room and kitchen, providing space for large family gatherings. The dark Shaker-style woodwork, including the many sliding pocket doors, are reminiscent of an older house the couple lived in at one time.

Joe fashioned a custom wine bar in the lower level. He used unfinished tobacco lath of many types of wood to cover the front of the bar. After installing the lath, he scrubbed it several times, then put on a protective coating. The different shades of brown give the area a warm, welcoming feel.

The house will be decorated for Christmas in a Nordic theme. A tall tree in the family room, wreaths and luminaries in the many windows, greens, table-top trees with twinkling light and gnomes will provide lots of Christmas spirit.

Creamery Creek Senior Living, 1049 Chicago Ave., Viroqua

Opened in February 2017, Creamery Creek offers 35 apartments for senior living, either assisted living or memory care. A wide welcoming hallway leads into the community/dining area where chef-planned meals and snacks are served and residents participate in planned daily activities and exercise programs. Quilts and wall hangings made by Cathy Halvorsen make the area feel homey. There is also a fitness room, beauty and barber shop, and Wi-Fi.

The apartments are located along the perimeter of the building so that each one has a view and natural light. Each apartment includes a kitchenette and private bath along with a spacious living/bedroom area. Residents can also enjoy an enclosed courtyard, a patio area and raised garden space.

A special Christmas tree will grace the community area, the Angel Tree. Residents and their families contribute ornaments in memory of or to honor a loved one. Multiple Christmas trees, decorated communal areas and refreshments will welcome tour visitors.

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