TOWN OF LOWELL — Many people have a dream of the ideal rural life, living close to nature and slowing down a bit from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Others prefer the city, with its conveniences, its comforts and a little faster pace of life.
A property at W8940 Chapel Road in the town of Lowell is all a country living fan could ask for, within an easy drive of Beaver Dam. Realtor Michael Firchow has owned the property for about six and a half years, and has added many updates that he believes will attract both town lovers and country fans to its 2.6 acres.
The field stone foundation, the thick walls, the folk/farm architecture and the sheer quiet of the place whisper with a country accent. With many outbuildings, plenty of space and a thoroughly updated residence, however, even the most dedicated town livers might be attracted to its rural charms.
The farmhouse was built around 1900, with multiple additions as the former farm family grew and needed more living space. According to property records, a piece was added here, a piece there, and outbuildings were built and expanded over time. In more recent years acres of farmland were acquired by neighbors, leaving the current farmette up for grabs.
When Realtor Michael Firchow (pronounced fur-ko) bought it, he saw big possibilities.
“The location is beautiful,” he said, “It has so much storage space and privacy, with the nearest neighbor being almost a football field away. The home, the outbuildings and the acreage offer a family so much potential.”
Most of the outbuildings have been updated with new roofs and paint.
“I didn’t want to alter them too much from what they had been,” Firchow said. “Very few original farm buildings remain in Wisconsin. When we put in the new well I made sure there was water service to the barn so people can keep animals there if they want to.”
The exterior has intentionally unassuming white vinyl siding and a faux brick base. The gable ends are covered in faux shingles, and Firchow added cedar shutters to the sides of new vinyl windows for character.
Changes to the 1,800-square-foot interior were substantial.
“There’s not a wall, ceiling or floor that hasn’t been touched,” said Firchow. “Almost all of the wiring has been replaced. All the windows have been replaced. We blew in insulation to increase energy efficiency. It has a new roof, new furnace, new water heater.”
And the list goes on.
Previously the compact dining room was cut off from the kitchen by a built-in china hutch. A beam was installed , which now opens the space to the kitchen.
“People like open concept, and that’s what we have here, even though it’s unusual to find that in an old farmhouse,” Firchow said.
Throughout the kitchen, dining room and hall space floating vinyl tile has been installed with a 25-year residential wear guarantee. New maple cabinets were installed, with electric fence insulators serving as knobs. An island with a breakfast bar makes the space more functional than it ever was. Lighting is ultra-modern, in a way that compliments the materials and surfaces that surround them. Laminate countertops have the look of solid surfaces.
It’s a completely new kitchen with a few country features,” Firchow said. “To me it was important to tie those two things together and I think we’ve achieved that.”
A hall ran through the center of the house with only a glimpse of light at each end. Firchow had one wall removed and replaced by an engineered beam to make that space part of the living room. A new patio door provides access to the yard – or a deck should the new owners chose to build one.
A first floor bedroom includes a reading nook with southern exposure.
On the main floor there is also a full bathroom/laundry room.
Upstairs are two bedrooms sharing a thoroughly modern bathroom. Two vessel sinks flank a makeup table, with a tiled shower on an interior wall. Low windows afford panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
“The bedrooms are all a good size, which is unusual for a house this age,” Firchow said. “And it’s in the Beaver Dam School District, which is a desirable thing as well.”
The property is currently listed for sale, awaiting a new owner to adopt their piece of Dodge County’s tranquil countryside.
“It’s really a special place, and I can see new owners being very happy here,” said Firchow. “It really does offer the best of both worlds.”