Grout-Sponsored Tour Features Architecture and Restoration of Classical Homes | Local News


WATERLOO – Connoisseurs of old homes, architecture enthusiasts and the simply curious can step inside a colonial, Tudor and Japanese-influenced bungalow on Saturday’s Classic Homes Tour.

They are among six homes that will be featured at the 1-5 p.m. fundraising event, presented by the Grout Museum District and Friends of Grout’s Historic Homes.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at, at the Grout Museum, 503 South St., or at any house on the day of the visit. KOCH Construction is the supporting sponsor.

In a first for the tour, participating homeowners will receive a hand-painted watercolor of the exterior of their home.

“We so appreciate those owners who open their homes for the tour. In previous years we have presented matted and framed photographs to owners. This year I thought I’d like to do watercolors,” said Julie Zell, a former interior design teacher at Hawkeye Community College. She taught her students how to paint watercolor renderings of their interior design projects.

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Each realistic watercolor took Zell at least five hours to paint.

“This includes time to draw the house from a photograph and complete the painting. They will be matted and framed to show to the owners,” she explained.

Since its origins as an Old House Fair and Tour in 2001, funds have been used to support the maintenance and upkeep of the historic Rensselaer Russell House, built in 1861 and often described as one of the finest examples of Italianate architecture in Iowa, and the Snowden House, built in 1878. The ensemble of the Russell House and the brick Victorian Italianate exterior of the Snowden House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places .

“We strongly believe in supporting the story of these beautiful ladies. They are high maintenance. Like your own home, there are always plans and things to do,” said Jim Aronson, committee chair. Tour of Homes.

The tour features examples of residential architecture in Waterloo and highlights the work done by homeowners to restore, renovate, update and maintain an older home. Attributes can include character, history, architectural details, as well as being well-built and well-proportioned.

“This year we have a nice variety of different decades of home styles. People leave every home saying “thank you very much, we enjoyed it” and it feels good to share that with the owners. »

While homeowners may be hesitant to open their home for viewing, “homeowners can share what they’ve done to their home and visit people who are interested in their home. It’s rewarding,” Aronson explained.

Featured Waterloo homes this year include:

Peggy Bullerman, 1839 Westchester DriveThis home with its view of the Sunnyside golf course from the rear windows was built in 1976. The Bullermans moved into the split-level home in 1989. Renovations followed in 1997 and 1998 to add a large room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a dining area, while transforming the living room into a formal dining room.

Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity House, 316 Iowa St.This unique Japanese-influenced bungalow was originally known as the O’Neil Bungalow designed by Howard B. Burr in 1919 for William J. and Evelyn B. O’Neil and located at 1302 Logan Ave. Reconstruction of Highway 63 on Logan Avenue in 2012 and 2013 required moving the house to its current location on Iowa Street. It was acquired by Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity in September 2020 and is one of several homes being built or restored in the Walnut neighborhood.

Wendy Harris, 229 Alta Vista Ave.This classic brick Colonial Revival home built in 1918 by BW Schuneman has been well maintained. Most of the house’s original footprint remains. Colonial Revival features include a columned portico, front door sidelights, a pedimented front door with dormer window, and a symmetrical facade.

Kim and Otto MacLin, 3701 Loralin DriveThis home was built in 1901 by Arthur Smith, and the home remained in the Smith family, though going through multiple changes, until the MacLins purchased it in 2010. The MacLins, who used to restoring period properties, saved the house and in 2020 moved in and started renovations. The house had been converted into a duplex upstairs and downstairs, losing many of the original details. The MacLins returned it to a single family home with the goal of creating a comfortable environment with a sense of place.

Kate and Zach McBride, 123 Columbia CircleThe spaciousness of this Tudor-style home along with the exceptionally wide staircases and unique arches attracted Katie and Zach when they purchased it in December 2015. The ground floor features an open plan kitchen with dining area, a formal dining room, a living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, a built-in secretary and vaulted ceilings, a glass-enclosed den, and a porch the McBrides convert into a workout area and locker room. This house is on one of the many blocks in the area that have a common park with houses surrounding it.

Mary and Ron Potter, 131 Leland Ave.Emmon Johnson, a prominent banker, who founded the Johnson & Leavitt banking house in 1864, owned the entire block of Leland along with Walter E. Joneson. In 1907 they sold the corner lot on Leland to Minerva Kimball who built the house at 131 Leland in 1912. The house passed through several hands and during World War II it was divided into four apartments, two on each floor. Two of these apartments are rented; one is retained by the owners who live in two houses and the other is an Airbnb. When Mary Potter bought the house in 2011, the first floor solarium and second floor veranda made it very attractive from the street; however, it had fallen into a state of disrepair requiring extensive and costly restoration. Repairs included a new foundation, rewiring and resurfacing of the porch.

For more information, call (319) 234-6357 or visit


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