While a modern ranch house on the shores of Lake Wissota looks like it’s brand new, the home is actually a top-to-bottom remodeling of a modest 1950s-era lakefront cabin.
The new house kept the old foundation and some walls, but builder Randy Tews said, little else remains from the cabin at 19305 55th Ave.
“There was nothing really left,” said Tews, owner of R. Tews Construction & Design.
The old detached garage was leveled and the cabin was gutted. What remained of the old structure was added onto, updated with new plumbing and electrical systems, topped with an almost entirely new roof and enveloped in new siding.
The resulting house has the open concept, spacious rooms and modern amenities that today’s homebuyers seek, while still maintaining the serene lakefront setting of the old cabin.
The Lake Wissota home is among three remodeling projects that will be open to view today and Sunday as part of the annual Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association’s Parade of Homes.
“It’s an opportunity for the builders that do remodeling projects to showcase what they can offer and for people to see what can be done in a remodel,” said Christina Thrun, the association’s executive officer.
This is the first year the parade has featured remodeling projects, though the association held a separate event years ago just for home remodeling projects. While this year’s remodeling projects will only be available to tour this weekend, the other 15 homes in the parade will be open to visitors during the event’s entire eight-day run.
The parade, now in its 45th year, is the CVHBA’s premiere event and attracts about 5,000 attendees each year and sometimes even reaches 6,000, Thrun said.
It’s an opportunity for those pondering a move or freshening up their existing house to see homebuilding trends in the area and connect with professionals.
Among the design touches evident in numerous parade homes are the use of decorative wood in the form of shiplap or beadboard.
“Almost every house has shiplap in some capacity in it this year,” Thrun said.
Rustic accents such as barnwood ceilings or exposed timbers are also being seen not only in custom homes, but also some built without a buyer already lined up, she added.
“People seem to want unique,” Thrun said. “There’s no such thing as the basic spec home anymore.”
Specializing in remodeling and building custom homes, Tews said customers have been interested in wood used tastefully.
“A lot of clients like timber framing, they like beaming in their homes,” he said.
A new home built by Tews on Eau Claire’s north side has exposed beams in the coffered ceiling of a living room that incorporated “minimalist” influences in its design.
“The client wanted the house to be easy living,” he said.
The five-bedroom, three-bathroom house includes subdued colors and simplistic architecture to create a relaxing environment.
Tews noted that buyers have been moving back toward more basic, plain interior colors such as grays after bolder hues were trendy several years ago.
Homes included in this year’s parade represent the work of 12 builders and the residential construction program at Chippewa Valley Technical College.
Most of the homes are in and around Eau Claire, but two are near Lake Wissota, one is in Lake Hallie and another is in rural Bloomer.
Several are in spots so newly built that Google Maps and GPS services have not yet been updated to include their locations. Maps to their locations are available through the CVHBA’s Parade of Home smartphone app, on paradeof homescv.com and in the free Home Inspirations magazine available at area Royal Credit Union locations and the CVHBA office, 4319 Jeffers Road.