Turning a farmhouse into a home

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For the past 13 years, John Walch has poured much of his sweat and time into restoring a Port Washington farmhouse that he, his wife and his three sons call home.

When Walch and his family bought the 113-year-old farmhouse, which sits on six acres, it was “in pretty rough shape,” Walch said. But project by project, the family, its architect and its team of contractors have modified the home to fit the 21st Century.

Much of Walch’s vision for the house has focused on augmenting its period charm while modernizing it and transforming its rooms into livable spaces.

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“I think most old houses are worth saving because, to me, there’s a charm in them,” Walch said. “And some of the craftsmanship and some of the ways they were built – they don’t build houses that way anymore.”

Along with attaching a three-story addition to the farmhouse, doubling its size to about 2,800 square feet, the Walch family has renovated the kitchen twice, gutted more than one bathroom and rebuilt the front porch.

After hundreds of hours spent in construction mode, the family has reached the end of their renovations…hopefully, Walch said.

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Walch now has a new building project to occupy his time as he expands Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza with a second location at the Bayshore Town Center in Glendale. He opened the restaurant’s first Wisconsin franchise in Brookfield last year.

“I like to build things,” Walch said. “I like to take something and create something new out of it, whether it’s the house or whether it’s a business. I really enjoy that process of taking something that was nothing and building it. I just find great satisfaction to be able to see the tangible results of your work.”

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