Tour of Homes

Published 9:45 am Saturday, September 22, 2012

Graphic by Kathy Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

The Albert Lea branch of the American Association of University Women has again planned the Tour of Homes.

The tour is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for one or $25 for two. Proceeds from the tour go to the AAUW’s scholarship fund.

Tickets can be purchased at Ben’s Floral & Frame Designs, Celebrations Party & Gifts, Addie’s Floral & Gifts, Hy-Vee, and Thorne Crest Retirement Community.

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The following are descriptions of each home on the tour:


Bill and Jane Buege

The home of Bill and Jane Buege at 219 Ridge Road.

219 Ridge Road, Albert Lea

The Bill and Jane Buege home sits on Ridge Road with a view overlooking their backyard and Fountain Lake. The Bueges moved into their home in 1984 after living in Erie, Penn., for several years. The Colonial style influence from our Eastern states can be seen throughout their home.

Upon entering, you see the Colonial architecture and furniture right away. Notice the octagon window; it not only adds light but also character to this room. Bill’s den is next to the entry. The big roll top desk and wall of bookcases make a quiet place for study and reading. The cozy couch, deep cranberry walls and nice stove keep the room warm through any Minnesota winter day. A Canadian goose hangs from the vaulted ceiling.

White woodwork and soft greens in the hallway and living room present a welcoming atmosphere. The fireplace wall and mantel of Colonial white woodwork are the focus in the living room. In the corner sits a painted screen by Joan Mansmith, who was from New Richland. The screen’s paintings were inspired by Grandma Moses pictures that Mansmith found and gave to the artist. Many antiques from both families grace the room.

The dining room and kitchen were enlarged by adding four feet to the south side of the house. This made space in the dining room for family gatherings for holidays and summer reunions. The chandelier over the dining table had been in Jane’s childhood home in Stillwater.

The large kitchen has lots of white cabinets, deep cranberry walls and a maple wood floor. The whole area invites family and friends in to enjoy the kitchen. Jane and Bill use their porch off the kitchen for a summer family room. Right outside is a large brick patio that Bill and their son Brad built. It’s another spot to enjoy the lake view.

Upstairs, four bedrooms and two baths are cozy and full of personal touches. Family pictures are above the spoon carved chest. Three of the bedrooms face the lake. The master bedroom opens up to an outside porch.

Pictures of grandparents, children and their children are all through the house. It’s a comfortable, welcoming and happy place to call home.


Al Doubek

2201 Stevens Street, Unit 112, Albert Lea

Al Doubek moved to Albert Lea seven years ago when The Village Cooperative was brand new. Doubek was one of the first owners in the building. He chose to have an open floor plan with the kitchen, dining room and living room all in one open, airy space. The result is a very efficient use of space.

He has a formal living and dining area, a comfortable den and even a “man cave.” Doubek and his wife, Ivy, had been long-time collectors of beautiful antiques. Their love of clocks, silver, cranberry glass and Royal Doulton is everywhere along with beautiful paintings to make a charming and interesting home.

Doubek’s first clock, found in pieces, now sits on a shelf in his den. His clock collection includes porcelain, many walnut, a large grandfather clock and two rare Hummel figure clocks. There is even a wooden school clock in the laundry room. The Hummel clocks are featured in a glass cabinet along with part of Ivy’s gorgeous cranberry glass collection. A large collection of Royal Dalton porcelain dolls grace the dining room area.

The Village Cooperative, 2201 Stevens St., Albert Lea.

Doubek chose his unit to face Goose Lake. The huge panoramic windows near the dining table give a view of the lake and its surrounding wild life. Guests can look out and feel like they are far away in the countryside.

The master bedroom is used for Doubek’s den. Creatively thinking, he made the huge walk-in closet (one of two) into his man cave. Computer, TV, desk, walls lined with family photos make this space a hide-away any man would want for his own.

The kitchen is well equipped for a person who likes to cook. The second walk-in closet holds kitchen equipment. The many cupboards are lighted both underneath and on top to display his collection of chickens which include chicken Watts ware pottery cookie jars. Using antique chicken coop windows with their original red paint scrubbed clean, he placed his chickens along side them to make a handsome vignette. The kitchen work space has plenty of room on the large island for preparing and serving his dishes. In every nook there are antiques that make a charming and welcoming home.


Joan Slen

2201 Stevens Street, Unit 205, Albert Lea

Joan Slen has made her home at The Village Cooperative into a gracious place to entertain a large group of friends. At the same time, Slen’s home is cozy and comfortable. She chose a unit with the living space open and divided it into three distinct areas for living and dining.

The living room is divided into two areas. Each is spacious. Bookshelves line the wall in the sunny room ready to invite reading. Slen’s book collection covers art, history, the classics and best sellers. The shelves also hold sculptures, vases and family pictures. The paintings were bought through the years from local artists: Barb Butler, Barb Ponto and Stu Botten. Slen has also used prints and mirrors framed with ornate fillagree gold to simple wood or brass frames to create a charming setting.

The dining area has a large hutch to display some of her rabbit collection and an Italian glass top table with large rush chairs for entertaining. Another Stu Botten painting of fruit hangs over the dining table.

Her master bedroom is a cozy place to read in the wing back chair. Family pictures line the walls. Her walk-in closet and spacious bathroom give her plenty of storage. Slen chose deep, rich colors for the two bedrooms. Notice the raspberry parfait walls and the deep forest green in both bedrooms. Because the home has wide, tall windows the living spaces have plenty of sunlight.

The second bedroom has more local artist’s paintings: Beth Tostenson, Harlan Bang and Barb Butler. The hide-a-way bed and flat top table make a great office that becomes a guest bedroom when family comes to visit.

Throughout Slen’s home you will see her rabbits, books, paintings, sculpture and touches of French and Chinese art. It adds up to a life-long collection rich in art and an appreciation of beauty.


Joe & Katherine Pacovsky

The Czech Inn

The Czech Inn at 19158 800th Ave., Hayward.

19158 800th Ave., Hayward

In the countryside south of Hayward, is a brand new bed and breakfast: The Czech Inn. Katherine and Joe Pacovsky have built a beautiful Mission style home. Joe wanted to return to his boyhood area and farm. Katherine wanted people to be around, so their solution was to build a bed and breakfast outside Hayward.

Their home sits in a grove of trees. A beautiful new sign at their driveway tells you The Czech Inn B & B is down the road. A big porch across the front of the house greets you.

Entering the Mission-style house notice the detailed glass windows in the front door and the Mission-style rug in the entryway. Throughout the home you will see the Mission style in the light fixtures, the furniture and the architecture.

A sitting room with comfortable Stickley furniture is where guests are treated to refreshments in the afternoons. The breakfast room is adjacent and has a long table with a church pew running along its side. The pew is from their church in Marshfield, Wis. A Mission-style chandelier lights the room where Katherine serves breakfasts.

Five guest bedrooms are all name to feature something special in each room. The Czech Bedroom has beautiful quilts and the Library Bedroom has an antique oak card catalogue made into a bedside table. Many of the handmade quilts were gifts from friends and a co-worker from The Calico Hutch quilt shop in Hayward. Each bedroom has its own bathroom with heated tile floors.

The Retreat Room on the first floor is the star of the rooms. It has everything: a kitchen, equipment for a quilting weekend, meeting facilities and family reunion space. Just past the large glass doors is a lovely patio landscaped with banks of bright petunias. A chef’s grill and several patio tables and chairs are where guests can grill and have dinner, or just relax and take in the pastoral scene.


Tony and Julie Johnson

205 Ridge Road, Albert Lea

Tony and Julie Johnson’s home, 205 Ridge Road, Albert Lea.

Tony and Julie Johnson’s home is a two-story home with traditional Pennsylvania Dutch styling outside with a completely new inside. The Johnson’s busiest room is the kitchen that opens to the family room. Beautiful soft cream colored cabinets give the family storage galore. Every space has been carefully planned to create lots of cupboards, drawers and bookshelves. The overhead lighting gives each room soft, good light. The spacious kitchen island has storage on both sides under the granite table top. New wood floors on the main floor flow from room to room.

Next is the family room with large overstuffed furniture in deep red, toupe, browns and cream. Soothing colors in an open room banked with large windows to see the landscaped yard. Right outside the door is a spacious deck that the Johnsons designed. Tony and his father built the deck using limestone columns to blend with the architecture of the house. This area with patio table and chairs, bright flower pots overlooks the colorful perennial garden and large backyard.

The Johnson’s dining and living rooms are used for family gatherings on holidays and special occasions. Here again is more storage, beautiful lighting and comfortable furniture.

Upstairs the children’s personalities shine. Rachel’s room in all “girly-girl” pinks is perfect. Two closets with cubbies and bins to hold her treasures keep this room easy to keep tidy: a feature every mom loves.

Sam’s room is Minnesota Wild! The bold colors of our Minnesota hockey team are just right for a young man. Notice the picture of the Wild’s locker room with Sam’s jersey hung along side all the players’ jerseys. Here too is lots of storage.

Down the hallway is the master suite. It was remodeled many years ago. The luxurious spa bathroom was remodeled with a soothing jacuzzi tub, a shower and long, lighted vanity. The master bedroom has traditional walnut furniture and of course, a wall of closets.

Every part of this house has been well thought out. Family living, open spaces for entertaining with a stereo system and lighting at your fingertips all add up to a lovely, well appointed home for a busy, active family to enjoy.