Fayette home tour #5: Winzeler house

Written by David Green.

tour.winzelerBy DAVID GREEN

John Winzeler isn't sure if it was him or his wife, Eunice, who came up with the idea. There was an incident in their lives about four years ago that left John thinking that he might go to Toledo and buy a BMW to drive around.

"One of us said, 'Why don't we build a house instead?'" John said, and the planning began.

John says he had little input in the project. It was Eunice and their two daughters who got to work on the design that incorporates plenty of open space and lots of windows. Lange Custom Builders of Archbold was hired to build the structure and for Eunice, it was a thrill to watch her drawings move from paper to the real thing. In 2009 the Winzelers moved in.

Their new home was built next to the house where they had lived the past 40 years, just down the road from the Zone School where John served as principal for many years. With the new home in place, John disassembled the old home board by board. Some of that old house is now built into the new.

The home features hickory flooring and cherry cabinets in the kitchen and living room. There's oak woodwork throughout the home and plenty of closet space.

An open design connects the kitchen, living room and sun room. There are two bathrooms, a large laundry room, an office and a cloak room on the main floor. Upstairs, with separate heating and cooling systems, are two bedrooms and a bathroom. Most rooms in the house feature a two-tone painting scheme, sometimes subtle and sometimes stark.

A full basement includes a wood-burning fireplace and two entrance stairways: one from the main floor and one from the garage. Some basement rooms include recycled cedar siding and wood paneling from the Winzelers' old house. There are also two classroom doors and banisters from the former Zone School.

Two of the windowless bathrooms include solar tube lighting—a system that collects more light than a skylight.

"It's really surprising how much light they bring in," John said.

The exterior walls look very much like wood, but it's actually cement board siding. The Winzelers didn't want vinyl or metal, and they expect fewer maintenance needs than with wood siding.

There's one word John uses to describe his art collection—eclectic—and that diverse interest is evident from the moment a visitor enters the front door. There's art everywhere. It's a house, but it's also a gallery.

There are collections of soapstone, ivory, bronze and wood carvings from their travels. There are paintings, prints and stitchery from both far-away artists and from local ones including Ann Schang, Bev Biddix and Barb Bruggeman.

"It's kind of a bargain basement collection," John said. He's always picking up interesting items from estate sales and his son, Kim, occasionally brings in quality art from visits to Goodwill stores.

John says he's always impressed with the time people put into creating a piece, particularly wood carvings which he has dabbled in himself.

"I can't walk past things like that," he said.

Now that the Winzelers have been in their new home for three and a half years, they occasionally are asked how they might have done things differently and what they want to change. 

Eunice's answer is always the same: "Not a thing."

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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