Past & Present


Photographs by Martha Busse

From the screen of their home computer in Maryland, a lakefront Tudor Revival on Madison’s east side appeared to be the dream home Pam and Michael Druhan were hoping to find.

It was January 2004 and the pair would soon be relocating to Madison. They flew out to see the historic home in person but were dismayed with what they encountered: an outdated kitchen, a bad electrical system, old plumbing, duct-taped carpet.

But Pam could see potential in the house and admired its character.

The house was indeed historic. Architect Alfred Clas built it for his friend Adolf Kannenberg in 1930, modeling it after his own home in Milwaukee. Kannenberg died in the 1940s but his second wife, Edna, stayed until 2003.

When the Druhans moved in, they wanted to remodel the home but maintain historical aspects. Relying on a single photo taken by the architect in 1935, they worked with TDS Custom Construction from summer 2004 to spring 2005, rehabbing the house but refinishing original wood floors and reusing windows and lumber whenever possible.

The couple’s preservation efforts garnered them accolades from the Madison Society for Historic Preservation and the Attic Angel Association. But the house was also awarded Green Built Home status—becoming the first historic home to receive the environmentally friendly designation, Michael says.

“When we were going to put the house back together, we thought why not do it in a responsible way,” he adds.

Increasing energy efficiency was an important goal for the Druhans. Simply installing modern insulation—in place of the newspapers they found behind several walls—made a tremendous difference, as did adding a hot-water boiler in the basement, which forces warm air into other rooms. The system keeps the couple comfortable, even during frigid Wisconsin winters with ferocious lake winds.

“On a sunny, still day we don’t need the heater,” Michael says. “It’s sixty-five degrees when it’s fifteen degrees outside.”

In choosing décor, Pam and Michael took inspiration from the house’s architecture as well as their love of the southwest, two seemingly dissimilar styles that actually merge quite nicely. “Much of Deco came from American Indian and Egyptian influences,” he says.

Wendy Moore Skinner of Moore Designs helped them work Art Deco elements into their furnishings, especially on the home’s first floor. In the light-filled living room, a striped sofa, blue-print loveseat and painting of bold red flowers offset white walls and a limestone fireplace.

The kitchen combines sunny yellow walls with white cabinetry and wall tiles with a country motif. Pam has professional training in cooking and took special care to refurbish the kitchen. “She is so thrilled with it,” Michael says.

However, the Druhans’ favorite spot is what they call the “lake room,” an airy space oriented toward windows overlooking the backyard and Lake Mendota. Featuring a small yellow sofa, a table and chairs, and telescope, this is the place the couple retire to for relaxed meals and nature-watching.

“We are here just about every night of the week,” Michael says. “We rate the sunsets.”

The second story also provides a prime perch for enjoying outdoor views. A loft-like lounging area—home to the couple’s parrot, Clyde—includes windows and a door that opens to a balcony.

The master bedroom also boasts lake views, plus a cozy window seat and fireplace. A wrought-iron bed, Southwest-patterned pillows and artwork from New Mexico reveal the Druhans’ penchant for Santa Fe style.

When they consider how the house marries historic charm with modern comfort, Pam and Michael believe they’ve achieved better than the best of both worlds.

“It’s everything of all worlds,” he says.

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

Madison Magazine - November 2008
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