Historic homes fit for dreaming

Houses on the Newton tour are full of fanciful spaces

09/24/2012 11:05 AM

09/24/2012 11:05 AM

“Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved old things and old houses,” says Julie Quinlin, owner of an Italianate house in Newton dating back to the late 1800s that will be on a historic house tour Sunday.

Quinlin and her husband and 10-year-old son have lived in the Johnson House at 324 E. Third St. in Newton – the oldest one on the tour – for nine years, enjoying a rounded wall at the top of the stairs, a deep window seat, a sunny guest room wallpapered in yellow, a laundry room decorated in charming old things, and Julie’s favorite spot – a cozy morning room off the master bedroom.

Such fanciful spaces are the magical stuff of historic home tours. This is the second year for the tour in Newton’s McKinley Residential Historic District. (If you’re going to Newton for the tour from Wichita, take the First Street exit (Exit 31) off I-135 and go west. You’ll reach the historic district before you hit downtown.)

Three other houses will be on the tour, along with vintage cars on display, a raffle of several antique collectibles and an architectural-detail scavenger hunt with door prizes. Tickets are $10 and will be for sale during the tour at the McKinley Administration Center, 308 E. First St. in Newton.

Across the street from the Quinlins’ is another house on the tour, the Lander House, at 317 E. Third St. It’s a combination of a restored Queen Anne and a new addition that tries to be faithful to the old. It belongs to Peggy Souder and Nathan Dick, who have installed replacement windows that are historically accurate – and oh so much tighter than the old ones – along with new stained-glass windows designed by Dick and executed by Rayer’s Bearden Stained Glass in Wichita. Fleurs-de-lis decorate the windows, which spill butterscotch-colored light onto the front staircase in the afternoon.

The wall along the staircase has original raised and embossed wainscoting that’s in beautiful shape, and, to hide ductwork for a new addition below, a custom-built bookshelf at the end of the second-floor hall.

“We try to do things in a way that looks like it’s always been here,” Dick said.

That includes moving the garage to the backyard, settling it under stately old trees, and covering it with old barnwood from Severy to look like a cabin.

Across the street, Julie Quinlin loves watching what her neighbors have going on and dreaming of doing more with her own house, including putting a sunroom off her sunny guest bedroom one of these days.

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