Overview

17

Owner

John and Jean (Baker) Sproatt

Address

901 Park St Decorah, IA 52101

Year Built

1957

Architectural Style

Midcentury Modern Ranch

Modern style ranch home with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, constructed in 1957 for the Sproatt family. Jann Sproatt Klaas grew up in the home and remembers the architect as Roger Olson, who was associated with Charles Altfillisch at the time and was a personal friend of the family. Olson joined the Altfillisch firm as an architectural draftsman in 1948 and became a principal architect in 1958. The builder of the home was Sverre Svenson, Klaas recalls. She remembers the front entrance hallway was limestone from the Winona, MN, area, and both fireplaces were rough-cut limestone. Other hallways had cork floors. Tongue and groove Sycamore paneling lined much of the first level, including hallways, living and dining rooms and the living room ceiling. LIving room beams were large Sycamore logs. Downstairs paneling was walnut tongue and groove, and closets, including a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, were cedar lined. Exterior of the home was redwood. A third garage was added by a later owner, Klaas believes. She explained that her father was in the lumber brokerage business and would purchase car loads of west coast lumber, some of which was used in the Park Street home. She also noted that Charles and Lela Altfillisch were close friends of her grandparents, Ruth and Russell Baker, and that her mother, Jean Baker Sproatt, was best friends with the Altfillisch’s daughter Gretchen.

Subsequent owners John and Llew Jenkins removed but saved the walnut herringbone flooring from the dining room. The Jenkins have introduced Midcentury Modern furniture in the house, most notably in the house’s distinctive, well-preserved living room. In 2019, the Jenkins carefully restored the original kitchen cabinets and added an additional section of cabinets just then being removed from another contemporary Decorah Altfillisch house. The Jenkins also designed a striking two-story rear patio that uses contemporary materials and a contemporary design palette, but which beautifully complements the home’s original rear-yard angularity.

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