Mary Nohl house in Fox Point to be restored

Sept. 28, 2015

Fox Point — Mary Nohl's lakeside cottage is not only staying in Fox Point - it's being restored for a new tenant.

Nohl, who passed away 14 years ago, was best known for the imaginative sculptures in her yard at 7328 N. Beach Road. Neighbors have opposed plans to allow limited public access on the site, which caused the John Michael Kohler Arts Center to consider relocating the Mary Nohl Art Environment to Sheboygan County last year. Those relocation plans were later abandoned because the relocation could have damaged Nohl's artwork.

With public access no longer being considered, the Nohl house is being restored in its existing location for a new tenant.

To restore the building to its original condition, a detailed renovation plan has been crafted by Creation and Preservation Partners, an affiliate of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

The renovation plan was recently approved by the Fox Point Building Board and Historical Preservation Commission. Construction is expected to start in the coming weeks.

It has been at least five years since someone lived in the Nohl house on Beach Road. Major flooding in July 2010 damaged the foundation and flooring, said Lynn Lucius, a consultant working on behalf of Creation and Preservation Partners. Because the foundation has settled 6 to 8 inches on one side, a new crawlspace will be built to create a level foundation. The organization will also need to purchase a new water heater, furnace and electrical panel as a result of the flood damage.

The house will also be repainted, and the roof will be redone. The wooden art pieces on the exterior of the house have been removed for restoration, and will be returned to the house in the future. Some doors will be repaired, and the steel windows will be replaced. Several diseased trees have been cut down.

Lucius said she hopes the restoration project will be wrapped up in the summer of 2016. The intent of the restoration process is to preserve the environment as Nohl experienced it during her lifetime.

"So many decisions had to be made about restoring her environment," Lucius said. "We are proceeding very methodically to make sure this is an aesthetically respectful process."

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