Last Saturday, while visiting southwestern Wisconsin, I toured a historical home, the Villa Louis. It’s the estate of the Dousmans, a well-to-do settler family in the Prairie du Chien region.
Much of my interest, as you might expect, was in the woodwork of the house, of which 90 percent of the original remains. The mahogany and walnut paneling, furniture and moldings, veneer and inlays were all handmade to exacting detail. It was truly a pleasure to behold.
One young woman, who was part of the tour group, wondered out loud about the expense for the quality of work. I offered her my opinion that regardless of the era, exceptional craftsmanship has always demanded top dollar and that this work was no exception. That the family was wealthy enough to support such craftsmanship was impressive in their time and remains so today.
Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal
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