KDM: Ten Chimneys is completely unexpected. A mentor of mine, who had been involved with the restoration of Ten Chimneys, told me about this museum while I was living in Washington. I was uncertain if I wanted to move...until I walked through the front door of this rambling white house and just, responded, to this whimsical place.
JCB: There is something very unique and quite magical about it…why do you think that is?
KDM: The Lunts created an unedited expression of their own personality. Ten Chimneys is a rare survival of an alternative aesthetic ~ a confident dismissal of accepted notions of taste or modernism. Though few of our visitors are familiar with the Lunts, they walk away from a tour inspired by Lynn and Alfred’s talent for living.
JCB: The grounds are so extensive, filled with charming outbuildings…a Scandinavian-style guest cottage, pool house, greenhouse, creamery, barn, stable! How in the world do you manage it all?
KDM: We are so fortunate to have the commitment of an outstanding community of volunteers. We have volunteers who tend the gardens, dust the furniture, mow the lawn, mop the floors – their dedication is just incredible. And this summer I worked with a remarkable group of Preservation Interns from the University of Wisconsin documenting the agricultural outbuildings.
Perhaps because I first cut my house museum teeth with the Historic Savannah Foundation, I view our sixty acres and ten historic structures as a small historic district. Each building and garden is integral to the design for living the Lunts’ created here. And, as the Kettle Moraine landscape of southeastern Wisconsin is increasingly bulldozed for strip malls, wider highways and suburban development, our preservation of the grounds will become increasingly important.
Later this week I will take you inside the house with the second part of KDM's interview, so stay tuned! (meanwhile...there are more photos here).