Salvaging History

John and Carol Nagy took time and TLC to bring new life to a venerable Delafield home.



John and Carol Nagy bought this 1842 Delafield home after falling in love with the original stonework that Carol was adamant be saved and used throughout the design of the home. Subtle, modern uplighting enhances the historic feature.

Homes they admired on West Coast strolls helped the Nagys refine
their vision of the exterior of the home, from the roo lines and colors to the window styles and soffits. 


In 2008, John and Carol Nagy purchased a historic Delafield home intending to pursue a
historic remodel.

John, chairman and CEO of Spancrete, said Carol was very interested in the home, built in 1842 and overlooking Nagawicka Lake’s picturesque St. Johns Bay— neither of them knowing how much work the property would require.

The Nagys wanted to preserve as much of the 177-year-old home, once part of a property housing a local mill, as possible. But with several unpermitted additions, a defective 15-foot beam holding up the second floor, and multiple roofs built right atop the last, John knew the best solution would be to gut the house. “It was important to Carol that we kept the stone, maintaining the character and charm of that home and of that neighborhood,” John says. “A lot of that demo was done piece-by-piece and reclaimed by a company called Recyclean, Inc. They reclaimed as much of the house as they could so it could be reused in this home, as well as others.” 

Then the Nagys could begin realizing Carol’s vision for the home. 

“The stonework needed a lot of work,” John says. “We hired a mason [and] that one guy basically tuckpointed and rebuilt the walls to the original. .. It looks perfect. The house looks absolutely stunning.”

Though the stone was salvageable, the Nagys discovered that the rest of the structure was not.

“Once we got it pretty much torn apart and started doing some preliminary designs, we realized that utilizing the structure other than the stone, we couldn’t do it,” John recalls. “The multiple additions over the years had substantially ruined the integrity of the structure. At that point, we started redesigning, using the exact same footprint that was there.”

Salvaged stone lines the open-concept kitchen and dining room. An accent wall in the sitting area opposite the dining room and a wall in the office also utilize the historic material. Subtle, floor mounted uplighting draws attention to the design element, adding light and warmth into the remodeled space. 

The warm and welcoming living and sitting rooms feature large windows to showcase enviable lake views, and patio doors lead to a newly built deck.

An inviting foyer with staircase leads to the home’s second floor, where the master suite, laundry room, two additional bedrooms and a bathroom are housed. Though the basement is still a work in progress, it offers enough room for an additional bedroom and bathroom, plus a planned wet bar and living room
for entertaining.

 Overlooking tranquil Nagawicka Lake, this cozy living room beckons in all seasons. An adjacent patio enhances the summer season, while the crackling fireplace warms up winter months. Soft uplighting on the stones creates a peaceful ambiance, no matter the season or time of day.

The home’ s original layout was kept largely intact, allowing for an open concept kitchen, dining room and sitting area just outside of the living room

The home’ s original layout was kept largely intact, allowing for an open concept kitchen, dining room and sitting area just outside of the living room. 


This inviting master suite features a beautiful bathroom with a walk-in shower, as well as a separate patio overlooking the water.

 For the exterior aesthetic, the Nagys found inspiration in dw ellings they admired while on strolls in California, incorporating aspects of roof lines, soffits, windows and colors that captured their attention. The duo also demanded durable, energy-efficient and environmentally conscious construction.

The driveway, walkways and stairs are crafted from Spancrete RePlenish pervious 

concrete, a material that filters silt, fertilizer and other toxins, then runs the clean water back into the ground instead of the lake or sewer system. 

The result is a comfortable and welcoming modern showpiece that honors the home’s historic past and natural surroundings.

“We wanted to capture the essence of the older home while using Spancrete’s precast flooring systems, basement wall system and pervious paving, giving it a solid and efficient structure, today’s amenities, today’s lifestyle, all while keeping intact that history. That was my wife’s goal from day one. [Carol] would not tear that house down,” John says fondly. 

While the project took longer to complete than originally anticipated, the Nagys are proud of the finished product, and ecstatic that the team they assembled were able to bring their vision to life. But John stills give most of the credit for the beautiful result to his beautiful wife.

“I thank [Carol] for picking it out and forcing us to buy the house to begin with,” he muses. “It turned out to be a spectacular home. I know the new homeowners are very happy, and I think they’ll be happy for
many years.” MKE