Old farm house gets transplanted, transformed

Posted by Samantha Haas on Monday, September 11th, 2017 at 12:00pm.

On a country road between Hwys. 73 and 89 in northeastern Dane County is a beautiful farm house looking for someone new to call it home.

Situated in a hill overlooking 17 acres of woods, fields, a creek, and multiple outbuildings, the property at 501 Muller Road in the town of York is sure to catch your eye -- especially with its gray exterior set off by a white wraparound porch and balcony.

But that's not what it looked like -- or where it was -- when it was built nearly a century ago.

Home sellers Dianna and Mike McMaster share their story of saving, relocating, and updating this special Sears kit house, which has "great bones" and tons of character.


Up until 2001, the house had been located on Egre Road in the town of Bristol. That's when a Sun Prairie builder that Dianna worked for planned to burn the whole estate to make room for a new subdivision.

Dianna (who lived in Mazomanie at the time) loved older farm houses, so she jumped on the opportunity to save it -- even though her husband wasn't sure what she saw in it. She had the vision; all she needed was a place to put it with enough land for her horses.

After one deal fell through for a flat 20 acres near York (between Sun Prairie, Columbus and Waterloo), the McMasters found out about a 17-acre plot closeby and immediately fell in love.

"The house was actually free, but moving it was quite expensive," Dianna said.

Hoisted atop I-beams on the back of a truck, the house was hauled a few towns over without going on or under Hwy. 151. The whole ordeal was documented in a photo captioned "Rolling real estate" in the October 17, 2001 edition of The Capital Times.

Remarkably, nothing was damaged during the drive that day. Dianna said even a bottle of water that was on the stove didn't move. She credits the house being constructed with actual 2x4s in the walls and a poured concrete foundation.

But with all of their planned renovations, it was 2002 before the McMasters actually moved in.


The most noticeable changes from the exterior were when the house was stripped of its white siding, as well as its front and back porch.

The main part of the house was set into the hill so the basement would lead into the two-car garage addition, which provides an entrance to the main floor.

They also added brick paths, landscaping, and the decks with east-facing views of the countryside, where the couple has watched many sunrises and storms roll in.

"Still can't get over the view," Dianna said. "We've loved it here."

They erected a second garage, which used to house their horses in the fenced-in pasture below, and a larger pole barn for hay and equipment. The property can easily accommodate livestock, and about 12 acres are tillable.

The McMasters no longer own horses, but they have plenty of visiting wildlife -- like turkeys, cranes, and the occasional deer.

"You go out there in the morning, and the birds are just nuts. I just like trying to figure out what are ya and where are ya," Mike said. "But in the spring there's a pond right across the road and the frogs are doing their little symphony down there; it's interesting."

Click here to check out photos of the interior updates and read about how it's changed over the years.

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