CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) People in Cape Girardeau call it a striking sight, a home known as the Boat House. Heartland News learned it's a home filled with memories and love for the families who've called the steam boat like vessel, home. It's one of six featured this Saturday the 14th on the Home Tour sponsored by the Lutheran Family and Children's Services. Money raised from the tour goes to benefit services for adoption and elderly programs.
Like every home on the tour, Boat House owners and former owners say beyond design the residence holds the true meaning of foundations of strong families.
"Every single memory between the Erlbacher and Blattner clan involves this house," said Tracy Blattner. She explained her husband's grandfather, Ed Erlbacher built the house in 1941.
Erlbacher lived there with his wife, Grace. Many feel the home mirrors the image of a river boat like the ones found on the Mississippi.
"It was really just built to fit the property and the architect that built it he loved round corners," said Blattner. "It has so many round windows and corners and neat features. If you've lived in Cape you know it as the Boat House."
Tracy Blattner says the home was passed down through her husband's family since Erlbacher built it. For ten years she watched her own children grow up here. Eventually they decided to consider selling, but letting it go meant finding a special owner
"It was really important for us to find a family that would understand the family dynamics and that was full of life and would take good care of it," said Blattner.
Blattner says when they met Dr. Paul and Dawn Caruso a scenario unfolded that just seemed meant to be.
"We felt like the Caruso family was a perfect match," said Blattner. "Within minutes the house was full of life."
"The house fits my husbands and my personality perfectly," said Dawn Caruso.
It's not just their personality, however according to them that makes the house perfect. They have 8 children. Seven came to them through foster care or private adoption.
"It's a cause that means to much to us," said Dawn Caruso.
"We love being across the street from the park," said Paul Caruso. "We use all the space. It's designed well so it's easy to live in and flows well with all the kids."
Besides providing room for the kids, Dawn Caruso immediately wanted to restore the home to it's original splendor.
"With the help of Life-Style Design Paul and I figured out what the original design was which is Hollywood Glamour and we have just gone through the whole house trying to replicate that. We use old drawings of the home to do that."
As the puzzle came together the families simply decided to simply switch houses. The Blattner family discovered the former Caruso home was perfect for them.
"We walked in and just realized it was made for us," said Blattner. "We will be there til the nursing home," she laughed. "It was just a real special way that it all fell into place."
Now both homes are featured on the Lutheran Family and Children's Services Home Tour. Since the cause benefits adoption, for the Caruso family with a passion for giving children forever homes, and the Blattner family who also feels family is everything ... they hope you will feel the love with in each homes walls ... just as much as you can appreciate the beauty on the outside.