The present Executive Residence in Maple Bluff was designed by architect Frank Riley for Madison industrialist Carl A. Johnson. Construction began in 1921 but was halted for several years after the death of Johnson's wife. The home was completed in 1928 and purchased by Thomas R. Hefty, a Madison banker, five years later. In 1949 Hefty sold the house to the State for $47,500 although it was assessed for $200,000 at that time.
Recognizing the need for remodeling, the State Legislature appropriated $249,000 for modernization in 1965. The following year the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation was established to accept donations, furnishings, and art for the Residence. Monies and materials received through this Foundation are central to restoration and preservation efforts.
Governor Walker is the 14th governor to live here. The Governor and Tonette have two children, Matthew and Alex.
The house consists of 34 rooms, including 7 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and 7 fireplaces and has 16,000 square feet of living space, not including the lower level. The home is extremely well built with walls 12 to 18 inches thick, and the wrought iron fence on the street side of the property originally surrounded the old State Capitol building.
The Executive Residence is staffed by eight employees to conduct household duties, as well as maintenance, office, gardening and security work.