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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
Healthy living noteables
Our Old House
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About this blog
By Valerie Brandt
I was born and raised a farm girl in rural Minnesota where I met and married the adoration of my lifetime! Our family currently lives in a rural community in Iowa where we frequently trade stories with the family \x34back home\x34 of the likeness ...
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A Healthy Dose of Spice
I was born and raised a farm girl in rural Minnesota where I met and married the adoration of my lifetime! Our family currently lives in a rural community in Iowa where we frequently trade stories with the family \x34back home\x34 of the likeness and differences of the slower life from one state to the next. My husband and I own our own business where we provide for our three growing daughters who are the light of our world. Writing has always been an outlet for me, starting a diary as young as 4th grade and continuing for each of my daughters currently. Writing clears my mind and my heart of things that I would rather say but don't (due to my impeccable manners) or did say and wished I hadn't (sometimes those manners fail). I am clearly outspoken and am working on being filled with grace and compassion. In my spare time my family and I enjoy reading, biking and cooking. We do NOT enjoy cold snowy weather.
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By Valerie Brandt
June 26, 2013 9:03 a.m.



I live in an old house.  I wanted it that way.  Old homes have character, charm and sometimes bats (ours has recently had one flying around our livingroom).  Old homes also have issues that need to be dealt with.  We purchased our Craftsman Bungalow in 2004.  We were told that the house was built in 1912.  It is gorgeous!  Lots of generous woodwork, built-in bookcases and an open staircase!  It encased everything I had ever wanted in a home.  It also had a remodeled kitchen from 1962, and it looked like it!  In my home the woodwork is all antique pine stained reddish brown.  The kitchen was honey brown and the cabinetry was cheap particle-board type wood.  The walls were panelled and THEN covered with wall paper.  It was hideous.  So, after we had lived in the house about 2 years I started demolishing.  I would rip up sections of the white and gray dirty linoleum to see what was underneath.  (Subfloor was underneath).  Then I removed doors off of some of the cupboards to give it a more "open" feel.  Then my husband stained the cabinets ebony.  It was gorgeous, for about a year and then I was still unhappy.  The kitchen didn't "match" the rest of the house and since we had opened up the wall between the diningroom and kitchen, now the difference was glaring.  I finally called in the professionals last Spring to design a kitchen for us, and now we have a gorgeous kitchen that "matches" in style and materials.  Since the cupboards are ivory (too much reddish wood would make the house feel heavy) we went with dark reddish wood floors.  The countertops are dark brown too to give an overall match to the house.  We replaced the windows (two of them) with windows that "matched" the rest of the house (double-hung instead of swing out).  We added a door at the end of the kitchen that there was orinally a door and back porch.  The deck will be done this summer so we can use the door.  I ordered the door in the back to match the door in the front (which is original).  It wasn't cheap but it is worth it!  My house makes sense again!

Other areas we will be working on for the next 15 years we live here...

Wiring (some rooms still have original wiring and it seems to me that is a little dangerous in Our Old House).

Bathrooms (another quickly done remodel leaves me feeling less than thrilled about using the commode).

My resources?  I ordered three books off of Amazon.com.  Both referenced Bungalow kitchens.  They gave great ideas that I used in the planning of my kitchen, but one book gave a great overall of the style of bungalows.  I have continued to use that book to decorate, and plan the next project (including the deck). 

My abstract for my home!  Just yesterday I was looking through it again and realized that the property was just land until 1916, which means our house is NOT 101 years old but 97 years old.  I will be calling the local assessor to verify that information today.

The internet!  Because my house is a bungalow, it was fairly common to use a blueprint from Sears, Co.  So, I am in the process of looking for my homes blueprints online.  I would love to be able to frame them (even though they are a reprint).

Finally, Craigslist.  I found a once-built-in hutch online yesterday in a city close to us that is for sale.  It would fit perfectly in our diningroom so I am in the process of convincing Dear Husband how much we "need" this.  I don't want my home decorated with Wal-mart/Target/Slumberland furniture.  I want antique, well made, usable furniture.  Even with kids.  You'd be surprised how well antiques hold up to kids shinanigans.

My home is an extension of my family and me.  It isn't just a structure but a place where memories are made.  I hope that you feel the same way about yours!

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