THE FOREVER HOUSE

Old House Journal|July - August 2020

THE FOREVER HOUSE
A DIY couple help an already intact house embrace its age—and the new-old kitchen is an achievement!
REGINA COLE
A variant of the American Foursquare, with a large front-facing gable and Colonial Revival details, this 1912 house in St. Paul, Minnesota, became home for Rich and Shirley Erstad in 1998. “This was the only house we looked at with our agent,” Rich says, “the only house we’ve ever owned. It’s in a great location, just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, downtown St. Paul, or the airport. “On the day we took possession, I installed a shower ring and piping in the clawfoot bathtub,” he says. “The only water shutoff was the mainline. I stripped the threads on the old fittings while installing the valves, so we had no water until I could get a plumber over. Ah, the joys of an old house,” he chuckles. That inauspicious beginning turned into 22 years of caring for and restoring the 2100-square-foot house. The work culminated in a 2017 kitchen remodel that proved so successful, it won a prestigious Contractor of the Year (CotY) award for the builder, APEX Construction Management.

“We lived here for almost 20 years before we built the addition while raising three daughters, with only one bathroom,” Shirley Erstad explains. “When we were ready to start, we knew exactly what we wanted.” They rebuilt the rear of the house to make space for a first-floor bathroom and mudroom, accessible through a new sheltered porch with an entry from the yard, with a new laundry below.

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July - August 2020