Fall 2015 Remodelers Showcase Guidebook Tells the Remodeling Stories from Four Families

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Having your home remodeled is a great way to create the spaces that fit your family better. But it can seem daunting and confusing. It doesn’t have to be. Hiring a professional remodeler, like those that participate in the Remodelers Showcase, will minimize stress and maximize satisfaction. The Fall 2015 Guidebook includes these stories (in words and photos) describing the remodeling experiences of four families whose homes are viewable on the tour.

The House on the Hill

Remodelers Showcase Home #R11


At the top of Broadway Street in historic Stillwater, sits a beautiful home overlooking the majestic St. Croix River. Built in 1875, its history is robust and flooded with memories that have been preserved throughout the years by the home’s various owners.

As the property changed hands through the years, so did the home’s blueprints. Before Trevor and Julie Cronk purchased the home in 2012 a series of odd expansions and additions had already been completed. Despite this, the property’s unique architecture remained intact. Trevor and Julie were drawn to the character of the home, especially the property’s most distinct features found on the upper floors.

Today, the home’s signature fourth-floor belfry tower provides ample views of the river, including the Stillwater Lift Bridge to the left and the new St. Croix Crossing bridge to the right. While the belfry provides just enough room to walk along its perimeter edges similar to a lighthouse, the third floor’s walkout rooftop patio offers even more relaxed views of the home’s stunning surroundings, not to mention endless space for entertaining. On a summer day you’ll find the family lounging around both of the roof deck fire pits watching paddleboats like the Andiamo pass by. You’re also likely to find Trevor wearing his Lift Bridge Brewing Co. baseball cap as he enjoys a cold beer from the Stillwater brewery he co-owns with four other neighbors.

This peaceful scene is possible through the renovations done by Wooden Dreams, Inc. that preserved the home and updated the space. The family of five “wanted to make the home ours, while keeping the integrity of the old home, and capitalizing on the unique river views,” Trevor explained. The outcome is simply magnificent. Their remodeler, Howard Theis at Wooden Dreams, reworked the floor plan to maximize space by creating “rooms we could actually use, with a natural traffic flow through each room,” Julie added.

During the remodel, the Cronks salvaged most of the items original to the house, including a marble fireplace and the sink and faucet from the original powder room. Both were relocated to different rooms; the sink and faucet to what is now the third floor bathroom. Salvaged beadboard wood from the attic lines the bathroom walls and Trevor had historic photos of the Stillwater Lift Bridge enlarged and converted into a custom wall covering.

Other vintage elements incorporated into the new space include barnwood accents and vintage lights from an antique store in town. Julie’s simple and classic style flows effortlessly throughout the rest of the home so that everything comes together in beautiful harmony. You’ll find Sophie, Maxwell and Ella playing games around the kitchen alcove or chasing their beloved pets, including their newest kitten Marvin Howard Cronk who was named after the home’s impressive Marvin Windows and, of course, their beloved remodeler Howard.

Joy and happiness exudes from this grateful family as an abundance of loving memories are created and will continue to be created at this iconic house on the hill.

A History of the House on the Hill

A shrewd businessman from Massachusetts, Socrates Nelson settled in Stillwater and bought the land in 1848. He opened the town’s first store and later became a politician, serving in the Minnesota State Senate from 1859 1860. Several other owners occupied the home until, in 1942, Miss Ethel Daugherty inherited the property. According to documents from the Washington County Historical Society she was an unmarried woman who earned her income teaching piano lessons in the home’s third floor; with recitals held in the parlor room on her grand piano. As Miss Daugherty grew in age, however, the home fell into disrepair. To neighborhood children it was even considered haunted at one point.

The Boyer Bunch

Remodelers Showcase Home #37


When Paul and Pam Boyer got married four years ago, their blended family was of Brady Bunch proportions. Paul had three boys, Pam had three girls, but their house hadn’t grown in size with them. More importantly, the house felt like Paul’s place since the girls moved into his ranch-style rambler in Deephaven. It was time for a renovation, and they were in good hands. It was going to be a family affair.

Paul is one of four owners at Boyer Building Corporation, a family business that dates back four generations to when Paul’s grandfather began the company in the 1930s. Today, Paul leads the company’s remodeling division serving as the team’s onsite carpenter and project supervisor.

Despite growing up in construction, Paul joked “the project proved to be much more difficult than if I was a normal customer.” That’s because he had to be contractor, project manager and carpenter all while working on his current jobs. Fortunately he was able to recruit his brothers’ help: older brother Pete drew up the plans while the others pitched in on the weekends.

The scope of the project was large and not many rooms went untouched. Paul added a powder room and master bedroom and bath to the main floor, plus an extra bedroom in the basement.
A stunning covered entry greets visitors at the front of the house, opening up to a spacious floor plan with central stairway and updated kitchen. “The layout is much more functional,” Paul explained, adding, “we have more space to accommodate our lives now, while still maintaining the rambler-style floor plan that will allow Pam and I to enjoy our home for many years to come.”

Pam appreciates the thoughtful design. A view of the home’s wooded backyard is visible all the way from the entryway to the kitchen, and the dark knotty Alder island is big enough for all of the kids to gather around. Contrasting white perimeter cabinets add to the kitchen’s trendsetting aesthetic.

More than anything, the home is now perfect for their expanded family. “We celebrated three graduations this year and threw one big party all at once,” Pam smiled. “Everyone got to see the house for the first time all together and it was a truly special moment.”

Three Peas in a Pod…And a Pig

Remodelers Showcase Home #48


If it’s true that your first year of marriage is the hardest, then newlyweds Claudia and Mike were up for the challenge. The pair didn’t wait long to start a major home renovation that centered around turning Claudia’s bachelorette pad into a place they could both call “our home.”

They started the process by calling Gary from Hansen Hometech, Claudia’s go-to remodeler. Gary helped Claudia renovate before, and had even transformed her Edina home into a test kitchen for her business, When the Mood is Food.

Mike is also in the food industry, though they didn’t know each other until a mutual friend set them up on a date. Immediately they hit it off, and were engaged less than nine months later. They compliment each other well: Claudia being a self proclaimed “intimidating” New Yorker personality compared to Mike’s calm and detailed demeanor. Throw Gary Hansen, a “construction problem solver,” into the mix and you’ve got three peas in a pod.

Hansen Hometech oversaw the expansive renovation, which involved transforming the kitchen, bathrooms and great room, all while following strict instructions to turn every room into a ‘Wow.’

Meanwhile, Mike and Claudia teamed up to create a cohesive plan for the home’s interior finishes. One major goal for the couple was to “make our home look like it was part of a master plan—not simply furniture that was an after thought,” he explained. For instance, the home’s walls were dark (painted bold colors like Roasted Red Pepper, Basil and Eggplant) so they settled on a more neutral color palette full of popular grays and blues. “For furniture, we would pick four or five vignettes and then would mix and match to create a space we both loved,” explained Claudia.

As for their relationship with Hansen Hometech, Claudia and Mike couldn’t be happier. “It’s important that even when the remodel is complete, the relationship isn’t over,” she smiled.

One other relationship was greatly improved by the remodel as well. Ms. Porkchop, Claudia’s potbelly pig (yes, you read that right!) is so happy with the results. While she spends much of her time on Claudia’s farm, Ms. Porkchop enjoys life in the city as well. “She does tricks, is highly intelligent, and she’s even housebroken,” Claudia laughed.

And Claudia and Mike’s relationship couldn’t be better either. But you know what they say … A couple that remodels together, stays together.

Bright White and Dazzling

Remodelers Showcase Home #R38


For as long as she could remember, Sandy Hanson has been dreaming of a white kitchen. There’s just something dazzling about that bright, crisp, clean look that she couldn’t resist.

Instead, for the last 35 years Sandy and her husband Kurt, empty nesters from Minnetonka, made do with an outdated and tired space complete with laminate counters and low hanging dark cabinets that left a 12-inch gap to the ceiling.

When it came time to replace many of their appliances last year, the couple knew that it was finally the right time to get the dream kitchen they’ve always wanted. They visited Crystal Kitchen Center’s showroom in Crystal to start getting ideas, but it didn’t take Sandy long to know what she wanted. “I knew right away that I still wanted a white kitchen,” smiled Sandy. ”A bright cheerful, fresh look with white cabinets that stretch all the way to the ceiling, and glass cabinets to display all of my beautiful decorative pieces.”

Crystal Kitchen Center made this dream a reality in just under six weeks. “They gave us a calendar of when things would be accomplished,” explained Kurt. “We had no delays. Crystal Kitchen Center was organized and on top of the job; they even finished a few days early,” Sandy added.

The final result is a gorgeous white kitchen and spacious layout that’s perfect for hosting their children and grandchildren. Another big bonus is the kitchen’s big center island, a feature their previous kitchen lacked. “The island changed everything for us,” said Kurt. “We love all the extra space it creates, plus it’s beautiful and functional.”

The glass cabinets are an elegant touch, and perfect for Sandy’s “above and beyond” approach to decorating for each holiday. “We are definitely the family home for all the holiday gatherings,” she explained. “I love decorating and especially love sharing our new space with others.” The decorative accents are sure to keep their kitchen fresh and colorful, with the ability for every decoration to truly pop amidst the gorgeous white backdrop. “After eight months in our new kitchen I still walk in and amazed. It’s our dream kitchen.”


The 2015 Fall Parade of Homes Remodelers Showcase is sponsored by Marvin Windows and Doors.