Sometimes finding a house, like finding love, is instinctive. Something tells you you’ve found “the one.” That’s how Lori Stueber felt when she first walked into her future dream house.
Stueber, an empty nester, wanted to downsize. She’d spent three years searching for a smaller house. To her delight, the home that ultimately suited her best was just five blocks from where she’d been living, in a friendly neighborhood she likes.
The house on Morningview Drive charmed Stueber with its retro atmosphere. “I saw it and I came in and I loved it. You know it when you see it,” she said. “I came into the house and something sang to me.”
Built in 1968, the ranch-style house needed repairs and updates. When Stueber bought it, the house retained many of its original built-ins and fixtures, including vintage pink and blue bathroom sinks and toilets. Stueber set out to give the house fresh style while preserving its mid-century coziness and charm.
“I liked the layout. It felt kind of whimsical. It was cozy,” she said.
Stueber hired Janice Hrachovec of Dream Concepts LLC in Rapid City to help her redesign, repair and revive the house. Renovations to the main floor and the basement started in November 2015 and took about a year.
Under Hrachovec’s guidance, the house was largely gutted but kept the basic floor plan Stueber liked, with a staircase separating the kitchen from the living/dining room. “It hit the right balance of openness and intimacy for me,” Stueber said.
The main floor was modified so everything Stueber needs is conveniently on one level. The laundry room was relocated from the basement, and a main floor bedroom was transformed into a new laundry room and a guest bathroom. Downstairs, the basement was remodeled into a family room, bedrooms and a bathroom to accommodate guests. The house now has four bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Stueber’s overall goal was to infuse her house with classic, timeless style. Upstairs and down, Stueber chose a crisp taupe-gray and white color scheme, cherry and glazed painted maple cabinets, neutral flooring — and a bit of sparkle. Drawing inspiration from magazines as well as her job at Perdue Woodworks, Stueber calls her home’s style eclectic “retro glam.”
“Lori had an idea of what she wanted the house to look like. She knew what she liked,” Hrachovec said. “She has a real elegant flair about her furnishings, so she likes some softness but she likes clean lines.”
Stueber preserved one distinctive design element from the 1960s that she loved — shutters set in the wall along the staircase on the main floor. When open, the shutters offer a glimpse of the living room from the kitchen or entryway.
The jewel of the home’s makeover is the living room fireplace and built-in bookcases, which were transformed into a work of art. The original fireplace stuck out about four feet into the living room and sat between dark, store-bought shelves, Hrachovec said.
Hrachovec designed a set-in fireplace surrounded by travertine stone. The fireplace is flanked by lighted shelving created by furniture designer Greg Radley of Radley Enterprises.
“I wanted those shelves to pop, so we decided to do a panel of polycarbonate in back lined with LED lighting,” Hrachovec said.
The shelves now are a decidedly glamorous place for Stueber to showcase her favorite art and collectibles.
“The fireplace is my favorite,” Hrachovec said. “Whenever I walk in this house, I feel a sense of warmth and well-being.”
Glass doors nears the fireplace offer a view of the backyard, where the renovations continued. An aging swimming pool proved to be unsafe and beyond salvaging, Stueber said, so she hired a company to take out the pool. In the process, Stueber discovered she needed a new sewer line, and she had five trees removed.
Without the pool and trees, the yard was a blank slate. UpperCrust Landscape Co. transformed Stueber’s backyard with landscaping, a patio and deck she can access from her living room. In place of the pool, Stueber now has a spacious lawn, plus space for outdoor dining and entertaining.
Though Stueber is still putting finishing touches on her home’s exterior and her basement, she’s thrilled with the way her mid-century “retro glam” house has come to life.
“I love my house. I look forward to coming home and opening the door and stepping into it because it makes me happy,” she said.