Couple returns to area,
builds new home in Eden Lake


Kevin and Pat Rausch returned to the Paynesville area and built a new walkout rambler near South Browns Lake in Eden Lake Township. The couple moved to Glencoe in July 2000 before returning to this area, moving into their new home in November 2005. Their house is four miles to Eden Valley, six to Richmond, and ten to Paynesville.

Kevin and Pat Rausch chose oak woodwork for their new home, earth-tone paints, beige formica with a beveled wood edge in the kitchen, and white kitchen appliances with brushed nickel accents. Their kitchen also includes a appliance garage in the corner that hids a television set, and it also has a walk-in pantry (not shown).

This center staircase greets visitors upon entering the Rausch's new home. With the formal living room and breakfast nook on the other side, the staircase leads to the full basement with a 45-degree turn.

Dining room
The formal dining room gives them plenty of room to entertain. Having lived in bi-level homes, they wanted an open center core.

Eating area
The Rausches feel fortunate that the views from the windows of their new home center on the trees in their yard, with only glimpses of Highway 22 turning north. A deck is planned to be built off the breakfast nook from the sliding-glass door.

By Michael Jacobson
After their youngest son graduated from high school in 2004, Kevin and Pat Rausch began planning their return to Paynesville. Kevin had returned to working at the AMPI plant in Paynesville in 2003, but they had stayed in Glencoe until their son Kyle graduated.

First, they were looking to buy a house and then they decided to build a new home, but they had a difficult time finding an available lot.

Both raised on farms north of Richmond, with their parents now living in Richmond, they would take Highway 22 from Glencoe to Richmond to visit, when they saw a development on South Browns Lake in Eden Lake Township with four lots left. One of the available lots not only had the most trees but a natural grade for a walkout rambler.

"We were looking for the right lay of the land to build a rambler with a walkout," said Kevin. "That's what we wanted."

Neighbors had looked at the lot, they learned later, and weren't sure how to build on it. Ironically, they looked at it and thought right away that it was perfect. They did have to change their walkout design from the back to the side due to the lay of the land, but otherwise it was perfect.

They purchased the lot just after Labor Day in 2004 and then worked on designing their new home as the property sat for the winter.

The Rausches moved to Glencoe in July 2000 when AMPI purchased a plant there after living in Paynesville for 20 years. Kevin returned to work at the AMPI plant in Paynesville in 2003, now as field service supervisor, overseeing eight field reps in two-thirds of Minnesota and part of Wisconsin. (Field service reps assist farmers with technical advice, recruit new members, and serve as the contact between the cooperative and member farmers.)

Pat and Kyle, who now is a sophomore studying architecture and interior design at North Dakota State, went to the Parade of Homes for ideas that winter.

Pat could sketch her ideas, and then Kyle could draw them to scale. "Those two really designed the house from scratch," said Kevin.

They opted for a walkout rambler because they wanted to minimize steps and have all the essentials on the main floor for one-floor living at some point in the future. "Hopefully, this is the last time we move," said Kevin. "We know we're going to get older and that steps are a problem, so we have it all on one floor."

The main floor only has a step and a half from the garage.

"I wanted the laundry on the main floor," said Pat. "It's the first time I've ever had it on the main floor." Having always lived in town, first in Paynesville and then in Glencoe, the Rausches had always had bi-level homes, which are nice and provide adequate living space on smaller city lots, said Pat, but with a two-acre country lot they could build a rambler this time. Their new house has 2,000 sq. ft. on the main floor, plus a full basement, almost double the size of their previous homes.

Excavation for the house began in April 2005, as soon as frost was out. The basement was finished by June, and the builder started framing the house that same month. Kevin and family and friends shingled the house over a weekend in July, and he did the sheetrocking in August. After having the taping done, Kevin and Pat painted the walls starting in September and then did the flooring. They moved into the house in November 2005 (finishing the trim after they moved in).

Kevin, with family and friends, sheetrocked, shingled, sided, trimmed, and finished the inside of the house.

Since Pat started working in Paynesville last summer, and they both commuted from Glencoe during most of the house construction, leaving Glencoe at 6 a.m., having 15 minutes to stop at the house on their way to work, going to the house over lunch, and then stopping to work on their way home. It started that they would get home to Glencoe for the 10 o'clock news, they said, then it was for Jay Leno, and finally they would get home for Conan O'Brien.

Once they moved in, they both wanted to relax and enthusiasm for working on the house waned. "It took longer to get stuff done after we lived here," said Pat.

The main floor of their house includes a three-stall garage; mud room wing by the garage with bathroom and laundry room; center core with kitchen, dining room, entryway, breakfast nook, and living room; office and adjoining bathroom; and master bedroom suite.

From the front door, the first feature is the center staircase to the basement, with a 45-degree angle turn between the two sets of stairs set in a pentagon-shaped depression shaped by walls and banisters.

"From Day 1," said Kevin, "it was in the center of the house."

"We knew we weren't going to put it in a corner," added Pat of the staircase, which was a challenge to fit into house.

Overlooking the staircase is the office, which has a glass French office door. Pat saw these types of doors during her visits to the Parade of Homes and liked the look plus the versatility of the room - which they are using as an extra bedroom until the basement is finished and which gives them a spot to have their computer and do things like open mail.

Having lived in bi-level homes in the past, which out of necessity have smaller rooms on more floors, Kevin and Pat wanted the center core to be open in their new home. When entertaining in their previous bi-level homes, the group was always divided into the smaller rooms, so they wanted an open, flowing core for their new home. Plus Kevin (from a family of ten siblings) and Pat (from a family of seven siblings) both have large families, and it's their turn to host Kevin's family for Christmas this year, so they wanted open space.

The main floor has eight-foot ceilings, except in the formal living room where the ceiling peaks at 12 feet. This ceiling created a small nook above the pantry for decorations, which Pat lined with rope lighting to showcase at night.

The only divider in the center core is the walk-in pantry in the kitchen, with the center staircase on the other side. "We actually like having some division," said Pat, who also likes having ample storage space. "We were storing things all over in the other house," she added. "We had appliances in closets."

Another idea they got from the Parade of Homes was an appliance garage in the corner of their kitchen cabinets, which they actually use to store a television.

They chose two shades of oak for the woodwork, including oak cabinets with staggered heights in the kitchen. Pat chose white appliances in the kitchen with brushed nickel accents, as she felt this would look better with the browns and tans in the house - all earth tone paint shades - and match the brushed nickel lighting fixtures and brushed nickel faucet hardware.

They picked a beige formica for kitchen counters with a beveled wood edge that matches the oak cabinets.

They also used oak for the mantel over their gas fireplace in the living room, where they have a large family portrait.

Sons Eric and Kyle convinced them to have the house wired with a sound system, with control pads in every room, to control the CD changer or the radio station or the volume. Kevin and Pat weren't so sure they wanted this sound system, but now rave about it. "I love it," said Pat.

"It's amazing how much we listen to it," agreed Kevin.

Kevin's brother also convinced him to build his garage a little bigger if he could and that he'd never regret added an extra eight feet.

Kevin and Pat wanted a real wood floor, which they had in their house in Glencoe and thought added character to the house. On the main floor, only the living room, office, and master bedroom are carpeted, as well as linoleum in the three bathrooms. Kevin questioned having three bathrooms on the main level - one as a mudroom, one connected to the office for a mini-master-bedroom suite, and the third in the master bedroom - wondering if they really were a need. Now he says they are "the best things we did."

"When the kids are all home, they all get used," he explained.

However Kevin, who was tired of cleaning shower doors in their last house, opted for shower curtains in all their bathrooms this time. No more scrubbing, he said; when the curtain gets dirty, it's time for a new one. He was "so sick and tired of (cleaning) shower doors," he said.

They did opt for a whirlpool in the master bathroom and a 36-inch-tall vanity, which is more convenient for their heights. They also have 34-inch vanities in other bathrooms instead of the 32-inch standard.

They also are finishing their full basement - Kevin hopes to finish in time for their daughter's wedding in September - to encourage their kids to come home and visit by offering them plenty of space. Tiffany is in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse; Eric is a senior at Winona State; and Kyle is a sophomore at NDSU. "We're glad to see the kids come home," said Kevin.

Also, with all their kids still in college, Kevin and Pat still have most of their stuff in their basement.

And while they were thinking about one-floor living in the future, both Kevin and Pat can still handle steps now.

The plumbing is in for the basement, but they need to have the electrical work finished before erecting the walls. They plan to have two bedrooms, a bathroom, a family room with pool table and wet bar, a television room, and the already-full utility/storage room.

Unlike the oak trim on the main floor, Pat plans to use fishing decor in the basement and wants pine woodwork in the basement for her cabin theme.

Their to-do list includes a deck on the north side of the house (the breakfast nook has a sliding glass door that will lead to it), landscaping, laying a cement apron for the driveway, finishing the basement, and making a tile patio on the west end of the walkout basement.

This is the Rausch's fourth home together, but the first one they built together. They had done remodelings on other homes, and Pat's parents had built a new home recently. Her parents, though, found a design they liked during a visit and had that exact model built. From flat plans, Kevin and Pat said, it's hard to visualize how you will like the three-dimensional house.

For instance, they can see trees from all the windows on the north side of their house, and just glimpses of Highway 22 as it makes a curve and heads north. They have been asked if this was design, but they say it is just good fortune.

The house "turned out as good or better than we thought it would," said Kevin.

The 20-lot development by South Browns Lake - four miles to Eden Valley, six to Richmond, and ten to Paynesville - has a dozen houses already. The Rausches call it country living with neighbors. "It's kind of a combination of (city and country living)," said Pat.

"It fits us perfectly," said Kevin.

Return to Home Improvement