Warren Nehring's
Remodels, Adds New Addition to Home


The center island in the new 18' by 30' kitchen is a focal point of the room, and features a brass foot rail and telephone jack. Nehring especially likes his corner sink and under-cabinet lighting. The kitchen is two-thirds the size of his original house.

Living Room
The living room was created, in what was the old house, by knocking out a support wall between the living room and the kitchen. The new living room with its wood-style laminate floor, looks over the new kitchen which is several steps below.

Warren's new office features red carpet, a color that turns up frequently in his newly remodeled home.

A cedar siding was used on the the original home,the L-shaped addition and two-car attached garage, as well as the old garage/shed. The home was originally built in the 1940s and was used as a drive-in restaurant in the 1950s.

By Michael Jacobson
Warren Nehring bought his house seven years ago because of its potential value, not its present state. The house dates back to the 1940s, when Old Lake Road was Highway 55. At one time, the house had served as a drive-in restaurant, but it had fallen into disrepair. "When I bought it, it had rotten railroad ties and weeds up to the windows. The landscaping all leaned up to the house and not away from it. There was no grass; there were rocks and stumps all over the yard," he explained.

The house, though affordable due to its condition, was a fixer-upper from the start, said Nehring. Initially, his renovation efforts were cosmetic in nature: landscaping and painting. Then he started to remodel the interior. He started with the basement, adding a new furnace, and digging a new well. "I got the basement all remodeled, and then I moved to the basement and remodeled half the upstairs," he said.

"I didn't do the kitchen because my plan was to do more," he added. "I always had plans to do something more."

The original house was small, only 26' by 30' and 780 sq. ft. As a result, it had small rooms, which Nehring wanted to enlarge. In his interior remodeling of the existing house, for example, he eliminated a room to expand others.

He also had every window and door in the house replaced and rewired it completely.

Then, last winter, Nehring, with help, took out a support wall between the existing kitchen and living room, joining the two rooms into a single large, open space. "The kitchen was too small. The living room was too small," he said. To eliminate the support wall between the rooms, they had to put in a 8" by 20' laminated beam for support in the ceiling.

That room is now all living room, with an open stairway to the basement and covered by wood-style laminate floor that connects it as a single, large room. "It opened it up so much,"said Warren of removing the support wall. "I wondered why I was doing this (addition). (Remodeling the room) was so much easier."

Last April, Nehring hired contractors to add an L-shaped addition to his house. The addition includes a new kitchen, laundry/mud room, two-stall garage, a new master bedroom and bathroom, and an entirely new roof.

"I was getting tired of living in a 26' by 30' house," he explained. "I wanted to open it up. It's always been my dream to do this. After I sold my business, I could financially do this."

The new kitchen is between the living room and the new two-stall garage. The extent of the old house is marked by a couple foot drop, with two steps leading to the new black-and-white checked tile floor in the kitchen.

The kitchen has a vaulted ceiling, in stark contrast with the seven-foot ceilings throughout the rest of the house. "I like open," said Warren, "so I put in the vaulted ceiling."

"It kind of opens it up," he added. "At the same time, I like the split level coming out of the living room." Just off the kitchen, by the front door, the raised floor of the living room serves as a small sitting area, to be used to chat with drop-in visitors or for guests to visit with people working in the kitchen.

The kitchen features a center island, with a brass foot rail for comfort while sitting around it. "I love that center island," said Warren. "I use it to open mail. It's kind of a catch-all. I even have a phone on the island."

Above the island is a red pool table light, liberated from Nehring's former business, where it hung over the pool table. The light's color red turns up throughout house.

Like the woodwork in the rest of the house, the custom kitchen cabinets are made of oak. Nehring especially likes the pull-out drawers in the pantry, which he finds easier to use than shelves. He also likes the rope lighting used under the kitchen cabinets. This provides low lighting on the kitchen counters and can be used to keep the house somewhat lit when he is not home or to keep the kitchen slightly lit at night.

The kitchen also has lights in the ceiling, in addition to the under-cabinet lighting and the bar light. "I don't need it a lot but when you want it bright, it's well lit," said Nehring.

A unique feature of the kitchen is the corner sink, with separate compartments on both sides of the faucet in the center. The corner sink is right next to the automatic dishwasher and makes washing, then rinsing, and putting plates into the dishwasher very convenient, he said.

He really likes the view from the corner windows above the corner sink. "I believe in kitchens that are in the front of the house, so you can see people when they come," said Nehring.

The new kitchen, at 18' by 30', is two-thirds the size of the entire former house and includes one of the two front doors.

In front of the house is a tuck-under porch, protected by the roof, which Nehring expects will be a great place to grill and to sit outside. "You can be out there when it's raining," he said.

The 10' by 11' mud room also serves as a laundry room and a bathroom. Originally, Nehring had planned to make this into an office, but he opted to use it as a multi-purpose room, in part because he felt the back hall would be too crowded with the washer and dryer there.

The ceilings in the new 16' by 18' master bedroom are nine-feet tall. It's a matter of extremes, said Nehring, of going from a small bedroom to the new room, which has an adjoining master bathroom with jacuzzi, shower, and vanity with twin sinks.

The windows in the bedroom, like the windows throughout the house, have top-down, bottom-up shades, which can be moved into virtually any position. They can be used to cover the entire window or just the top, the middle, or bottom. Nehring likes them because they are very versatile and because they allow the oak trim to be seen.

Nehring, preferring a natural look, had the house, the addition, and a separate garage all sided with cedar siding.

Between the addition and the garage, Nehring added nearly 2,000 sq. ft. to the house. He nearly doubled the living space with the addition. "There's so much space, more than I'll ever use," he said of the remodeled three-bedroom and three-and-a-half-bathroom house. "I sort of built it for resale."

He also added two inches of insulation to the old house and had six inches installed in the new part, making the house very energy efficient. He uses natural gas, forced air heat in the floors. His duct work includes a separate charge tube that brings warm air directly from the furnace to the main tube halfway through the house to maximize heating.

Central air keeps the house cool in the summer.

He also has natural gas heat in the old garage, which he decided to keep and added insulation and resided with cedar. "I was tempted to tear it down many times," he said. "It's too close to the road, but when I quit my business I needed some place for equipment."

He'll be putting his landscaping equipment to work this spring and summer again when he finishes up the landscaping and plants grass around his house. He also wants to complete his circle driveway, which he intends to build around a huge cottonwood tree, and finish the front steps to his house.

Nehring is proud of the improvements he's made to his home over the last seven years. "I've taken the property from nothing to worth something, I think," he said.

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