Four area couples will open their newly built or remodeled homes to the public this Sunday. Darron and Karen Knowlton, Chuck and MaryAnn Schmidt, Allan and Pat Solum, and Rick and Robyn Spaeth are the featured homes in this year's tour.
Chuck and MaryAnn Schmidt have most recently remodeled their home near Lake Koronis, and are finishing landscaping. They originally built their home in 1993, but in addition to recent wallpapering, their most recent project, added in 1995, was their 18 by 36-foot pool which extends off the north side of the house into the back yard, overlooking a small inlet pond.
When the Schmidts purchased the land there were no other houses near it and the place where the house now stands was undeveloped and grown over with trees, shrubs, and other vegetation. Kayla, fourth of the Schmidt's six children, mentioned that a narrow dirt road was the only access into the area.
Because of the peaceful and serene nature of the spot, the Schmidts cleared a lot and built their house, and in the four years since then a couple more houses have gone up just down the road. "Last year we had 40 geese in the back yard," Shane, the second youngest, commented. MaryAnn mentioned they were quite tame, being they came right up to her.
MaryAnn, a registered nurse at Paynesville Area Health Care System, specially designed the layout of the house herself, and Chuck, a paramedic, drew up the blueprints. In their new home, the Schmidt family is enjoying the peacefulness of Lake Koronis.
The home of Darron and Karen Knowlton, both of whom are retired school teachers, has an eclectic flavor. They built the house with their retirement years in mind, designing the living spaces with large windows which allow them to enjoy the Minnesota seasons from the comfort of their armchairs.
Their home is furnished with items they received, purchased, or obtained from family, friends, and previous students, including the 100-year-old columns received from Karen's father, which stand at the entrance of the dining room.
The china closet in their dining room, received from Dr. Con and Mary Winther, originally belonging to Con's parents, is another favorite of the Knowltons. They also enjoy various knickknacks given to them by students over the years.
The living room and hallway feature Harvey Dunn prints, a South Dakota artist noted for depicting prairie life. His works are also displayed at South Dakota State University, Darron's alma mater.
When finished, the fireplace Darron recently built will feature a hearth and trim of Pipestone rock from the national monument in their hometown. They describe their home as a work in progress, as they intend to build a deck, further landscape, and complete some furniture projects.
Rick and Robyn Spaeth will also open their four bedroom, three bath rambler style house for the tour of homes. The Spaeths salvaged various coat hooks and other items from the more than 100-year-old house originally on the site. Their new home includes a walk-out style basement and hardwood floors in the kitchen, which the family adores.
They enjoy an upright freezer and refrigerator in the kitchen, and a large laundry room. Handmade quilts in the upstairs bedrooms are a source of pride, as is the quilt in the master bedroom which was pieced together by a godmother and stitched by the Nordland Lutheran Church ladies.
Allan and Pat Solum enjoy their lake home on the north shore of Lake Koronis, which was originally built in 1919. The Solums originally purchased the house in 1994 as a summer cottage, but after living there for the summer and fall, they decided to remodel it for a year-round home.
The Solums added a second level, winterized the outside walls and replaced various windows and doors. They also added an enclosed four-season porch and renovated the kitchen, which overlooks the lake and features a unique ceramic tile design.
Their fireplace and foundation is constructed of field stone, and the interior of the house utilizes various woods and finishes. The dining and living room floors are constructed of original fir. Four prints of the home taken in the 1940s also hang on a wall, the photographs which were given to them by Loretta Flynn, the owner during those years.
The tour of homes will last from 1 to 4 p.m on Sunday, Aug. 10. Tickets can be purchased at 700 Stearns Place, where visitors will receive a list and program of homes to visit at their own pace. Coffee, lemonade, and bars will be served at 700 Stearns Place, and a quilt raffle will take place at 3 p.m.
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