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The Journey from a House to a Home

Following an I.F. home renovation from beginning to end

Published online: May 13, 2021 Articles, Home And Garden, Lifestyle
Viewed 1060 time(s)

In 1935, Jim Brady, the owner of the Post Register, built his home in Idaho Falls. Nearly nine decades later it is in the hands of enthusiastic owners, Glen and Ginger. The home has seen Idaho Falls through many changes, from the beginning of social security and mass-published paperback books to our modern era full of convenience that people from 86 years ago could only just begin to imagine. 

A year and a half ago, Glen and Ginger set out to renovate their home while also preserving as much of its history as feasible. The couple spent over 18 months renovating their dream home in Idaho Falls, taking down walls and creating space for new stories to come.

Connecting with Idaho Falls

Originally from California, Glen and Ginger decided to move to Idaho Falls after retiring. They knew Idaho Falls was the place they wanted to be and took their time searching for a home with the help of a realtor until the right one spoke to them.

“We just kind of felt that it was the house for us,” said Ginger. “I have a grandmother that lived here for around 50 years. As a child, we'd come and visit her here in Idaho Falls. 

And then my mom has family that Glen and I have connected with since we've moved here. We're getting to know them and finding out about their lives.”

Diving into the Deep End

What Glen and Ginger didn’t realize when they bought the house was how long they would spend renovating it. Their original plan outlined finishing all of their changes in a period of 6 months, but that time passed and the home still wasn’t to the point where it needed to be. It took another year before the couple would be able to call their home complete, a process that Idaho Falls Magazine staff captured in photos from beginning to end.

Some major changes included removing walls upstairs to open up space in the loft, removing a stairwell taking up unnecessary space close to the kitchen, removing all carpet and restoring the flooring and much, much more. 

Giving the Best Advice

Although the couple would never consider tackling a project of this magnitude again, they are encouraging toward others looking to transform a historical home into a dream space with the caveat that the person doing so recognizes how much time and effort the work will take.

“The biggest thing is to really look at your contractors, your painters, rock contractors, interview them thoroughly,” said Ginger. “Go out and see jobs that they've previously done and get several referrals from them. Stick with getting three bids for any job. There's a big price difference between contractors and there's a huge difference between quality.”

Ending a Thrilling Adventure

Although work on the house could come with its frustrations, Glen and Ginger found diving into the mysteries of their new space thrilling. They frequently found items as they dug into construction, including children's toys and secret drawers.

What was their most exciting find? A letter which had been jammed inside the mailbox, keeping it from ever reaching its destination. The letter gives a small snapshot of what it might have been like to live in the home when it was first built, detailing gratitude for the gift of a silver platter and how the writer had recently found a teaching position. Though there aren’t many details about the sender, it is an interesting piece of history the couple continues to cherish. 


***

There are multiple faces behind a project like Ginger’s home renovation, but the central force behind bringing the home to life was interior designer Diane Hill of Hillmanor Design. From beginning to end, Diane provided Ginger with a roadmap to complete her goals and renovate the home of her dreams. Idaho Falls Magazine staff sat down with Diane to learn about her work as an interior designer and some of her experiences over the past year of work in this beautiful Idaho Falls home.


IFM: How do you decide where to start with such a major project?

DH: With Ginger’s home, we started in the master bedroom because that was her central goal. Then, we moved onto the kitchen. The third area of focus was over the garage.


IFM: Is there any part of the renovation that was your favorite?

DH: I think the upstairs master and bath was probably the best thing and was my favorite. I liked doing that. And then second to that was getting the kitchen functional with a better island.


IFM: What was your process in preserving the home?

DH: Part of it was, we wanted to keep some of the integrity of that time period. That was Ginger’s goal. We cleaned all of the original hardware. She tried to get handles in the kitchen that were from that period. I tried to find tiles and patterns that were used in that period. We kept all the original doors. We did replace the windows, but when we did, it was something that went with the period of the house.

Even the lighting is more modernized a little bit, but it's still very traditional and something that people would see at that time.

We took the original sinks in the bathroom, the faucets, and had them redone. Then I designed a pedestal on the bottom. In fact, I designed all of the cabinets and all the bathrooms pedestals.


IFM: What kind of advice would you have for people that are considering remodeling or doing something along those lines?

DH: Go to a designer that is more open-minded, because so many times they're so closed-minded on what's current and what's in their mind. … [When] you have somebody that's open, they can modernize your home, do it to your taste and not have it look like everybody else's house.


IFM: Is there a dream project that you haven't done yet that like you would be really excited to?

DH: I'd like to do a mountain home in Wyoming or somewhere. I've always had that in my head. And I'd like to do it differently than other designers and use some of the Native American culture that we find in Wyoming and add a modern look to it.


IFM: Why should people come to you rather than another interior designer?

DH: Because I’m a good listener. I'm willing to design something that is to their family style, their ideas, and yet pull in my ideas to make it balanced. I am really very good at that. 

I will tell them when something doesn't work and work with them to find a solution. And if it's not going too well, I will let them know. But I'm much more open-minded about things like that. And I don't have this set routine that I have to go through. 

I'm flexible. But typically it's a team effort with me. It's not my solo thing. Even though I am the designer, it's still a team effort between the people I'm working with and where they live and what their space is and who lives there. 


For More Information:

Hillmanor Designs · Diane Hill

hillmanor@yahoo.com · 208-705-5688

Click here to read the May issue of Idaho Falls Magazine

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