Labor of love

  • Article by: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 15, 2012 - 3:36 PM

After a multigenerational makeover, a family home is ready for its next chapter.

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New flooring, cabinets, granite counters and stainless-steel subway tiles transformed the kitchen.

Photo: Joseph Hummel Jr. ,

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When Joe and Linda Hummel moved from Nevada to Minnesota in the mid-1990s, they looked at several houses. "But I had my eye on this one," Linda said of their four-bedroom brick rambler. She liked its wide staircases, low-maintenance exterior and large wooded lot on a cul-de-sac in Savage.

So the Hummels bought the house and raised their family there.

"It was a wonderful home for us," said Joe Jr., one of the couple's eight grown children, who lives in California near Lake Tahoe. But now that his parents are approaching retirement, they're ready to downsize and move closer to family members on the West Coast.

The couple decided to spruce up the house before putting it on the market. And Joe Jr., a former real estate agent who was out of work at the time, offered to move back to Minnesota to help with the project.

The Hummels replaced the carpet with hardwood and tile flooring, and removed the wallpaper that Linda, who once worked as a professional paper hanger, had hung, repainting every room. They converted a large three-season porch into a year-round room, and remodeled all the bathrooms. The couple and handy family members did all the work themselves, with the exception of installing a new furnace/air-conditioning system. "The whole family does stuff," Linda said. "Not to brag, but we have very talented children."

"We all pitched in," Joe Jr. said. "Once we started, it kind of grew."

The biggest transformation was in the kitchen, which was completely remodeled from dated country-style to sleek and modern, with new espresso oak cabinets, marble and stainless-steel tile, high-end appliances and LED accent lighting.

"I'm kind of fanatic about lighting," Joe Jr. said. "The kitchen should always be the crown."

He and a brother, a contractor in the Lake Tahoe area, collaborated on the design, passing it back and forth. "They got in cahoots together," Linda said. Joe Jr. contributed $3,000 worth of Brazilian ipe wood flooring that he won in a sweepstakes, and the brother surprised his parents with granite for the countertops.

While Joe Sr. and Linda were on a cruise, Joe Jr. assembled the cabinets and finished the kitchen.

"When we came back, we were shocked," Linda said. "You see all this stuff, but when you put it all together -- wow!"

The new kitchen is a standout, agreed listing agent Dawn Wallin of Keller Williams Integrity-Edina. "It's beautiful, and the detail is wonderful. It's going to make a family really happy to be in this space."

That is, if Linda can bring herself to part with it. "It's the first time I've ever had a new kitchen," she said. "I'm getting attached to it."

Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784

Dawn Wallin of Keller Williams Integrity-Edina has the listing, 952-484-5099, dawn@dawnwallin.com.

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