Jerry Holecek didn’t take a gradual approach in remodeling the country rambler that he grew up in during the 70s and 80s. He modernized both the house and its surrounding grounds in a year-plus remodeling binge. “It’s quite a transformation,” Jerry says. “There was updating done inside and out.” 

Jerry made much of the transformation possible with his own expertise. He owns and operates H&H Company of Rochester, LLC, which builds custom homes, remodels residences and specializes in unique decks, porches and other outdoor structures. He spent his workweek putting up other clients’ homes and then went home to fix up his own house, located just inside the Dodge County line south of U.S. Highway 14. 


Jerry and his partner, Kim Banfield, describe the style of their home as a “modern farmhouse,” placing the emphasis on “modern.”

The couple created an open design in the main living areas, featuring plenty of space and some accents reminding them of the home’s rural heritage. They tied them with a light gray color scheme and brown, rustic-looking wood laminate floors. They wanted their surroundings to be flexible for decor. “Gray is the new neutral,” Kim notes.   



Spring Gardening: A Time of Renewal and Rebirth

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Written by Cindy Mennenga

It’s always a sure sign that spring is just around the corner when the seed and flower catalogs begin arriving in the mail. Spring is such a hopeful time of year, and the prospect of seeing young shoots break through the soil can help pass those seemingly endless winter evenings. Leafing through colorful catalogs helps people dream about spring, with its longer days and the awesome flowers and edibles they may want to plant.


Spring is, of course, the busiest time of the year at area garden centers. Nina Sargent, co-owner of Sargent’s, says, “There is definitely a shift toward more folks growing their own veggies.” She shares that people want to control what they are eating and know how their produce
was grown. She adds that the availability of organic products that
really do work has contributed to this growing trend.


Have you ever enjoyed a soothing soak in a hot tub or experienced the restorative heat from sitting in a sauna? Aside from the obvious appeal of warmth and relaxation, people enjoy using them together.

In recent years, saunas and hot tubs have expanded beyond health clubs, upscale hotels and chic spas. As saunas and hot tubs designed for home use have increased in popularity, enthusiasts have begun to realize the benefits of having access to a sauna or hot tub (or both) in the comfort of their own home.  


The word “sauna,” which means bath or bathhouse, is the only Finnish word to make its way into the English language. Frequently mispronounced, the correct pronunciation of the first syllable is “sow,” which rhymes with “wow.” Saunas have been in use in Finland for over 2,000 years, and sauna use in the United States has been traced back to 1638 in what is now known as Delaware. 



Remodeler's Corner: A Couple Opens Up Their Space Enjoying Their Eye-Catching Panoramic View

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Written by Bob Freund Photos by The Moments of Life Photography

Nancy Curry knew from her first look that walls would be coming down in their large townhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows. She and her husband, Paul, didn’t wait long after moving into their newly purchased home last April to start opening up the floor plan.

“I think we were in here four days, and Nancy put the (first) hammer into the wall,” Paul says. By the time their do-it-yourself wrecking crew finished demolition a few months later, four interior walls were demolished, and other outdated features from the late 1980s had disappeared.


In April 2016, the Currys moved into the 3,300-square-foot townhome in the Oak Cliff complex from a townhouse less than half the size. They had been shopping for space. “We couldn’t fit the entire family in our old house,” Nancy says. 


Did you really turn off the TV set after the last show ended late last night? Will insulation alone stop air leaks in your attic? Is your water heater set too hot or too cold? Why does your home feel drafty?


The Neighborhood Energy Challenge—a free energy workshop—offers a good look at ways to reduce waste and save energy costs around the house. The next NEC workshop is coming up from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday, November 19, in the Community Room at Rochester Public Utilities, 4000 East River Road N.E. The class is free, although prior registration is requested. Additional classes are being planned for 2017.


love to visit open houses and get ideas for my future dream home. Whether that dream home ever actually materializes isn’t the point; it’s the dreaming that keeps me coming back. when I was asked to write about Rochester Area Builder’s 2015 Fall Showcase of Homes Division 1 (homes over $600,000) winner, built by Range Custom Homes, I couldn’t wait to get my own private tour of this gorgeous home.

When the appointed day to tour this spectacular beauty finally arrived, I knew I was in for something special. As I pulled into the driveway, the home, nestled on the end of a cul-de-sac, was warm and welcoming and afforded peaceful views of a lush, wooded backyard. 

The lucky owners of this stunning home, Dean and Rachael Potter, stepped into the home buying process just as the fun part was about to begin. Rachael says that she and her husband were looking at new construction, and when they walked into this home, she immediately felt that it was designed perfectly for their family. They selected many of the finishing touches, but chose to include many of the items, especially the lighting, that were originally slated to go into the home. Rachael gushes as she talks about the design elements of this house, sharing that Shannon Range, design stylist for Range Custom Homes, created the perfect ambiance for their sanctuary.



Remodeler's Corner: Pleases with Space and Style

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Written by Bob Freund Photography by Mike Hardwick Photography

Contractor: Kitchens plus

Project: Kitchen Remodel

Subcontractors: Gary Einck Plumbing, Bruce Hanson Remodeling, Laitala Tile, Leth Electric, Merschbrock Drywall and Painting, Schotts Hardwood Flooring, Ultimate Surfaces

Βrent and Beth Carey’s newly remodeled kitchen becomes the center of attention whenever the Rochester couple has family in town or entertains guests for an evening. 


Hosts and guests can comfortably gather in the kitchen to chat. At meal time, guests can flow on either side along a 9-foot long center island to fill their plates from a buffet-style spread. It’s a favorite hosting style for the Careys. At the same time, without being crowded for work space, someone can be preparing food using the quart counter tops.


Contractor: Elias Construction, L.L.C.

Project: Lower Level Remodel.

Subcontractors: Bright Ideas, Dapper Surfaces, DeGeus Tile & Granite, Ferguson, Haley Comfort Systems, K&S Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Electrical, North Star Stone and Masonry, Shea’s Way Custom Cabinetry, Top Shop of Rochester

When Jonathan and Tricia Torrens-Burton crave a pint of foamy ale or a rousing game of darts, they always can frequent “The King George.” Their favorite pub is never more than a few steps and a few stairs away. Descending down stairs past the picture of the Union Flag, they enter their private pub, passing under the most British of cheers overhead “God Save The Queen.”



Reusing...Entertaining Ways

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Written by Sue Whitney

Summertime is a fine time to gather with gal pals for a succulent brunch, a box lunch or an herbilicious tappa time. If it’s your turn to do the entertaining, play your clever card with upcycled containers plucked from their usual abode and placed center stage upon your table. Previously planted vintage vessels can easily be transformed from garden goods to chic centerpieces with a few simple alterations. 

Succulent Show Stopper

Succulents are a favorite of mine for a variety of reasons. They’re exquisite, thrive on neglect and almost impossible to kill. It’s hard not to love a low-maintenance beauty. 

I spotted two little vintage lovelies at TaDa! Consign in Rochester and knew instantly how to put them back to work. Succulents are arid plants so a strainer is an ideal receptacle for my pretty friends. I originally planted the enamel strainer and added the cute little milk glass creamer as a candleholder to provide ambient evening porch light. 

For my brunch table I replaced the candle with a summertime bouquet. Delicate white napkins, pretty plates, juice and an egg bake complete the brunch ensemble.



Recycled Creations: Glass Garden Art

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Written by Melissa Eggler Photography By Melissa Eggler

After a very long winter, most Midwesterners are looking forward to the warmth and green of spring and being able to step outside into our yards. Many of us have made our backyards into wonderful little utopias and places that renew and calm us. One of the ways I’ve added fun to my backyard is with recycled glass garden art made from glass dishes, lampshades or other glass serving pieces. This is a great way to recycle items you may have lying around the house.

If you don’t have any of these items available in your basement or storage, you can start with a fun trip to your favorite thrift store where the selections are endless. There are so many different shapes, colors and designs of glass, china and ceramics, and bringing these all together creates a wonderfully whimsical and surprising creation, at a very affordable price. 


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