Remodeler’s Corner: No Halfway Solutions Here! A Homeowner Remodels His Entire Home

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.   

The “farmhouse” flavor comes from decor scattered whimsically throughout the house. The headboard in the master bedroom is a barn door; a key rack hangs from a window frame filled with chicken wire glass; a wavy sheet of corrugated metal from a farm shed covers the window opening of a bathroom door; vintage post office boxes are ready to hold knick-knacks or papers in a credenza or table.

Some authentic antiques are from farms. “A lot of our stuff is from Gold Rush Days,” Jerry says. Then again, “Some (furnishings) came from T.J. Maxx,” he adds. 


The interior renovation moved through the house from one section to another, allowing Jerry and Kim to stay in the house while it was being transformed. Jerry gutted a portion of the house and then rebuilt it.

The great room addition on one side of the house increased the size of the home by 25 percent, approximately 4,000 square feet. Outfitted with three TVs ranging from 50-inch to 70-inch models, the great room is the house’s main entertainment center. It features a viewing wall constructed with tile that resembles Chicago brick and a horizontal electric fireplace for atmosphere. Overhead, beams are exposed, as are rows of shiplap, a type of wooden board common in farm and other rural buildings.

From the great room, there’s an uninterrupted view to the kitchen, where white cabinetry, an island with a light gray countertop and silvery metal appliances gleam. Jerry tucked his home office behind the entertainment wall on the main level. The laundry was also relocated to the main floor. 

A shallow flight of stairs leads down a half-floor to the house’s entry level. Jerry created one of the house’s showpieces, an unusual railing for the lower level staircase. “(Kim) showed me a picture from Pinterest. I had to figure out how to make it,” Jerry says. The railing combines rustic hardwood with supports made from sections of gray, galvanized metal pipe. The effect is modern but with a rustic wood twist.

The new plan revamped the master bedroom suite to install an oversized, glass-enclosed shower with separate tub in its bathroom. Then, a large walk-in closet was located beyond the bathroom for convenient dressing. The remodel also converted a family room in the lower level to two bedrooms and a bathroom. 


The home’s exterior also received a makeover that included new siding and roof shingles, as well as a renovated front porch and rear deck. Jerry installed new landscaping around the house, but he also poured a 60-foot concrete patio for a basketball court and a brick fire pit. Family members or guests can watch the action from a revamped deck, made with boards made from high-strength, composite materials.

Jerry completed about half of the work himself, saving money and indulging his personal designs along the way. The major remodeling started in October 2014 and was largely done a year later.  

Bob Freund is a writer based in Rochester.