When David Hedrick purchased the original 1897 farmhouse on the Capaul Dairy Farm and Creamery site in Roseville, he knew it would need major updates.
"Another couple that was interested in the house were told by their agent that it probably needed to be torn down," Hedrick said.
While most buyers would have walked away, Hedrick, a remodeling contractor, did no such thing. He had just sold his place in Minneapolis and was house hunting when the farmhouse on Hamline Avenue became available.
"It was in rough shape, but it didn't need to be torn down," he said. "It was a house built to last. I could see that it was just a matter of gutting it out and tearing out all of the bad siding and going from there."
Almost 30 years after purchasing the home, his long list of projects recently came to a close as he completed the finishing touch (sawing a silhouette of a farmscape for the porch) and crossed the final items off his checklist. In essence, it was the day the cows came home.
Hedrick would have finished much sooner if it weren't for balancing such an extensive renovation with his full-time job. He also took time to make careful decisions in sourcing materials and adding craftsman details that would complement the farmhouse style.
"It's just been a project that has carried over the course of time little by little from a complete gut to add-ons and the like," Hedrick said.
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Mixing and matching
From what he surmised from neighbors and documents passed on from previous owners, the original structure was a modest 1 ½-story, two-bedroom, one-bathroom of 700 square feet. "It was just a simple farmhouse with no frills," Hedrick said.
Sometime in the 1940s, the basement was raised about 2 feet and the foundation updated. On the house's north end, a 13-by-13-foot two-story addition created a new, spacious, light-filled living room on the first floor and a third bedroom above.
Upon purchasing the property, Hedrick spent the first few years gutting the older part of the house and updating the skeleton — leveling ceiling joists and rafters, upgrading mechanicals and installing new windows and doors.
Many of the original features were beyond repair, but Hedrick saved what he could. Along the way, he learned how to get creative in how to reuse those materials. He also introduced new details, such as custom millwork that gave the house consistency inside and out.
"You don't want to just take the character of the house and try to replicate it," Hedrick said. "You can still have that farmhouse feel and make it modern."
Making more room
Hedrick estimates that he's done 85% of the work himself, including installing custom cabinetry, Brazilian cherry countertops, shutters, doors and window casings and trim. Occasionally his work crew would chip in during slow times with the business. And his daughter Joanna was an enthusiastic helper, too.
"I remember when she was 6 years old and the first thing I had to do was put a new roof on. So I'm working up there and all of a sudden I look up and she was there on top of the roof," he said. "She had no fear." After that, he found safer projects for her to work on.
Hedrick added more usable spaces wherever he could, turning the former milk storage building into a two-car garage and workshop, and adding a game room to it. The workshop became the staging area for his Hedrick Design and Remodeling business as well as his home projects.
At one point in the house's history, the front porch had been removed. Hedrick decided to build a new one, making railings in a classic style that paid homage to the original.
In the back of the house, Hedrick created an addition that included two dens with built-ins on both the first and second floors. When he remodeled the kitchen, Hedrick added a bump-out for a breakfast nook. He also reconfigured spaces to add a half-bath, mudroom and laundry room to the main floor and relocated the stairwell.
Salvaging and recycling
The house is a study on how to salvage and recycle materials.
When some of the flooring in the main gathering spaces had deteriorated to the point of no return, Hedrick got creative in its restoration.
"To have this flooring like this, I've pulled boards from upstairs and other places in the house," he said.
That meant he had to find new flooring for the rooms he pulled from. For the primary bedroom, he salvaged re-sawn pine from the old Montgomery Ward building in St. Paul, which was demolished in the mid-1990s. In another bedroom (lined with timber-framed trusses Hedrick made himself), he sourced pine floorboards from a barn in Wisconsin.
Hedrick shopped at reuse stores and online for vintage items, scoring a farmhouse sink for the kitchen and an antique cabinet for the upstairs bathroom. He also found promise in materials that were destined for the dumpster.
"At the same time that I was working on my house, I was also doing other remodeling jobs," he said. "As a result, I salvaged demo materials from these other jobs for use in my home project."
He used scraps of a remodel in Minneapolis' Loring Park to build a new deck. For the game room, he salvaged floorboards from various projects, carefully piecing them together to create an inlaid design.
The next generation
Just as Hedrick, now retired, put the final touches on the house, he was approached by a business that buys vacation rental properties. They made him an attractive offer, he said. While he turned it down, it got him talking with a friend who was a Realtor.
"Considering the large amount of equity there is, we decided to list the house [and] see its sale potential," he said.
Hedrick has put the home, which includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,480 square feet, on the market for at least 30 days to see what kind of interest it draws.
"This home is so special," said listing agent Amy Piccott. "The homeowner has kept the original farmhouse charm and exquisitely updated it to meet a modern-day buyer's demand for gorgeously remodeled homes."
Piccott added that the house features high-quality craftsman work inside and out and a meticulously landscaped yard.
Hedrick is glad he was able to bring his vision for the old farmhouse to life.
"Since my profession was a remodeling contractor for the last 40 years, you would think no one wants to do what they do at work when they go home," he said. "But I've enjoyed doing this."
Amy Piccott (651-332-6283; email@example.com) of Counselor Realty has the $499,000 listing.