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Pioneer Spirit Brings a Hand-Tooled House Back to Life

Meet the homeowners who won us over with their DIY skills and landed our 2016 Reader Remodel Contest top prize from Delta Faucet.

“Our love affair with this house, and the town it’s in, began years ago, when I was traveling around southern Utah for work and got tired of staying in hotels. I used to come through Manti a lot, and I talked to Jim, who works a couple of hours away, into acquiring a home base. No Sooner had we fixed up our first house than I spotted an even better one, It needed everything, but we did it, and today it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.” says Shannon Miller.

“We were living there with every intention of staying put when a friend of ours, Scott Anderson, whose grandparents lived in Manti, called to say, ‘Guess what, they’re going to tear down Grandma’s house and put in trailer lots.’ and I said, ‘Not on my watch!”

“Manti was settled in 1849 by pioneers, people who didn’t mind hard work and created the town from scratch. Some of those pioneers built Scott’s grandparents’ house-ours now- with nothing but hand tools. They used rubble limestone from a local quarry; it was the material at hand. The house was added onto in the late 1880s and again around 1910, when Manti was growing so fast it had its own brick factory. Between the rubble stone, ashlar masonry, and yellow brick, you can see how they changed their technique.”

“Jim and I both believe historic homes should be respected and saved. At first we thought we’d stabilize this one and find a new owner. But it had a bedroom on the first floor, and that was beginning to look good to us. And after we cleared out the debris, we could almost imagine how it was meant to be.”

“First we had to deal with structural damage. Every single system would have to be corrected, replaced or repaired. The outbuildings and yard were littered with abandoned trucks and trailers and hundreds of tires; all that would require some TLC, too. The next surprise: how long this undertaking would take”

Remodeling the house required taking the interior down to the studs. The homeowners rebuilt the staircase, which had been put in by the previous owners, to match the original, and added built-ins. they also rejiggered the layout to assign rooms more logically and bumped out the back wall to accommodate a new kitchen, sunroom, powder room, and mudroom. The house, now 2,250 square feet, also has a second floor with two bedrooms and one path.

For photos and more information on this beautiful home, view our source: This Old House