Holiday homes showcased for cause

Published 9:55 am Friday, November 26, 2010

Bruce and Chris Henricks have redone much of the old farmhouse they bought in 1996. Their home is one of six featured in this year’s Mower County Red Cross Holiday Tour of Homes

When Bruce and Chris Henricks bought their beautiful brick home off 540th Avenue in 1996, it needed a lot of work done. The home had originally been built in 1872, or so they think. It looked it, as snow came in under the doors, the porch had been caved in and the place was a haven for bats, mice and other creepy crawlies.

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“The realtor, when he brought us in, said, ‘Folks, this is as is,’” Chris Henricks said.

Over the last 14 years, however, the Henricks have transformed their brick farmhouse into a beautiful show home, one of six in this year’s Mower County Red Cross Holiday Tour of Homes. While each home will have decorative holiday lights on the outside, each home’s true beauty is found within.

“The outside (of the homes) is nothing compared to what you will see inside,” said Brigitte Campbell, executive assistant at MCRC.

The Henricks’ bedroom features many pieces of furniture they built themselves.

This is the third year MCRC has put on its annual fundraiser, according to (Brigitte). Most of the homes were chosen by MCRC volunteers, who asked homeowners to show their homes.

The Henricks were one of the homeowners who were asked by MCRC volunteers. They’ve made and remade changes to their fixer-upper home practically by themselves, only hiring out work they couldn’t do themselves, such as getting rid of an awkwardly placed loft on the floor’s second home and putting on an addition to the house.

“We had a rough structure as far as what the home was when we started,” Chris Henricks said.

Much of their home has been remade using wood, banisters and recycled material from much older buildings. Bruce Henrick’s father was a janitor at a bank in town who’d take home extra pieces of lumber, siding and other building materials for later use. Much of those materials have made it into the Henrick’s home, such as the dentist’s doors which Bruce remade into sliding doors which goes into the garage. Siding along a fireplace in the first floor came from the old bank building where Bruce’s father worked.

They’ve reused parts of the old farmhouse as well. Some cabinets that were created in the 1960s have found their way into a recreation room on the first floor near the garage.

Wood from what the Henricks claim is the original door of the home was remade into cabinets in a small bathroom in the first floor as well.

Chris Henricks shows pictures of how her dining room used to look in 1996, compared to how decorative the Henricks home looks today.

Yet some of the Henrick’s additions are entirely either new or built from scratch. They’ve put in two porches which weren’t in existence before, as well as replaced and in some cases redid all of the window fronts. They’ve also created several pieces of unique furniture for their home, including a bedroom set. What looks to be a blue Persian rug came from Chris’s son Edward, a Marine Major who bought it in Bahrain and had the Henrick’s names engraved in Arabic while serving overseas.

“It’s not the grandest home, it’s not a modern home, but it’s unique, and it’s a comfortable home for us,” Chris Henricks said.

Being on the Holiday Tour of Homes has given the Henricks motivation to fix some ongoing problems, such as a leaky spot in the living room ceiling they’ve continuously tried to fix over the years. They’re not entirely done making changes, however. The basement needs to be finished and the Henricks plan to extend their kitchen an additional six to eight feet out from where it sits currently. That work will have to wait until the springtime, but that doesn’t phase the Henricks, since they’ve enjoyed the challenges of modernizing their dream home.

“Most people would have bulldozed it down and built a new home on the site, but we saw potential with the house,” Chris Henricks said.

The MCRC Holiday Tour of Homes takes place Sunday, Dec. 5 from 1 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased at Gymocha, Coffee House on Main, HyVee, the Red Cross location in Austin and other area businesses. People can also purchase tickets at one of the homes on the tour the day of the event for $12. All proceeds from the event will go towards local Red Cross service and programs, Campbell said.

For more information, contact MCRC at 507-437-4589.