Seventh Street house stays in family

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— Amos R. Brown built the house at the corner of Seventh and Aspen streets in 1905. Since then, Brown's descendants have taken on several remodeling projects at the home, including the latest by Brown's great granddaughter.

Fourth generation Routt County resident Kristen Wilson and her husband Keith Wilson, of Chicago, began rebuilding the 98-year-old house from the inside out in late December, after Kristen's father sold it to them.

"The physical structure hadn't been updated for about 40 or 50 years," Keith said. "I wanted to make it sturdier to keep it in shape forever.

"It was important to everyone in the family to keep it in the family, and it was important to keep it in shape. It's more of an investment in the future of our family more than it is a monetary investment."

Keith has run his own construction business for about five years, and has taken on the project full time. There are many elements in the home that he wants to retain, but for the most part, the interior will look completely new and modern when he is finished.

"I wouldn't recommend a homeowner doing a project of this scope," Keith said.

The house is bare on the inside. Keith began his quest to make the house sturdier by reworking most of the interior frame, installing new floor joists, steel beams, rafters and floorboards, eliminating the creaking of the floors.

Keith is also making the 2,900-square-foot house larger, tearing off 320 square feet on the back and adding 680 square feet, including a rear deck that will serve as the entryway to the kitchen. Still, Keith said many of the structural facets of the home, such as windows, doors and siding, would be new but look like the style of the original home.

"There are so many surprises with the remodel process," Keith said. "You want to be the type that does this for a living if you're doing this type of work."

During the demolition process, four prior additions and unknown pipe work were discovered. Keith often found himself calling a structural engineer friend, who would always answer, "what do you have now?"

The home had about 12 old radiators, including one that sat near the front door and weighs at least 1,200 pounds, Keith said. He plans on restoring and reusing six of them, all of which have intricate designs. Two of the radiators were painted pink.

Other changes in the house include moving the bathroom fixtures around, making the kitchen larger and removing a chimney in the heart of the house.

The main layout of the bedrooms will be preserved as well as the original maple floors. All new fixtures and appliances will be installed.

Even with a large workload ahead, Keith says he will have the house complete in December. "It's ambitious," Keith said. "But, I think my wife will kill me if I don't."

One of the main attractions to Steamboat for the Wilsons was proximity to family. When Keith and Kristen move in with their three children, they will be about three houses away from the closest family member.

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