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Tie for 3rd Place: Kelly Averbeck

Tie for 3rd Place: Kelly Averbeck

buy this photoASHLEY SMITH • Times-NewsKelly Averbeck stands next to a faux hutch that she and her husband, Wayne, made in their dining room. The Averbecks spent five years renovating their home in Jerome.
  • Tie for 3rd Place: Kelly Averbeck
  • Tie for 3rd Place: Kelly Averbeck

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You’re about to meet south-central Idaho’s champion do-it-yourselfer. The Times-News asked readers about 2011 DIY projects worthy of the honor, and today we’re profiling two of our favorites. Watch for our stories about second- and first-place winners on Oct. 16 and Oct. 23, in the Times-News’ People section.
The motivation: Kelly Averbeck and her husband, Wayne, purchased a 1916 house in rural Jerome. A couple of years later, she started using discarded wood to make furniture. Her goal:To restore the home to its original early-20th century look.
Kelly has done a nice job of that. New paint and old-style homemade furniture now decorate the two-story home.
Two pieces of furniture that Kelly completed this summer include a bookcase — painted white and stressed to look worn — and a dining room hutch made from an old cabinet and discarded doors.The hutch is stained Bombay mahogany.
The doors, some of which Kelly already had in her stockpile of discarded material, fit perfectly. “It was meant to be,” she said.
The bill: Kelly estimated that it cost her around $40 to build the bookcase and hutch, because most of the material she already had or had gotten for free.
The timeline: Once she sets her mind to doing something, Kelly doesn’t waste time finishing her projects. It took her just two days on the bookcase, and another two to complete the hutch.
“I have the ideas in my mind for a long time before I do anything,” she said.
Bang for the buck: Kelly likes to stand back and admire the furniture she’s made, knowing that what could have been wasted material has instead become something practical. You’d never know where the furniture came from. It looks pricey, like something you’d buy in a specialty store.
“It looks like it should have been here in 1916, back when the house was built,” she said. “People, when they see it, are going to walk away and say ‘Wow.’”
Skills learned: Kelly always learns something when working on a project. Most difficult this time around was making sure all the wood pieces lined up evenly. When it came to using a miter saw, she relied on Wayne’s expertise.
What’s next: Kelly held an open house last week to show off her remodeled home. Everything she wanted to do to the home is pretty much finished now, she said. But give it time — she’s confident she’ll find something else to do. She might even help friends with their own home-improvement projects

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Reuse, recycle ... redecorate

buy this photoMEAGAN THOMPSON/Times-News Kelly Averbeck shows her newest creation, which she thinks will fit perfectly in the entryway to her Jerome home. The piece is made from scraps of a door and end table, among other things.

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JEROME - Kelly Averbeck had her eye on the house before it was on the market.
The Craftsman-style home, built in 1914 by Arthur and Sarah Atwood, sits just north of downtown Jerome on a small farm plot.
Kelly liked its look, and loved that it was set far back from the road. When she found out the family of the elderly owner wasn't interested in keeping the property in the family after he died, she let the family know she wanted to buy. They let her make the first offer, and by summer 2006, Kelly and her husband, Wayne, had moved in.
That move sparked their ongoing odyssey to purge and renovate the house while preserving its early 1900s style. The couple has used second-hand treasures almost exclusively to make the house their own: Decorative panels from a torn-down Las Vegas casino, for instance. A fireplace mantle from an antique store in Idaho Falls. A DVD shelf fashioned from an old sewing cabinet and a gun cabinet.
The house had a quirky, inconvenient layout, so Kelly and Wayne took down some poured concrete walls with a jackhammer and added doorways in others. They hired contractors for some projects - like exterior tasks or anything that required working around the house's oddly angled architecture - but did the bulk of interior work themselves.
Although much of the house is true to its period, Kelly isn't sure it would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. For one, the organization requires houses to keep the wood frames of the time. The Averbecks replaced the frames around their windows with more energy-efficient ones after feeling huge drafts in the kitchen.
"I'm not a purist," Kelly said.
She does enjoy using as many building materials from the original house as possible. The schoolteacher hates to throw away anything, even the two dead maple trees in the front yard. She had them cut down and milled, and is getting them turned into floorboards for the kitchen. Wayne made old windows into a doghouse.
Kelly said she has only three new pieces in the home. She and her husband found most of their furniture and decor at auctions, architectural salvage yards and yard sales. A gifted, used stained glass window brings light into the hot tub and exercise rooms. Aged hotel doors, won in an auction lot, greet visitors to the library with faded room numbers, and clawfoot tubs grace the bathrooms.
In some areas of the old house, Kelly displays her crafty side. Stenciled paint gives a wallpapered look to the bathroom and upstairs guest room. One cabinet had chipped drawers, so she made a border out of pieces of wood lattice to mask the blemishes. In the basement sits a dramatic chair composed of a coffee table, bed frame and door. Antique sink knobs are repurposed as towel racks.
Kelly's friend Michelle Blunt said Kelly is always willing to help with friends' projects, including repairing drywall and a leaky water purifier at Blunt's home. Kelly also helped Blunt ragroll paint her former house - a project she wouldn't have been brave enough to tackle without Kelly's guidance.
"I wouldn't even know what it was," Blunt said.
Armed with Kelly's advice, Blunt is more excited about tackling her own DIYprojects.
It's a favor Kelly is happy to provide.
"Ilove to share,"she said. "Ilove to see what other people do."
That's not to say the projects are always easy. Both Wayne and Kelly have gotten fed up with some - like the ceiling panels Wayne installed.
"There are days when we're both frustrated,"Kelly said, especially because they have to live in the middle of the construction mess.
But she's excited for next year, when they plan to tackle the kitchen and finish up remaining projects. She hopes to be done by August, although finances might stall them.
For a century-old house, what's another month or two?
Melissa Davlin may be reached at 208-735-3234 ormelissa.davlin@lee.net.
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