A labor of love
November 4, 2021
When my husband and I first met Lowell Tuma, he had just bought the house at 250 West 1st Street in Nelson and said he planned to renovate and sell it. My husband and I were skeptical. That house was a mess, and not even I would have attempted it. We've met many people who have said the same thing about homes such as this one. They either covered up the problems or tucked tail and ran from them.
Lowell said, "Taking on a 2,000 square foot home was a bit crazy on my part, but it's been a great experience and was therapeutic." He originally moved back to Nebraska to be close to his mother and father, who have since died. Currently, he lives in Grand Island, and his family is in Kansas City. He works as the national sales manager at Merrick Machine Company and travels a lot. Between work and his money pit, his wife hopes he will soon finish the project and sell the home.
Lowell has worked in construction his whole life but claims he does not have the vision needed to design the layout on his own. With some guidance from a friend and a little help from the hardware store, his vision took life on paper. Currently, the home is not easy on the eyes, but with a little imagination, once finished, it will be the envy of the neighborhood.
He started on the home's exterior, repairing siding, replacing the roof, and windows and giving it a little curb appeal. In the beginning, he thought he wouldn't change much, but as work progressed, he found the home had little to no insulation, wiring needed replacing and a chimney needed to be removed. The decision was made to gut the house.
Once the plaster was gone, he hired a local electrician to install all the electrical, plumbing, heating and central air. While removing the chimney, Lowell realized it was holding up the entire second story of the home. The removal was halted while temporary support walls were built. An engineer was then hired to make sure the structure was sound. The chimney was just one of many setbacks Lowell has faced during this renovation. Currently, he is installing insulation and drywall in the upstairs and things are starting to take shape.
Lowell said after you have put so much of yourself into something, it's hard just to let it go. This is the first property he has owned, and he has enjoyed working on it. He hopes all his work gives the home another 120 years of life.
Now let's take a little tour. Upon entering the door, a little entryway opens into the living area or family room, as I would call it. The downstairs has been opened up to provide a large family room, kitchen and dining area, full bath, laundry room, walk-in pantry, and mudroom. At one time, there were two rooms at the front of the house. Now it is one large room which has the original hardwood floors. Walking past the family room and the staircase set in the middle of the house, is the dining area and large kitchen, complete with an island. The wall to the east of the stairs was removed to open it up to the family room, giving it an open living feel.
Off the kitchen is a sliding glass door which leads to the little screen porch. To the left of the kitchen's dining area is a large bath, a separate laundry room and a walk-in pantry. At the back of the home is a mudroom.
Upstairs the landing was moved back a bit to allow for a little more space in the once crowded area.
At the front of the home, where there had once been two bedrooms, is the master suite. This room will have two walk-in closets and a large bathroom with a sizeable walk-in waterfall shower. In the other two bedrooms, closets have been added to allow for more storage. Adecent size three-quarter bathroom and linen cabinet are at the end of the hall.
When Lowell first purchased the home, he was told over and over there was not enough storage. I do believe he has resolved this issue.