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An Even bigger dream home

When Deb Beiswenger was a little girl, she told her father "That's the house I want, when I grow up." It was a house by the river in East Grand Forks which sparked Deb's young imagination.

When Deb Beiswenger was a little girl, she told her father "That's the house I want, when I grow up." It was a house by the river in East Grand Forks which sparked Deb's young imagination.

Decades later, Deb's father-in-law called her and told her he saw an ad for a home that had all the space the Beiswengers would need for their growing family.

"As he described it," Deb recalls, "I knew it was the house I had dreamed of owning."

But it was even better. The house had been moved to a new location, still in East Grand Forks, but no longer as close to the river. It now had a full, unfinished basement that would provide more than enough room for the Beiswengers.

Deb's husband, Jon, initially was skeptical because the home definitely needed work, but the two contractors in the family, Deb's father, the late Victor Kaste, and Deb's brother-in-law, Johnny Mero, assured him the house was sound and the foundation was solid. Jon and Deb made an offer and signed papers a mere six hours after the house was on the market in 1992.


One project has followed another for 14 years. The Beiswengers started by replacing the siding and windows, gradually completed more and more along with redecorating. They finally completed the kitchen and upper level this year.

Dishes, dishes, dishes

Deb's passion for collecting dishes can be seen in nearly every nook and cranny of the three-story home. She began with a tea set that belonged to her grandmother and continues to find treasures at antique shops.

"Even my 13-year-old son, Brandon, gets into it," Deb says. Although Deb says Brandon often finds the best dishes at antique stores, he doesn't have dishes displayed in his bedroom.

Today Deb has about a dozen complete sets of dishes that her family uses. Some have a holiday theme while others, such as her cabbage dishes, simply are unique. Deb doesn't want to begin to count how many dishes are displayed throughout her home, and she admits there are more sets in some of the closets.

Deb's first project with broken dishes was to cover the mailbox. Since then, she has used chipped dishes to redesign many surfacestable tops, the upstairs bathroom vanity, and night stands.

Soon she had a new dilemmawhat to do with all the good cups that matched the broken dishes. Jon used a drill press, inherited from Deb's father, to penetrate through the porcelain cups. In a few short weeks, Jon completed several ornamental lamps using the cups.

Ground floor


"We live in a 'craftsman-style' home," Deb says. Incorporating as much original detail as possible including the carpeting on the main floor has given the old house both warmth and charm. The kitchen, great room, sun porch, master bedroom, guest bedroom, Brandon's bedroom and a bathroom are all on the main level.

Each room has its own thememost with floral or outdoor elementsand, of course, dishes. The sun porch still has original terrazzo floors and is decorated with sunflowers. Although small, the cozy master bedroom gets lots of light from leaded glass windows which open into the sun porch.

The guest bedroom initially served as Bethany's bedroom, when the Beiswengers moved into the house in 1994. Today it now sports a moose theme with pinecone dishes (that had been a promotional item at the former Piggly Wiggly grocery store years ago). Brandon, the youngest son, selected a Texaco theme for his room.

Johnny Mero remodeled the kitchen in March 2006, adding new appliances, countertops and using bead board to cover the heavily textured walls. Deb selected her kitchen colors to coordinate with a refinished propane stove used to display her cabbage dishes. Finished basement

Fortunately, the Beiswengers didn't begin to finish the basement until after the 1997 flood.

"If the house hadn't been moved," Deb reminisced, "it would have been completely destroyed by the flood!"

Deb's father installed an old barn window in the interior wall of the family room in the basement as well as shutters and window boxes. He also refinished a cabinet for the laundry room as a picket fence and others in the storeroom.

Since his older brother, Brad, moved out, Brent moved to the larger of the two downstairs bedrooms. The older boys had input regarding the themes for their rooms as well as the bathroom, which features a woodsy theme with deer.


Final project with Dad

Deb has enjoyed doing woodworking projects with her father nearly all her life. One of the last things they did together before Deb's dad passed away in March was building a screen porch attached to the back of the garage last fall.

"It's my favorite spot," Deb says. "We have tarps that snap over the screens to make it winterized and to keep out the rain." Even with the white tarps on all three sides, the room fills with light on a bright day.

"Dad wore me out," Deb recalled. "He would work on it all day and want to come back after supper."

Quaint space upstairs

After her father passed away, Deb used her father's tools and worked with her husband, Jon, to completely finish the upstairs with a vintage kitchen, living room, bathroom and a colorful guest bedroom.

Hooks in a nook in the hallway were converted into another unique way of displaying antique dishes. Deb displays more dishes on a porch rail hung above her grandmother's buffet in the upstairs living room.

Always looking for a great deal, Deb said the bed in the upstairs guest bedroom was purchased at a junk shop for $35 and the chair was a gift from her neighbor. Pointing to a complete set of antique dishes, Deb's eyes sparkled as she revealed she had purchased them at a garage sale for $5.

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