Thief River Falls woman has family friendly farmstead
THIEF RIVER FALLS -- Faye Auchenpaugh's home welcomes guests. From the house where she lives, to the guesthouse where her children and their families stay when they visit, to the screened-in pavilion where she entertains friends, cheery, comfort ...
THIEF RIVER FALLS -- Faye Auchenpaugh's home welcomes guests.
From the house where she lives, to the guesthouse where her children and their families stay when they visit, to the screened-in pavilion where she entertains friends, cheery, comfort greets visitors and makes them feel at home.
Outside, for example, several perennial flower gardens scattered throughout her yard burst with blooms of bright yellow, orange and purple. A horseshoe, signifying good luck, hangs over the front door of Auchenpaugh's home and a pair of wooden shoes from Netherlands sits on the right side of the door.
A multitude of green shuttered windows allow natural light to pour inside the house.
"I like light rooms," Auchenpaugh said. "I like being able to see outside and look at the grass and trees.
Inside, bright, white built-in bookcases and cupboards and wide wood planks give the rooms a farmhouse feel. She and her husband Oliver (now deceased) used planks from the haymow of the old barn that used to be part of their farmstead south of Thief River Falls.
"It's suitable," Faye said. "Everyone think it's an old house that we've restored."
Instead, she and Oliver built their house only 12 years ago after living on the East Coast and the Virgin Islands for many years.
Faye grew up on the farm and moved away for about 30 years before returning in 1996. The couple, who were both experienced at building projects, did much of the construction work in their home from the ground up. One of Auchenpaugh's past building projects included building a boat that they lived on for several years on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and in the Virgin Islands.
Faye not only helped with the framing on their house, but also the cement work.
"I laid all the block for the concrete basement," Faye said. Meanwhile, Oliver, a retired missile engineer, knew how to do the plumbing and electrical work.
Faye, who has experience not only in construction, but also an eye for decorating, added extra touches to their home, such as stenciling the edges of the wooden stairs that leads to the second floor. She also made slip covers for some of the furniture and married together antique, pieces from her parents' home and furniture and knickknacks she collected over the years.
The light over the table in the sunroom, for example, was in her parents' farmhouse and a bench on the front porch used to be in the general store in Hazel, Minn., a town that used to be down the road from Thief River Falls.
The guesthouse a few feet from her farmhouse also contains items that Auchenpaugh has collected over the years. The building, which was designed to look like a barn, is over the couple's two-car garage. Stairs lead upstairs to the living quarters. One set of stairs leads to the living room foyer and another to a bedroom that does double duty as Faye's office.
Besides the bedroom, the guesthouse has a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom and comes in handy when Faye's children and their families or her brothers and her sisters visit.
Like the farmhouse, Faye has decorated the guesthouse in a way that gives it a homey, older feel. The wooden dining room table, for example, sits on bright red area rug. Behind it sits a corner cupboard with glass doors that was in Faye's parents' house.
Across the yard from the farmhouse and guesthouse, a wooden, screened-in pavilion sits on the ground where Faye's parents' house once stood. The steps that lead from the patio to the pavilion once were the front steps to the house.
Inside the pavilion, a handmade concrete block fireplace provides warmth during the early spring and fall and a knotty pine ceiling gives it a rustic, lodge atmosphere. Several groups of chairs and tables spaced around the middle of the pavilion and a handful of bar stools along the edge provide places for people to sit. Faye has entertained as many as 50 guests in the pavilion,
The pavilion, guesthouse and her farmhouse, all were designed with family and friends in mind, Auchenpaugh said.
"It's the family farm. I feel like I've helped bring it back to a place my sister and brothers and parents' grandchildren can enjoy coming to."
Bailey writes for special features sections. Reach her at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .