Originally published March 7th
EXCELSIOR, Minn. (WCCO) – One good thing emerging from the pandemic is that many people are drawn to things they love to do – and they still do.
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For a father-daughter team, this means renovating old houses. And some really old houses.
“If I do something outside of teaching, it’s something I love,” said Kurt Weber.
During his career, Kurt was a teacher and hockey coach, but remodeling is his true love.
“The new build is fine, but the remodel is a fun challenge,” Kurt said.
In this case, the challenge is an Excelsior-house, which was built in 1858 – the year in which it was Minnesota a federal state. And when you’re working on something this old, it helps to have a new set of eyes.
“We laugh when we go through the rooms, because you can tell from what era they come,” Alisha Perkins said. “This was definitely renovated in the 70s. Here are the 80s and 90s. “
Years ago, Kurt teamed up with his daughter Alisha to build and remodel homes. They quickly learned that Kurt is skilled in construction while Alisha is skilled in design.
“We made a bathroom two,” said Alisha as she surveyed her current project.
The father-daughter duo worked so well together that their striking results have been featured in magazines. They call themselves the dovetail builders because a dovetail joint is one of the strongest in woodworking.
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When Alisha friend the old Excelsior Bed and Breakfast bought, she wanted a crew with strong ties.
“When they bought it, they said, ‘Would you be interested to carry out a project of this magnitude?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, but I have to bring a contractor that I like [laughs]!’” Alisha said.
“We’re completely different, and honestly that’s the beauty of it,” Kurt said. “We don’t really argue about it because she wins straight away.”
Jokes aside, it requires special skill to modernize a 165 years old house, while preserving its character. Decore bathroom, dining room and kitchen. Railings and other things need to be brought up to date. The crew used as much as possible in order, keeping a budget.
“There used to be a closet here, so the room seemed a lot smaller to me. So we took that out,” Alisha said, noting another change.
While these spring renovations are taking place, they’re not quite sure what the new purpose of the home will be. But that’s not necessarily the most important thing.
“That’s my favorite thing. My dad is one of my favorite people in my life,” Alisha said.
For Kurt, the feeling is mutual. Because not only the work is solid. It’s also the bond.
“What a blessing. That’s one of the many things I love doing and doing with her,” he said. “She’s so talented, believe it or not, it takes a lot of the pressure off me.”
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Kurt and Alisha will also be painting the outside of the house – from pink to navy blue. They will be ready in the next few months so that the house can be used for a wedding.