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OUR HISTORY

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HAND-HEWN LOG HOME WAS BUILT IN THE 1800's

In 1989 we purchased a Wisconsin farm which had two houses on the property. The house we live in was built in 1903 and the original house was a two-story, hand-hewn log structure.  The Magnuson family built the original house in the 1800’s when they emigrated from “Smoland Prairie,” a province in Sweden.  That is why we named our inn – "Smoland Prairie Homestead Inn."

 

No one had lived in the house for 50 years except squirrels.  The squirrels had eaten holes in the wooden floors upstairs.  There was no glass in most of the windows and the doors would not open or close.  The foundation was crumbling, too.  Renovating the house promised to be a challenge, an adventure and a "dream come true" for us.  The first thing we did was put plastic on all the windows and storm doors to preserve the old inside doors.  We have taken pictures of the house before and after for people to see and compare when they come.  

Getting Started

When our last son graduated from high school in 1996, we decided to take out a loan and really get started.  We first had to have a house moving company come out to dig under the house, lift it up (it weighed 50 tons), and then put a basement in.  We also had to put a furnace in to keep the basement warm, so it would not cave in when the frost went out of the ground.  (House Moving Co: Bill  Rouney, Cushing, WI, 715-825-3822).  

(Basement: Oachs Construction Inc., Grantsburg, WI, 715-689-2526).

Next came the new roof.  During an earlier storm, a tree had fallen on the house.  It displaced one log upstairs and one branch went through the roof.  The roof had to be taken off.  There were shingles and pine wood shakes on the house.  Some repairs had to be made to the roof and then new green shingles were put on.  New steel eaves were put on, too, which elimated painting and also kept out squirrels.  

(Flodin Construction Co., Siren, WI: 715-349-5062).

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Interior Work

Beginning in the Spring, our family and friends spent 3 months gutting out the house, removing plaster, laths and 10 layers of wallpaper.  There were also oak, tongue-and-groove wood thick on the ceilings with the 10 layers of wallpaper on them.  I took the entire ceiling wood outside and soaked the wallpaper with a lawn hose, then removed it with a paint scraper.  

We found that the wood had the original mix paint on the boards.  We then used the boards on some of the walls in the house.  We also had a wardrobe made from the wood for one of the bedrooms, because there are no closets at all in the house.  We took all the chimneys out and saved the old brick hoping to put them to use elsewhere.  

Exterior Work

We had two porches that had fallen off the house years ago restored.  We put a small screen porch on the back of the house, using an old screen door that was one of two that had come from an old store years ago.  The door is narrow and tall, being very old fashioned.  This porch is where we sit to relax and watch the cows and horses out back.  We put an enclosed porch on the front of the house with a high ceiling and we put up the same tongue and groove pine we used as an entry way to the old log home.  This old door was the original door on our house and had been removed when Magnuson's remodeled.  Luckily for us, they saved the lovely windows and door when they remodeled years ago.  The window in the entryway is also from the old store and has advertising on it.

Next we put in the drain field and hooked up the water from the well to the house.  We took one of the downstairs bedrooms and made that into a bathroom.  

Fixtures and Finishing Touches

We now begin installing the plumbing: old fixtures in the bathroom, a clawfoot bathtub, pedestal sink and porcelain toilet that hangs on the wall.  We also wanted to install a bathroom upstairs in a small closet but were unable to put the toilet in because all the necessary pipes would have had to come down in the middle of the kitchen ceiling.  Instead we made this closet into a small dressing room with a sink, where one can freshen up, apply makeup or whatever.  (Gary Beecroft, Siren, WI., 715-648-5551) put in the water.  Ken Strabel, Webster, WI, 715-349-2990 put in the drain field).  

 

We took all the linoleum off the hardwood floors.  I cleaned them up, leaving all the old stains and things the way they were.  I then polyurethaned the floor.  We put old oriental rugs down on the hardwood floors in the parlor and dining room.  

Scattered rugs were put down on other floors to help keep the wood floors nice.  We left the bathroom floor with the old gray paint on it.  

We then had to think about heating the rest of the house, for the coming weather.  We installed a new furnace when we did the basement, but were having trouble with it and decided to put another new furnace in (more and more money all the time).  Then we ran all the heat ducts, cutting holes between the downstairs floor and the basement to put vents in.  We ran heat ducts to the upstairs through the hole in the dinning room floor where we had taken the chimney out.  All the rest of the tongue and groove pine was put up.  Then I polyurethaned all of that wood.  (Joe Johnson, Grantsburg, WI, 715-463-2078 put in the furnace.  The Hennessey Boys, Elk River, MN, 612-441-5365 put in the entire ductwork and central air).  

Dressing It Up

When all that was done and cleaned up, I was able to start decorating which was the most fun for me.  I have tried to use things from back in the 1800's to furnish the house and when most people come they say "this is like taking a step back in time," or "I can remember my Grandmother had one of those that she use to use."

We began to think about insulating the house before cold weather set in.  We had to remove all the old siding and then wrap the house in Trivac (or Tyvec) before Dan Flodin could come out and install insulation and white vinyl siding.  We could not have done all the work without the help of our two sons and their friends on Labor Day weekend.  The old siding was pine lap siding with the paint worn off nd it looked really neat.  I tool all the nails out of the siding, which took me two weekends but it was worth it.  We knew we wanted the old siding not he farm somewhere.  

We decided to finally finish our wrap around porch and that old siding was the finish ing touch on the inside of the porch.  We had purchased most of our lumber from Johnson Lumber of Siren.  They told us they had some old cedar wood available in different sizes but that there was water stains on the wood.  We took all they had and Dan, alongg with our son, John, installed all the cedar on the inside ceiling of the porch.  It turned out more beautifully than we ever dreamed.  Next, we put up two ceiling fans and hung old tools on the cedar.

There was some siding left over, which we put to use when we converted an old chicken coop into a Garden Shop.  My husband hung the siding on the walls of the shop.  This is along the East side of the house. We also put up a fence with an arbor and laid a cement walkway to and from the shop.

Lastly, we fixed up the old summer kitchen on the farm.  Dracy Strack of Grantsburg, 715-689-2798 was the biggest help in doing this.  He is a "Jack of all Trades" and can do almost anything.  My husband, Shamus, helped him to lift the old kitchen and put a nw foundation under it.  Then they put the old floor back down over the cement.  We all worked on the inside putting some of the old subfloor boards from the Granary on the walls along with some of the old siding from the house.

And finally...

...after much hard work and many setbacks and disappointments, we are open for business.  We rent the house for business meetings, parties, luncheons, and welcome people to stay overnight or longer.  We also sell antiques and many gift items in many of our shops on the farm.  It is lovely and peaceful walking through the woods behind the farm and hayrides are also available. 

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Year 2000 Update

We offer hayrides that accommodate up to 15 people at one time.  We take them out back of our 165-acre farm where we follow beautiful wooded trails.  In the future, we hope to have horse-drawn sleigh rides.  This type of horse is very expensive and does not fit into our  budget at this time.

We realize that although people enjoy the history of the farm and the antiques, they also may prefer sone modern day conveniences.  We moved a summer kitchen from a neighboring farm and converted it into a "Sauna/Steam Room."  We also installed a hot tub for those who like to relax in that manner.  

We continue to make changes to our log house,  We found we needed more space for our antiques and have taken over a small red horse barn that had been the granary many years before.  There are five rooms downstairs and two rooms up.  We use this for our Antique Shop.  Presently the building is unheated but those who choose may still go through in the Winter.

We keep horse on the farm and found we needed more room for them, also.  Our horse, Miss Fealty, foaled last April presenting us with Sunny Boy.  She will produce another foal next Spring.  Gestation period is twelve months.  We converted our large machine shed into a horse barn.  We will soon offer horse related items for sale in the barn.  

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Year 2003 Update

In 2003, we had remodeled the kitchen in our house (which was built in 1903).  We took the wall out which was between the kitchen and back porch and made the back porch into a breakfast area.  We also put a gas fire place in and six big windows – which you can see around the farm when you sit to have breakfast.

When we remodeled the kitchen, we also updated all the appliances: black refrigerator, black built-in oven, black built-in dishwasher, and black microwave.  The stove that we used is an old gas one which I still have to light with a match (it is green, tan, and black).  

Larry Merrifield (715-327-4491) was the carpenter, he also built all the new maple kitchen cabinets with glass door fronts.  We put pine v-joint on the ceiling and half the walls (make it warm and cozy looking).  We were able to help Larry do the gutting out of the kitchen.  I did all the clean-up each day and was also able to do the finishing of the walls and cabinets to save some money.  We also tried to mix the old and new tougher, the old gas store to cook on, an old oak church altar which is use for an island.  We put a butcher block top on it and we also used a 8' high hutch that came out of an old bar.  

The state came out and checked everything ad we were able to get our B&B license now I can make breakfast for all that stay in the Inn.  We also have fixed up a room in our house for just a single person to stay.  We have had a few single people  stay for a night or two (that worked out well).

When the weather is nice, I serve breakfast out on our big wraparound porch or in our new breakfast area off the kichen or I can serve breakfast over in the old house too.  I have also done some picnic basket breakfasts which guest could take out to Crex Wildlife Area so they could watch the birds.

We have had a lot more people staying at the B&B – it is so nice to meet everyone from all over the county.  We are able to sit down with them and talk over breakfast about all kind of things.  

Year 2004 Update

We took out the hot tub (which the state wouldn't let our guest use).  We have now changed that room into a "Gather Room" for people to use.  It is right next to the fire pit area so if it rains you can also sit in this room.  We put more side walk in around the old. house.

Put in some flower gardens with arch ways.  We had a wedding on the farm in October and have another wedding scheduled for October 2005, too.  The wedding party took our new hay wagon to the fairgrounds where the reception and dance were to be held. We have 156 acres of a working beef farm where we also sell our own "Buelingo Beef" off the farm.  Whole, halves, or quarters and lean ground beef.  We are licensed to sell right off the farm.  We have been selling more every year and we needed to expand.

Our nephew found a walk-in freezer 12'x9' by 8' high, then we had a building built around it which will also have a little store front where people can come in to pick up meat.  We do not process the meat on the farm.  We have all the processing done by Daeffler's Quality Meats (they are a small family-owned meat market) in Frederic, WI.  We are going to have ground beef on hand all the time.  We are going to try to have steaks, beef sticks and summer sausage on hand too.  

The summer kitchen (years ago, woman would do all of their cooking and canning in this separate kitchen so as not to heat up the house).  This was the building that we used to sell our beef out of before.  Now this summer kitchen will be set up to offer kitchen items and some collectible kitchen items for sale too.  

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