Preserving Charm in Old Town

HighCraft’s thoughtful redesign of a Craftsman cottage
By Becky Jensen


Chris and Stefanie loved their 1920 bungalow so much they got married and hosted their wedding reception in the backyard. But time had taken its toll on the quaint old house; the crumbling fireplace, musty master bath, and leaky single-pane windows needed attention, not to mention the awkward kitchen. When they decided to remodel their 2,400-sq.ft. home, Chris and Stefanie vowed to honor its Craftsman heritage and character.

“I love having an old house…because it has history. And we’re keepers of its history,” says Stefanie. “Chris found this newspaper article that showed it was built the summer of 1920.” The article also revealed that their home was framed and finished by a carpentry class at Colorado Agricultural College, now Colorado State University.

“We knew we needed a company that was going to take care of the house. Do right by our house and its history,” Stefanie adds. “That was definitely part of our decision to hire HighCraft Builders. We wouldn’t have felt comfortable with just any company. We knew HighCraft would do the job the right way.”

HighCraft’s in-house team of architects, interior designers, production managers and experienced craftsmen partnered with the couple to modernize their home, yet preserve its original charm.

“When I saw it for the first time, I burst into tears,” shares Stefanie, describing her joy as she walked through the front door of her renovated home. “It was like a dream, really.”

“Everything about our house is better now,” agrees Chris. When asked to identify their favorite parts of the remodel, he says, “There’s so many of them, but I think the kitchen…it was so well laid out, and so much nicer than we could have ever imagined.”

“The Wolf stove has been a dream of mine forever,” says Stefanie. “And the bay window!” she adds, thrilled that HighCraft moved the sink under the new  window with views of the backyard. “And now, to stand there and do dishes and look out the window. It’s really cool to have a memory of dancing with my dad out there under that tree.

Every member of our family was here [for our wedding], and all of our friends from far and wide… everybody here in this one place,” she says. “And now we have those memories every time we look out the bay window.”

The couple also appreciates the transformation of their master bathroom into a spa-like sanctuary. “Let’s talk about the shower,” Stefanie says with a grin. “That shower is life changing. We had no idea how bad it was before. You get used to living in a situation for so many years and then when it’s better, you’re like ‘wow.’ Every shower now is the best shower of my life.”

Another favorite part of their remodel is a livable basement, complete with spare bedroom, more functional laundry room, and new wet bar and wine cellar.

In addition to refinishing the hardwood floors, refurbishing the fireplace and restoring the original French doors, HighCraft rewired the old push-button electrical switches safely to code.

The team also discovered and protected hidden treasures found in the walls and under the stairs. “HighCraft exposed a pencil marking on a brick in the basement where the old owner wrote his name and a date,” says Chris, deeply touched by the team’s level of respect for the home’s history.

They also repurposed two of the original single-pane windows, framing them into a shared wall between the kitchen and basement stairwell. The custom feature not only creates more natural light, it pays tribute to the home’s original craftsmen.

“It was more than just a builder-client relationship,” Stefanie says. “I felt like HighCraft cared about our house, and really cared about us.”

“You hear about these nightmares,” she says, “from people who say, ‘good luck, we hope your marriage survives the remodel.’ That was not our experience at
all with HighCraft. The process was so easy. It was fun. Honestly, I kinda want to do it again!”

“And we heard horror stories about other companies nickel and diming people,” Chris adds. “With HighCraft, we knew the quote we were given would be the quote we would pay, so there were no surprises.”

“All the problems, all the old stress points, have been fixed,” Stefanie says. “This house has a lot of meaning to us. Now that it’s our dream house, I can’t imagine ever living anywhere else.”

“And now that we’ve done the remodel, this house will never be torn down. No one will ever scrape and rebuild – because of the quality of the work that was done,” Stefanie says. “This house is going to be around for another hundred years, thanks to HighCraft.”

Becky Jensen is a Northern Colorado writer who lives and works in a little cabin on a big river in Poudre Canyon. More info at