By Denise DePaolo
Photos by Liz Long
On a peaceful, lilac-dotted property, just south of Brookings, is the 4,800 square-foot ranch-style home of Better Beer. Betty, a retired attorney-turned-painter, and husband Woody, a veterinarian with a practice in Brookings, moved to the area from Illinois in 1996 with their now-grown son, Jake.
Betty says, at the time, theirs was just one of two homes in the area for sale, so they bought it practically site-unseen. “I saw the asparagus patch out there and said, ‘We’ll take it!’ I didn’t think much about how much needed to be done in the house, but there was a lot.”
The Beers have renovated and redone nearly the whole house during their 19 years of residence. One major project was the kitchen, where Betty began our tour. She says an architect was commissioned to plan the space, which at first glance, looks like a typical updated country home kitchen. But after a moment of glancing around, the custom touches become apparent.
“Because I’m tall, I raised the counters by about three inches. What I discovered is that the standard is from about 1930 and I figure, we’ve been eating better food and more vitamins and most people are taller than they were in the 30s,” Betty said, motioning to the waist-high surfaces.
Arlington carpenter Mike Fuhr created the cabinetry from douglas fir, with some personal touches. The countertops appear sparse, until Betty lifts up sliding doors at the back, which reveal all of the small appliances that clutter most kitchen surfaces. Another custom element is the drawers. They are incredibly deep and can hold up to 100 pounds, which means less lifting heavy items into overhead storage spaces.
The kitchen also features intricate custom stained glass, created by an artist in Howard, which reflects the nearby fireplace’s tilework. It is one of the few built-in artful features in the otherwise restrained, understated home, which acts as a perfect space to display Betty’s extensive, impressive art collection.
To read the full article, pick up the September issue of 605 Magazine or click here. To view more images, continue to scroll.