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Fall Home & Garden: Heaven on the hill


Fri, Sep 26th, 2003
Posted in Features

Larry Dahl says he knew he wanted to buy the land for his new home the first time he saw it. While Dahl liked his home and neighborhood in Rushford, he was drawn to the land formerly owned by Obert Colbenson on top of the Highway 43 hill. Larry nestled his new home on the brow of the hill; the front of the home greets guests in a low slung, casual manner while the back of the home takes full advantage of the natural scenery with its two-story multi-windowed exposure.

Dahl’s home abounds in personal details. Warm, rich colored stone from the Black Hills adds life to the exterior of the home. Dahl had been on his way to a class reunion in Colorado when he decided to take in the sights of South Dakota such as Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse sculpture. As he was leaving he decided to stop at one of the multitude of stone shops. He brought home several samples, got his estimates together of how much he needed and his stone arrived two days after he ordered it. With a rough, grained, texture, that stone trim makes a perfect spot for birds to attempt nesting.

Dahl has put much of himself into his home. With experience in construction from previous projects such as his remodel of the former Eleanor Davidson home, Dahl tackled much of the work in his new home. Once the home was studded up, Dahl did most of the electrical and plumbing work as well as all of the insulating, plastic vapor barrier, and painting. His brother, Robert Dahl, helped him with sheet-rocking the lower level and staining and varnishing the woodwork. Carrol Bakken put on a lot of the trim and created a curved glass block and concrete shower area in the lower bathroom.

Much of the home is tiled, showing the workmanship of Bruce and Brad Williams. Other flooring in the home consists of hardwood and plush carpeting.

Many homes have a simple poured, unfinished, concrete garage floor. Dahl, however, opted to finish his floor with a Rustoleum epoxy with black and white “confetti” sprinkled on it. The result was an easy to clean, dressed-up look.

Another personal, prized detail in Dahl’s home is the arrowhead collection his uncle, Ernest Jameson started when he was four. Many of the arrowheads came from the South Fork area and his farm. Dahl displays the collection in a cabinet in his family room.

In building his home, Dahl paid close attention to energy conservation. The lower level walls were built using green block—large, foam four-foot long, Lego-like blocks. The blocks were secured with re-rod and then concrete was poured into their hollows. With a plastic stripping every eighteen inches, the walls easily accommodate sheet-rocking.

“When I build my next house, I’ll do the whole thing that way,” Dahl declared. He stressed the sturdy design, “It’d never blow down!” and commented that it is virtually soundproof with no wind or other outside sounds.

Double-paned H-windows add to energy conservation with little or no air leakage. The H design allows windows to swing completely around for easy cleaning (conserving “people” energy as well!) “Norway” glass doors, specifically designed for cold weather use, can be locked open in any position and provide security protection with their three locks at different points on the door. Under the tile floors in the lower bathroom and the sunroom, Dahl has installed in-floor heat, adding to the coziness of his home.

Storage and space were priorities for Larry as he built his home as well. A large closet complete with washer and dryer are strategically located just inside the home from the garage entrance. According to Larry, he can just walk in and throw his dirty clothes immediately into the washer.

The four-bedroom home abounds with closets and storage space. The master bedroom boasts a huge walk in closet with room for a dresser as well. Each of the closets has its own lighting, making it even easier to access the storage areas. Downstairs storage makes use of space under the staircase in addition to several in wall closets. In a unique move, Larry chose to not fill in the area under his front sidewalk with the customary sand. Instead, he added a door from the lower level of his home and used the area running along the length of the house for additional storage.

Dahl’s home also boasts two garages, one on top of the other with another outbuilding for tractor and caterpillar storage.

Since the location was what attracted Larry to the building site, he has made a point of incorporating the scenery into his home. The kitchen sink is in the corner of the kitchen with large windows overlooking a field often populated with deer and turkeys. A spotting scope ready for use has taken up residence near a large patio door off the dining area. The jacuzzi in the master bath is likewise built in a corner with windows framing nature’s self-portrait, needing only a few candles to make the view perfection.

Wild flowers edge the space between his upper driveway and the driveway to the back of his home. Dahl plans to seed more of his yard with wild flowers calculating he can save time mowing the lawn while adding natural, year-round color to his home.

With a great view of the valley, Dahl enjoys spending time at his home, “I see turkeys everyday, but I always stop to look at them.” He notes that he spends most evenings in his yard until sunset, commenting, “I might be turning into an introvert.” While that might be a stretch, it’s obvious that Dahl has built a home he truly enjoys coming home to!

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