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A weather-friendly porch is a place where Mary Newman said you can sit and "watch the world go by."

Warm & Welcoming

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When Mary Newman decided to buy a second home, large enough to fit company in, she chose one with the potential for a big return.

The Detroit Lakes woman is already living in a condo on West Lake Drive, but she bought a four-bedroom brick house that she transformed into something a modern family would be attracted to.

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The house, also located on West Lake Drive, had original bright orange shag carpeting, a closed up small kitchen and old bathrooms that needed a lot of work.

"But I could see that it was quite nice if those things were fixed," she said.

So she knocked down a wall to open up the kitchen to the living and dining rooms, put in all new Asian walnut flooring and new carpeting, modern appliances and new cabinets.

"The kitchen was much tighter and much less appealing," she said.

Newman spent quite some time this summer in this house while finishing up the renovations in her condo, part of the reason why she made such apparent transformations.

"I cannot stand to live in an ugly place," she said with a laugh.

The spacious open floor plan she created in the new home gives it an open and airy feel that brightens up the place, although she still left a few original parts of the house intact.

The stone fireplace, which is noticeable right away from the foyer, takes up a large portion of the living room. It's one of the things that showed Newman how much potential the old house had.

"That was one of the things I thought was charming," she said of the fireplace.

Newman also left the vaulted ceiling and original wood beams that now complement the new open floor plan.

As someone with passion for home decorating and design, Newman said although this West Lake Drive home is a place where her 19 grandchildren and nine great-grand children can come and visit, she bought it with the intention of selling it in the future. She transformed it as much as she could to bring it up 30 years into the present.

Newman added all new light fixtures, which she said can make or break a room, renovated the entire kitchen and remodeled both the bathrooms.

The layout of the bathrooms is a bit quirky, but what makes one of them unique is the '70s-style, yellow mustard-colored sink and tub.

"A lot of people kinda get a kick out of that old sink," Newman said. "I don't think it was worth taking the tub and sink out."

Compared to her current condo where she played more with colors, Newman decided to keep things a little more neutral for this house in case someone is interested in buying it.

"If you get too crazy with colors people won't wanna buy it," she said, adding that they may not be able to visualize themselves or their furniture in the house.

Aside from some of the oriental rugs, which are Newman's favorite type of rugs, she kept things clean and simple in all of the rooms.

After decorating and designing her own homes for years, she's confident that whether she buys a home to live in or as investment, it's still a warm and welcoming place.

"In the last 20 years, I'm OK, but before that, it was pretty hit and miss," Newman said. "I learned a lot from my mistakes."

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