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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | May 23, 2018
Spring Home Builders

Hammes builds house across driveway

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Apr 25, 2018
Rosemary Hammes and her dog Sully are seen in the kitchen of her new house.

If you’re a friend of Richland resident Rosemary Hammes, don’t worry about finding her new home. It’s across the driveway from her old one.

And the home isn’t necessarily for her. Hammes is fine in her current digs. The new building is more for accommodating her three children and their families when they visit.

In addition to needing more room for eight grandkids, Hammes also needed more room for her other treasures: her classic cars. She has a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge and a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Plus, she keeps good care of her dad’s 1964 Ford Falcon.

With those two concerns in mind, Hammes built a house with an attached three-car garage with space for a shop. Construction on the house began in May 2017 and was move-in ready by November.

Hammes’s three children are: daughter Jennifer Hammes Reed (wife to Jeremy) of Farmington, Minnesota; son AJ Hammes (husband to Mandy) of Packwood; and daughter Renee Hammes Grimm (wife to Phil) of Norwalk.

AJ was the one who gave Mom the idea of building a garage for the cars. Renee suggested putting a kitchen on the side for family gatherings, and eventually that led into adding a living room, bathroom and bedroom.

The garage is on the east side of the building. A patio and awning surround the north and west sides. The front door of the house is on the north side, and it leads into a big room with the kitchen on the east and the living room on the west. The house has in-floor heating not just in the living area but also in the garage. The garage is air-conditioned, too, to keep the humidity down. After all, Hammes is proud of these cars! She and AJ like to tinker on the cars from time to time. “Eventually, we plan to add cupboards in the shop,” she said. “We have a drain in the garage so we can wash the cars.”

If someone accidentally leaves the garage light on, a motion-sensor automatically turns it off after a certain amount of time. The garage is big enough to house a mower and her son-in-laws’ trucks when they visit.

Hammes thought about putting two bedrooms in the living quarters, but her children talked her out of it. The family realized that two bedrooms would be too small, and it made more sense to go with one big room. Not only that, but if Hammes decided to move across the driveway years from now, she’d only need one bedroom anyway.

“When you get older, you don’t need that much space,” she said.

The new house was laid out to accommodate a person with limited mobility. Everything is on one floor, and the shower has a seat in it. The doors are especially wide so a wheelchair or walker can pass easily.

The house was tailored to Hammes’s taste. She’s fond of gray because it goes well with just about any other color. The cupboards and walls are gray.

Douds Lumber supplied the majority of the materials for the floor and cabinets. Everything Stone by Masterpiece LLC supplied the granite countertops.

Hammes didn’t have to go far for furniture, either. It looks brand new, but it actually came from the old house.

The new house has been used several times since it was finished nearly six months ago. Three of Hammes’s grandkids joined her for a slumber party on New Year’s Eve while their parents enjoyed a night out. On Easter, AJ and Renee, plus their spouses and children, came to visit. Hammes’s kids stayed in the new house while she and her grandbabies had a slumber party in the old house.

The “old” house isn’t exactly old. Hammes and her late husband John lived in the original house on the farmstead until it burned down in 1998. The couple lived in Richland for a year until the current house was built. John passed away in 2012.

The kitchen in the new house was put to use the first weekend in March to celebrate grandson Zach going to state wrestling. He was one of five Pekin Panthers to make state. The family had a fish fry to celebrate his accomplishment.

“He had to be careful he stayed at 132 pounds,” Hammes recalled. “He lifts weights and runs all year long.”

Zach, a junior, has his eye on borrowing one of his grandma’s cars for prom.

“He wants to be like Smokey and the Bandit and take the Trans Am. I keep trying to tell him to save it for his senior year,” Hammes said. “He took the GTO last year. I told him to take the Falcon this year.”

The home’s exterior colors - burgundy, brown and cream - were chosen so they would blend with the old house. The new house has a pair of weather vanes on each cupola, with miniature tractors inside.

Visitors to the Hammes farmstead are greeted by her dog Sully, outdoor cats Gonzo and Spotly and indoor cat Felixa.

“We thought it was a boy and named it after ‘Felix the Cat,’ but we found out it was a girl, so we added the ‘a,’” Hammes said.

AJ knows Jac Pilcher of Pilcher Construction, which Hammes hired as the builder. Suella Pilcher said Hammes was a dream client.

“She treated our workers so well by making them cookies and serving them drinks,” Pilcher said. “We miss coming out here. It was a very special project.”

Hammes said it felt like the Pilchers “became my kids” during construction.

 

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