Home Sweet Home
Aaron and Patricia Johnson just moved to Blue Earth one year ago on April 1, from Salem, Oregon, in order for Aaron to be closer to his family who lives in Britt, Iowa.
Since that time, Patricia and Aaron, along with their daughter Lauren, and their Scotty dog Charlie, have made their 100-plus-year-old Blue Earth house a home, by making a few renovations, while still respecting the heritage of the home.
According to a letter left in the house written by the original homeowner’s grandson, the house, located on West Seventh Street, was built in 1918 and is a vernacular-style house. It was originally the home of George F. Paff, who was one of the first managers of the Blue Earth Valley Telephone Company. He and his wife, Theodora and their daughter, Lurene, had moved to Blue Earth from Minneapolis in 1906. The two had two more children, a daughter, and a son.
Seventh Street was just beginning to be developed in the early 1900s, and Paff purchased one of the last vacant lots on the block to build the home in 1915. It is said the reason for the purchase of this lot was so Paff could remain close to his job at the telephone company.
In the spring of 1918, George Paff began to build the house. His nephew, Charlie Hadlick, dug the basement for the home. By the time the Paffs moved in, Charlie Hadlick had already been killed in France in World War I. More information on George F. Paff can be found in the Faribault County Museum collection.
Knowing the history of the house, and the age that it was, the Johnsons took great care in improving upon their already wonderful home.
One of the first projects the family decided to tackle was the attic space, which is now Lauren’s loft bedroom.
“On the first day when we saw the house, before we made an offer on it, my husband said the unfinished attic could make a great bedroom with a little elbow grease,” says Patricia. “Then after we decided to buy the house, my husband told me that he was going to remove the closet between two of our bedrooms in order to make us a master bedroom suite something that we have never had in our 27 years of marriage.” And renovations began almost immediately.
In the attic, the Johnsons worked hard to put in insulation, put up drywall, and create a proper ceiling (instead of bare rafters) with lighting fixtures, along with a banister for the steps. What was once a pretty basic storage space is now the lilac-colored haven for their daughter, Lauren.
“December first of this past year, Aaron started fixing up the attic. He was finished by Jan. 30, and by Feb. 1, he was onto the next project our master bedroom,” says Patricia.
What is now the Johnson’s master suite, was once two bedrooms separated by a small closet. With Aaron’s leadership, the family chose to tear down the separating wall between the two rooms to create a larger room for Mister and Missus.
Before, one bedroom was painted a bright yellow, while the other was painted a dark beige color. Now, with the renovations complete, and the separating closet gone, Patricia and Aaron can enjoy a larger space with 180 degrees of natural lighting, which is now painted a soft robin’s egg blue.
“We now have a new sitting couch in the master suite, and we have a lot more room than the original bedroom,” says Patricia. “It is a beautiful upgrade to the area.”
But the inside is not the only improvements made to the home on Seventh Street. Last spring, Aaron created a swing set for the back porch for the family, as well a fence for little Charlie to appreciate the entire backyard without a worry to his owners.
Now, there is something special you need to know about Patricia. She goes by another name, and lives up to it proudly she is known to her friends and family as the Pink Lady. She adores the color pink and does what she can to incorporate it into her everyday attire, home decor, and even her baked goods.
So naturally, Aaron found it fitting to paint the new swing for the backyard a light spring-colored pink, and it is complete with cup holders. With floral pillow accents and a tea tray, the swing, which hang off the white porch terrace in the family’s yard, are an invitation for an afternoon in the shady oasis of the Johnson’s backyard amidst the flowers and the family’s vegetable garden.
Aaron is currently retired and very much enjoys doing any kind of project that keeps him busy. Patricia shares the family gave their first go at a home vegetable garden last spring, and enjoyed the fruits of their labor all year long.
“We had so much,” says Patricia. “We began canning pickles, green beans, tomatoes, okra, and even made homemade jelly. Aaron even built a small arbor in our backyard. He loves projects.”
As the ground begins to thaw, and spring has reared its head yet again, the Johnsons say they already have a new list of things they’d like to accomplish at their house for this year. What will those be? Perhaps you will just have to welcome these new neighbors to Blue Earth, yourself, and get the inside scoop from Aaron and Patricia “The Pink?Lady.”