Mid-century modern home fixer upper was a favorite challenge of 2017

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It's a clean slate with a new year upon us. How you spend your 2018 is up to you. Yes we have commitments we need to keep, but it's good to choose a new project, endeavor, hobby or create a new healthy habit in a new year, I've found. In 2017, outside of work and commitments, our family created new experiences by downhill skiing together and traveling to new destinations. But my favorite non-work project of 2017 was close to home.

It happened when my husband Nathan and I purchased a home in our small town, updated it, then listed it with our local realtors to sell again.

Why was it a favorite project of the year? It was a new challenge, something we had never done before. My husband owns a building business. It's his work. This was different though and a personal project we took on together. We wanted to showcase a home at a lower price point rather than build a new construction home like we would usually do. We hoped this would be a viable, rural option for new home owners or those looking to downsize. The challenge of the home we purchased was to update it within a set budget, keep its character and give it a fresh, quality feel and look for the next owners.

Unlike the HGTV series "Fixer Upper" with Joanna and Chip Gaines of Waco, Texas, Nathan and I won't be launching a rural version of the show. We aren't going to be professional house flippers on the prairie. However, we learned that keeping the character of the mid-century modern home, built in 1955 by a late couple as their family home, was important to us. We kept the original cabinets the late Mr. Walter built himself. They were meticulously painted and cleaned prior to us buying the home, and we left them untouched. We worked with local contractors to open walls, build new closets, freshen up paint, install new flooring, countertops, barnwood wall features and more.

I still call the home that we purchased from their adult children "Bernice and Walter's home," even though they have passed away. Two of their three children were able to tour it with Nathan and me before we listed it for sale. It was touching to hear their childhood stories of the home, the details of how their father built it, how their mom cared for it and mowed the lawn every three days, to see their emotion of memories and hear their thanks for updating it for a new home owner. The daughter told me, "My mom would have loved to know that Nathan and you were updating her home. She would have been proud."

This special home project made me proud and will be a memory Nathan and I enjoy looking back on from 2017. It is now for sale in Wishek, N.D. We hope it sells to someone who loves the home as much as Bernice, Walter and their kids did, and who can see the care we put into updating it.

The mid-century modern home challenge of 2017 motivated Nathan and I to work together, collaborate and share ideas more than we usually do on a project. It set the stage for our "90-day action plan" to kick off 2018 with new projects to tackle both personally and professionally. House flipping isn't on the action plan — yet!

No matter what your new endeavor is for 2018, go for it now. Write it down. Seek it out. Use others around you for support and help. Be proud of your work.

I'll be sharing more before and after pictures of the mid-century modern home on my Area Voices blog.