Jefferson City natives Dan and Julia Lutz knew they wanted to find the right piece of property, one that had a barn for her horses, acreage, a shop for fixing classic and custom cars, and a nice house with room to grow.
After three or four years on the hunt, a friend bought a piece of property on Tanner Bridge Road, letting the couple know a piece of property next door had gone into foreclosure. Dan and Julia decided to throw their hat into the bidding ring alongside three couples and secured the 16-acre property that checked off all the boxes on their wish list.
“We knew this house was perfect. We could see the potential in the house,” Julia said, noting the farm at one point was 32 acres that was later divided up. The couple, who have been together since 2008, also knew they would have a long road ahead in renovations.
“It was not in good shape. It needed a lot of repair and a lot of clean-up around the property,” Dan said. “I think we hauled away three tons of trash and waste.”
Their first project was the house itself, gutting the entire upstairs of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom brick ranch with full basement. The whole home renovation took about 10 months, transforming its interior and parts of its exterior to its brand new, beautiful current condition.
“It was all the same, but we expanded the master bedroom and bathroom,” Julia said.
“There were three separate rooms for the main living area of the house, and we just opened it up to create bigger rooms,” Dan added.
With the exception of contracted framing, needed electrical work, plumbing, tiling and custom cabinet and countertop installation in their kitchen and master bathroom, Dan and Julia did most of the work themselves with the help of friends and family, such as Julia’s dad doing the interior painting and Dan and his buddies renovating the roof and a covered side patio.
Pulling up six to eight layers of flooring in the kitchen, they replaced it with a marbled slate tile that compliments the ample light wood cabinetry, marbled granite countertops, olive green tiled backsplash and stainless steel appliances. Dan and Julia also enjoy another large feature to both the kitchen and living room.
“I love the see-through fireplace, and we have the log in there,” Julia said as the couple smiled.
“It took a lot of brick and mortar and tubing for the wiring that made it look very clean,” Dan added, noting that each side has a mantle. The fireplace also houses a musician frog statue that the couple found at the bottom while cleaning up a koi pond on the property.
Wood flooring carries from the dining area through to the spacious living room, complete with a sizable bay window and plenty of room for the couple’s furniture, a entertainment station complete with record player and storage for an assortment of classic vinyl, an enclosed quilt rack that houses a variety of handmade quilts from the couple’s elders and a custom-built cabinet built by Dan’s grandfather, who also built a log cabin in northern Missouri.
Many keepsakes also accent their home, including a custom steak knife holder and welded knives from Dan’s father, a rocking chair Julia inherited from her great-grandmother and multiple quilts that line the beds in the office/guest room, the second bedroom and their expanded master suite.
The now grand full bathroom at the end of the hallway originally was half the size, sharing space with the master bathroom and closet. However, Dan and Julia wanted to create what is now one of their favorite rooms in the house, the master suite oasis.
They extended out the walls to provide ample room for a whole sitting area, walk-in closet that is larger than their new full bathroom and a plush, spa-like master bathroom.
“We have an oversized shower, jacuzzi tub and large double sink vanity with custom-made cabinets. They also used recycled glass for the countertops,” Julia said.
“I love our shower, too, which has an above showerhead for me and a lower one for her,” Dan added, as the couple laughed.
Also installing all new windows and doors, one set of double doors leads onto an added concrete patio off their master bedroom, which overlooks the results of six-month project that has become an exterior highlight of their immense property.
“We unearthed the rock in the side of the hill, and it wraps around the side of the house. … It took a lot of hand shoveling over many days, weeks and months to get all this cleaned up and get it the way it looks now,” Dan said. “Then we brought in the rock that meets up with the natural rock, patio and house to keep that look.”
Dan and Julia also completely fenced in their property, cleaned out and filled in an inset above ground pool and fixed up the barn, which is home to Julia’s two American Quarter horses, Misty and Coffee.
“Misty is 30 years old and she only gets ridden by little kids. Coffee needs a little more work. I don’t ride them like I used to; I used to trail ride. Now they are more pets or lawn ornaments,” Julia said with a laugh.
With ample room to roam, Misty and Coffee also enjoy the renovations Dan and Julia did to the barn. This work also played a hand in the 1999 Blair Oaks and 1996 Helias high school graduates wedding held there in 2016. Their rustic theme
wedding was complete with mason jar lights hung inside the barn and beautiful wooden signs, welded metal flowers and other unique, personalized touches they still use as part of their d.cor.
Working 15 years as a territorial sales manager for O’Reilly Auto Parts, Dan still enjoys coming home to his gigantic
workshop, which houses a slew of tools and multiple areas to work on classic and custom cars both as side work and for fun.
“I just got done working on an ‘88 Camaro and before that I was fixing a ‘68 Camaro,” Dan said. “I would love to get a classic car of our own in the future.”
His collection of funny signs and decor help create a perfect man cave and fun space for the couple to hang out with family and friends. A long time programmer since 1997, Julia likes to unwind from her career as an application development and support manager for the Boone County government IT department and play a little ping-pong in Dan’s workshop.
“We love to play ping-pong and play almost every night,” she said, smiling at Dan.
Eventually, Dan and Julia would like to fix up the one-room cabin to make into guest quarters or a pool house, which is what the previous owners had used it for next to an inset pool.
“It is a pretty neat little house. We want to fix it up and possibly put another pool in,” Julia said.
“Or an in-law house,” Dan said, as the couple laughed.
With additional plans to finish the basement with a few more bedrooms, bathroom and family room space, the couple feels confident they could tackle these projects. For now, they are enjoying their hard work, which often brings back lessons of home renovation they’ve learned and fond memories made with their loved ones.
“We definitely learned you don’t always make the right decisions for certain things because you are rushed; you have to make those quick decisions,” Julia said. “We have many fun memories from renovating our home and property. It was so fun having all of our friends and family being here and helping out. It has made the experience special.”