Karla and Eric Hansen stand with Karla's parents, Mike and Jen Wiste, on the porch of the home. The home originally belonged to the Ness family of Spring Grove.
Karla and Eric Hansen stand with Karla's parents, Mike and Jen Wiste, on the porch of the home. The home originally belonged to the Ness family of Spring Grove.

A home in Spring Grove is getting a new life and a new family will grow up in it after receiving a new foundation, a second story addition and several other fixes.

Karla and Eric Hansen, currently living in La Crosse, helped Karla's parents, Mike and Jen Wiste, remodel the house after they bought it five years ago.

The house also came with 18 acres, some of which is farmland and woodland. Much of the land was cleared, which gained three more acres for the family.

"People lived here, but didn't know it was here because there was a lot of brush," Mike said.

The house originally belonged to the Ness family in Spring Grove. The last child in the family, Helen (neé Ness) Holte, recently passed away.

"When we bought the house and walked in, everything was left in its place including dishes, beds made and pictures on the wall," Jen said.

The family has been sending the Ness's family documents to their relatives upon finding them. Holte even got to see her old school papers before she passed.

Grandchildren and relatives also came by to see the house. Jen remembers growing up next to the house.

No one had lived in the house for about 15 years, but the house was kept dry and no mice or raccoons broke in, Mike said.

"It's still a good house," he added. "People said we should tear it down, but we said no."

In addition to the house, there is also a barn (which allowed four cows to be milked at one time), corncrib, outhouse and separate garage on the property. The house itself was in pretty tough shape.

"We had Karen Tisthammer bring her construction class down to help with the garage," Mike said. "The kids helped us tear off shingles."

They also wanted to take down the corncrib, but Mike's sister said they couldn't do that. It's now a picnic shelter. The outhouse is now a garden shed.

In addition to outside work, the house had new wiring installed, new water lines dug in, new siding applied, a new basement floor poured, walls constructed and a new foundation created.

An enclosed porch had been a part of the original home, but that was removed to open up the porch area.

They were also able to add a 16-foot by 22-foot addition on the second story.

The hardest part of the project was waiting for the rain to stop while they were redoing the foundation and basement.

"The worst hold was the rain. It would fill up, and then we'd have to wait for it to dry out," Jen said.

Taking on a large remodeling project was no strange task to the family. They also remodeled Karla and Eric's house in La Crosse and helped with their other kids' projects.

"It's maybe more work than we thought," Jen joked.

Though it's not their first, it's definitely the biggest project and given the chance, they would most likely remodel another house.

"I like old houses more than new houses," Mike said. "You can see the history in them. How it had been before."

They even found where a staircase had once been at one time in the home's history.

Karla said she'll feel relieved when the project is done. The couple also has a baby due in January.

"We're not building another house. I'm going to die here," Eric joked.