If someone were to ask Steve and Nancy Fauser where they lived, their honest answer would be “In a church!”
It wasn’t just any old building they purchased, intent on remodeling; it was a church — St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, to be exact. St. Paul’s, located at 218 S. Second, was built in 1949 by a Des Moines contractor with the help of six young men ages 18 to 22. Steve says these young men built the original portion of the church as volunteers, only working for room and board. The addition of the fellowship hall came a little later in 1986, and when the congregation grew and needed more space, the building went on the market.
The Fausers ventured to Winterset from Texas in 2005. They fell in love with the old church and made arrangements to begin work on it even before they had officially made the purchase. They had a plan in mind that it would be a great duplex or maybe even a bed and breakfast as well as a retail store in the basement, to showcase Nancy’s passion for re-purposing items to sell.
They began remodeling the fellowship hall side first to include two bedrooms, both with attached baths and an open living area with kitchen. The men’s bathroom became a full bathroom decorated in vintage charm, keeping the original urinal and adding a claw-foot tub. The women’s bathroom became the laundry room. A beautiful stained glass entryway was also added.
After this side of the building was finished, the Fausers began the work on the sanctuary. This area was redesigned to add a bedroom, full bath, kitchen and living room and the altar became the dining room. The floors were replaced with beautiful hardwood flooring and plans are underway to have the stained glass windows replaced. Most of the lighting in this area is original to the building. The sanctuary side became the Fauser’s home in 2009 when they decided to turn the fellowship hall space into a bed and breakfast. In all, the Fauser home boasts a total of 3,000 square feet with 3,000 additional square feet in the basement, which has been redone to accommodate Nancy’s’ retail store. Steve is a retired machinist and Nancy works full time for Iowa Health Systems. They also own and operate Heavenly Habitat Bed and Breakfast and Gift Shop.