If anything is evident about Mel and Gerry Bauman’s house, it’s they know the concept of making a house a “home.” A house is little more than a structure, but a “home” tells the story of the people who live there, and in some cases, particularly the Bauman’s, the house tells the story of all who lived there.
The Bauman house, located on the outskirts of Grimes, has remained in the family since it was built.
“My husband’s grandparents, Jacob and Louise Bauman, built our house in 1900. It was a farm,” explains Gerry. A catalog house, it cost $900 to build. Next Mel’s parents lived in the house, raising five children there. (Mel was born in the dining room.) In 1974, when both of Mel’s parents died within a few months of each other and the house was to be put up for auction, Mel couldn’t bear to part with it. Gerry was in the hospital at the time recovering from the birth of one of their children. When she came home, they had three children younger than 3 years of age, and they were faced with living in a home in need of major repair.
“We both slept on sofas for two years while remodeling with the three children (sleeping) in the parlor. It took us years to remodel, air, heat, windows, plumbing. We refinished all the wood. Insulated, new siding and roofs over the years,” recounts Gerry.
It would be nearly impossible for most visitors to walk into their home and not immediately know the house holds a story. Framed photos of many of the family members who lived in the home line almost every wall. Restored family heirloom pieces are used throughout to decorate.
The Baumans have not only made it their home, but they’ve opened up to their property to the community. For 23 years Gerry ran an herb shop, The Farmhouse, in a commercial building next to their house. Now four hairstylists rent the former herb shop. For more than 20 years, they’ve opened their kitchen to the public.
“We have cooking classes in our kitchen from March until December taught by (chef) Margaret Welder,” explains Gerry. Their house has been used in photography for Meredith publications, and you may have toured it when it was featured on one of the Christmas home tours held by either the cities of Grimes or Johnston.
Would you like your home featured in this column in an upcoming issue of Grimes Living? If so, email Darren Tromblay at email@example.com.