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Heart & Home

A Tale of Two Houses—Where the Past & the Future Meet to Give Thanks

Article by Natalie Shawver

Photography by Matt Capps of Loveland Premium Portraits | Justin Sheldon Photography

Originally published in Loveland Lifestyle

They say home is where your heart is—that includes your history. What happens between those four walls includes a lifetime of memories: happiness, heartbreak, smiles, sorrow. But ask any homeowner what their corner of the world means to them? Two families answer here.  

When John Hill Construction began restorations on a Loveland home built in 1940, the team never expected they’d meet a previous owner. Darlene Jones and her family moved into the house in 1954; her father lived there through 2003. When Darlene learned about the renovation project, she contacted John Hill to see the updates—and reminisce.

“We had so many fond memories of that house,” Darlene says. “My dad was born on Christmas Day and that was his day. He decorated the house with so many lights, it would light up the whole neighborhood.”

JHC made extensive changes to the home—raising the second floor ceiling height, adding a full bath, and reconfiguring the first floor to be more open and modern (including an all-new kitchen and bath). The team also replaced two sets of steps, removed a garage entrance and added new siding, among several other improvements.

While the team is not unfamiliar with historical home restoration, they don’t often come across what they found.

“Seeing the workmanship, techniques and materials used is always fascinating,” John says. “The exterior plaster on this home actually had green glass pellets, which we’ve never seen before.”

John’s team uncovered historical gems—plaster walls (uncommon for a home’s exterior) and a “Nisbet Lumber” stencil (once at the Eads Fence Company). Revealing and refinishing the original wood floors? A highlight for the crew. 

“We were able to save an older home and make it fresh and usable for the next 50 years,” John says. “It felt great to bring it back from the edge of needing to be demolished. It was so touching to meet Darlene and her brother—and hear them share stories of Christmases together there. They were so happy that someone had ‘saved’ their childhood home.”


Five years ago, John and Kelsey Jast had a vision: purchase a nearly 200-year-old farmhouse and restore it. A month in, the couple shifted their plans and adopted two teenage boys with mobility disabilities. Then came two more adoptions. And four more after that. Another addition is on the way this fall. As their family grew, the Jasts knew changes had to be made—especially given their children’s special needs.

Enter the Loveland Handyman, Shan Powell.

“Shan loves a job that means something,” John says. “When he showed up to do the estimate on our project, he asked questions like, ‘how fast would I need to move the washer and dryer so you don't miss a day of laundry?’ We knew right away we needed someone like that who thought of our family first and the job second.”

Shan got to work quickly—enclosing a porch, converting the mudroom into a new laundry room, and turning the old laundry room into a widened hallway to provide more mobility.

“The Jast home was outside of my normal service area,” Shan says. “But when I met the family, I knew I wanted to help. It was amazing to see their day-to-day operations and how they handled each challenge with grace.”

John and Kelsey had big goals for their farmhouse.

“We wanted to give our children space to explore, learn and grow together,” Kelsey says. “These updates allow us to do that better and more efficiently. Even small changes like opening up a wall and doorway allow us to enter our home without frustration and chaos. That may not seem like much to some—but it really changed a big part of our everyday routine.”

To the Jasts, it’s more than four walls.

“It's ours—it's home. Some of our kids never even knew what ‘home’ was,” Kelsey says. “It's the place we come together—a place no one feels different or not thought of. A place to just be a family.”

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