By Kerry Drager
Dairyland Peach Contributor
The marriage of Tyson and Michelle Molitor last November brought the college sweethearts together in name and family, but the lack of housing has kept the two from sharing their daily lives together. Michelle currently lives in Andover and works in Minnetonka while Tyson stays busy on his family’s dairy farm just west of Elrosa. Although they still see each other on weekends, the couple desperately needed a place to call their own so that they can start their lives together. With the help of their family and friends, the plans to build their first home began in March of last year.
With the heavy responsibility of raising cattle, it was important for Tyson to stay close to work. Long, odd hours that include night time visits and a need to keep a close eye on the herd meant that living anywhere else would be too inconvenient.
“I didn’t want to rent in town. In my opinion, a farmer should live on the farm,” said Tyson.
There comes the price of sacrifice and hard work when building a new home from the foundation up. Michelle will still have to commute to Minnetonka twice a week but is hopeful that her job will eventually allow her to work entirely from home. Tyson has been balancing his responsibilities on the farm with the home construction project, while his mother, Kathi Molitor, has temporarily put her career on standstill as she plays a major role in keeping the construction of the home flowing smoothly.
“I put teaching on hold. Michelle and Tyson are both working full-time and it had to get done, decisions had to be made,” said Kathi.
The new house is sitting on a plot of land that once held a modular home that belonged to Tyson’s parents before they built a permanent residence nearby. The septic system had to be updated and a new foundation prepared. With the cost of permits and the new septic system, the Molitors decided that a higher quality patio home made more sense than another modular.
They used many local contractors to build the country home including Brian Michel’s Development of Belgrade, Elrosa Lumber, Jim’s Electric of Greenwald, Spanier Woodworking of Belgrade, Kampsen Excavating of Belgrade, Hennen Floor Covering Inc. of Freeport, Central Heating and Air Conditioning of Sauk Centre and Bayer Built Woodworks of Belgrade for interior and exterior doors.
“There is a lot of talent around us. It was nice to be able to contract locally,” said Kathi.
Contractors didn’t do all the work in the home; the family also took part in the construction. It was tedious but also provided opportunities for the family to work together.
“We stained all the trim and doors, primed and painted the entire house and the garage, cut some of the concrete for the basement. We helped with some of the ground work. I used our Bobcat here on the farm but the foundation was in, so I had to be careful not to hit the cinder blocks. All year, after I would milk cows in the evening, I would run across the yard and check in the house to see what was new. I liked to watch the carpenters work, I didn’t know anything about building a house and I wanted to learn,” said Tyson.
The construction did not come without its fair share of hiccups. Aside from the home being nearly three months behind schedule, there have been some novice mishaps along the way.
“We purchased a big French door. It is a heavy, double door and I thought it was going to be heavy enough not to have to tie it down,” said Tyson.
“It was fine when we were driving slow in town, but as soon as we turned onto Highway 71 the wind picked it up and blew it out of the back of the pickup like a piece of paper,” said Michelle.
“Luckily the glass wasn’t broken but there was a big piece of it that had to be glued back on. My neighbor is a carpenter and I used to hang out with his kids when I was in school, Tyson said. I took the door over there so he could help me fix it. So at least Michelle got an opportunity to meet our neighbor. Something good came out of the ordeal.”
The single level, 2000 square foot patio home has a large 6 foot overhang to enjoy the warm summer evenings and a 20 feet by 36 feet heated garage that houses a separate laundry room and a half bath. The interior of the home has a 16 feet by 16 feet master bedroom, a second 12 feet by 12 feet bedroom/office area, a full bathroom and a 25 feet by 30 feet open concept living space that houses the kitchen, dining and living room. The ceiling in the living space is vaulted with cedar planks that are stained a deep, rich brown that matches the cabinets. The flooring is done with DuraCeramic tile and the counter tops and crescent island are high-resolution laminate top. The living room sports a rustic gas stove to add a warm charm, and Tyson’s infamous French doors open up into a sun room that looks out onto the country and the setting sun.
It was important to the Molitors to keep the home country-simple but pleasing. From the majestic weeping willow that was planted as a sapling when Tyson was born, to the large boulder that was dug from the corn field and placed at the foot of the driveway, much about this home resonates family and farm. It was a tiresome task but the end result is worth the dedication. Finally, this married couple is able to share their lives in the beautiful home they created together.