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Pocatello family works to restore Victorian home

David and Julie Carpenter have been restoring their home at 404 S. Garfield Ave., for the past decade. It was first built in 1892.

The house first belonged to George N. Ifft, who was one of the three that bought the Pocatello Tribune, the predecessor of the Idaho State Journal. The Ifft family continued to manage the paper until 1984.

David said the history is what initially drew him and his wife to the house, as well as the idea to restore it.

“It was more of a commitment than we thought it was going to be,” said David. “(It) started off that we were just going to remodel it, get it so it’s functional.”

The couple first remodeled the bedrooms, one at a time, into livable spaces. As they began to work on what would be the dining and living rooms; the idea for restoration really picked up.

The family room was the most difficult and longest part of the interior for the Carpenters. They kept as much of the original crown molding as they could and painted it a new color. The fireplace was sandblasted and custom stained glass was placed over the doors to resemble the original glass work.

The Carpenters also special-ordered wallpaper for the room to match the original, putting it up on the walls and ceiling themselves. To finish the room’s look, they bought antique furniture from sales and auctions anywhere from Idaho Falls down to Salt Lake City.

“We tried to keep as much original stuff as we could, keep the original look as much as we could,” David said.

When they began to work on the exterior, David and Julie enlisted help from their two kids, neighbors and hired help. To remove the old, lead paint it took a number of heat guns and inch-by-inch scraping. The front and side of the house took all of last summer.

Although the Carpenters had clear visions for their house, David said there is nothing like seeing it in reality.

“It’s amazing to see the pictures of how it was and how plain it was, to turn it into what we did,” he said. “We put the floor down, brought the furniture in and was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing!'”

The Carpenters still have some work to do on the house. They plan to register the house with a historical society.

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