Interiorssneak peeks

A Lovingly Restored Historic Home In Idaho Falls

by Rebekah Carey

Lonnie Pyper and Rebecca Long Pyper live in Idaho Falls, ID with their four children in a house that Rebecca has loved since she was in high school. Rebecca is a freelance writer and copywriter with a passion for historic homes, and Lonnie is a pharmacist. Ever the clever reporter, when Rebecca was writing an article on historic homes for a newspaper, she remembered the house she had adored every time she drove past en route to softball games back in high school. Not only would the house be a great fit for the article, but it would also allow a better look inside the house she had long loved.

Fate would bring Lonnie and Rebecca back to their hometown after grad school, just as the house hit the market at the same time. However, since they were both recent graduates (and with student loans), putting in an immediate offer wasn’t an option. Rebecca felt sick because the house was such a gem she was certain it would be gone within a week. Fast forward to five months later and the house was still for sale. With bated breath they offered what they could, and a request for a closing date nine months down the road (which would give them more time to save), and they got the home!

Originally built in 1936 by the city’s mayor at the time, the Tudor Revival was in fact a farmhouse for the mayor’s surrounding farm. The farm land was sold off over the years, but the Pypers lucked out on a larger lot that remained with the house when they bought it. The home Rebecca admired for so long became her own, with not only her creative stamp she’s made through their renovations, but also traditions like their family’s July 4th breakfasts — hosted for 150 of their closest friends and family! Independence Day is quite the occasion in their town, and their home is on a shady street right along the parade’s route.

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Despite the destiny Rebecca felt to own the home, it wasn’t ready to go when the family finally had the keys. Along with Devan Thompson of Harrow Construction, Lonnie and Rebecca began refinishing floors, exposing the original fireplace surround, painting, and opening up the staircase. Five years later they started a second round of renovations that included reversing changes that owners had made over time — like changing the original windows and trim. Rebecca went to work researching other local 1930s homes to best match what would have been original in their own house. She tracked down R.B. Ewart’s (the mayor who originally built the home) grandson, and he was able to send black and white photos of the house when his family had lived there! Those photos were used to find windows to match what the originals would have looked like. The couple also removed several layers of flooring in the kitchen to reveal original fir flooring, restored original crystal doorknobs, and stripped and repainted their original doors. In the six-month restoration and renovation round two, the couple also uncovered a secret room and boarded-up windows.

Rebecca explains that two words inspired every design decision they made in their home: happy and cozy. “I wanted the house to feel like an English cottage with a dash of prep. It is of utmost importance that our home feels good for our kids as they grow up.” Rebecca hopes that her home, and the work they’ve put into it, can be inspiration for others to know that old houses are worth the risk — and what you get in return for the hard work spent restoring them is immeasurable. After seeing the Pypers’ home, we’re certainly believers! Rebekah

Photography by Casey James Photography 

Image above: “Remodeling the galley kitchen was key to giving this house another hundred years of life,” Rebecca explains. “We bumped out the sink wall six feet, making room for an island. We uncovered and refinished original fir floors and feathered in new fir where necessary. We worried the addition would be an eyesore, but our drafter was a perfectionist and made it look good inside and out. You can’t even see the addition from the front of the house — good thing, too, or we wouldn’t have taken on the project.” 

The Family In The Heart Of Their Home The Kitchen Tour On Design*Sponge

The Pyper family in their 1930s home in Idaho Hills.

A Tudor Revival Kitchen With Mudroom Addition Tour On Design*Sponge

“A view of the pantry and mudroom. The mudroom was added to the back of the house,” Rebecca explains.

An Original Chimney Was Unearthed In This Kitchen's Renovation Tour On Design*Sponge

Being as passionate about historic homes as Rebecca is, we can only imagine her delight at this discovery: “To the left of the oven niche, we exposed an original chimney that attached to the cookstove when the house was new.”

A Custom Table That Can Fit The Whole Family And Then Some Tour On Design*Sponge

“This table was custom built by Devan Thompson of Harrow Construction and furniture maker Joey Thompson of J. Thompson Workshop. It is a [beauty] and rock solid. We can fit 15 kids around that table,” Rebecca shares. “The wood is reclaimed; it used to line a century-old river outlet tunnel at Hebgen Dam in Montana.”

A Bright Kitchen With The Family Motto Hanging Proudly Tour On Design*Sponge

“Our family motto hangs in the kitchen to remind us what our family stands for,” Rebecca shares.

Even The Mudroom In This Lovely Home Features Sentimental And Meaningful Details Tour On Design*Sponge

“A few sweet things in the mudroom: The row of hooks came from my son’s first-grade classroom; I swooped in and took them before the old school was demolished a few years ago,” Rebecca admits. “My second-born unearthed a pile of old red bricks in the backyard. We asked our tile guy to lay those at the threshold by the Dutch door. Original paintings by the incomparable Lynne Millar. The horseshoe over the door is my good-luck wish to the kids as they leave each morning.”

The Inviting View From The Front Porch Of The Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“The view from the front door provides a peek at our hardwood’s log-cabin pattern,” Rebecca explains. “A solid wall used to enclose the staircase; we tore it out and chose fish-and-church railing for its symbolism and looks.”

A Circle Window Replaced A Mid-Century Diamond One To Better Suite The Original Home's Style Tour On Design*Sponge

“We landed upon the perfect blue for our entry and living/dining room: Sherwin-Williams, Copen Blue. When we bought the house, the front door was mid-century style with a diamond window,” Rebecca recalls. “Since it didn’t complement the house and wasn’t original, we asked our contractor to rework it with a circle window and some panels to make her real pretty.”

A Brick Fireplace Was Discovered Behind Dated Tile In The Living Room In This Home Tour On Design*Sponge

More happy surprises were revealed in the renovations of the living room. “The original fireplace was hidden behind maroon tile. We were thrilled to find grey brick behind it.”

A Gift Early In The Couple's Relationship Is A Daily Reminder Of Their History Tour On Design*Sponge

“The mixed-media ‘painting’ above the mantel is easily my favorite material possession,” Rebecca admits. “My husband gave it to me during grad school when we were poor as church mice. It makes every day feel happy.”

A Natural Light-Filled Dining Room Home Tour On Design*Sponge

The family is lucky to have a home flooded with natural light, “Our dining area is well lit by four windows, and the woven shades warm up cooler tones.”

The Secretary Desk Is Also Storage For Meaningful Family Heirlooms On Design*Sponge

“A glimpse into the kitchen. The secretary desk holds my grandmother’s dishes.”

A Vintage Print In The Powder Room Reminds The Family Of Special Trips Together Tour On Design*Sponge

“The powder room was so white that we decided on colored trim — Benjamin Moore, Thunder (old houses love color, and I’m happy to oblige). Lake Tahoe is our favorite place, and Steller’s jays are common there. The vintage print on the wall is a sweet reminder of our trips,” Rebecca shares.

Master Bedroom With Deep Green Walls Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“[Our] bedroom. Only the living/dining room and our bedroom have oak floors; the rest of the floors are fir,” Rebecca explains. “Our hardwood guy told us the original owners must have installed the more-impressive hardwood in the parts of the house company was likely to see and saved money by using less-expensive fir elsewhere.”

Added Built-Ins In The Master Bedroom Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“We added bookcases and French doors to [our bedroom] for architectural interest and natural light. We adore the green on the walls, trim, and doors.”

A Master Bathroom Addition Becomes More In Line With The Style Of The Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“[Our] bathroom replaced an unsympathetic hot-tub room tacked onto the back of the house. We chose slanted ceilings and an arched shower entry to make the room feel historic.”

The Master Bathroom Had An Original Claw Foot Tub Moved In From Another Area Of The Home Full Tour On Design*Sponge

“Though not original to the house, the clawfoot tub was upstairs when we moved in. We moved it [here] so Mama could soak every day,” Rebecca laughs.

An Adorable Shared Boys' Room Full Home Tour On Design*Sponge

Rebecca designed the house’s rooms to be easy to clean, or possibly more difficult to make dirty. “The three boys share a room upstairs. We kept their room pretty [sparse] because less stuff = less mess. See that cute eyebrow window? It’s one of only three original windows in the house. The chimney is exposed in this room too.”

Clever Use Of Space Makes For An Efficient Shared Room On Design*Sponge

“Our house has lots of dead space hidden behind walls,” Rebecca explains. “We dedicated this niche in the boys’ room to act as a big bookcase for children’s lit.”

Salvaged Sinks Make For A Charming Shared Bathroom Tour On Design*Sponge

“Upstairs there used to be two tiny bathrooms; we combined the two to make a Jack-and-Jill bath for the kids. The sinks were rescued from an old hotel being gutted in nearby Pocatello.”

Another Bathroom In This Home That Took Fixtures From Other Bathrooms To Create A More Efficient Space Home Tour On Design*Sponge

Rebecca is very intentional with her design choices, and this bathroom was no different with the tile color being steeped in optimism. “This bathroom had to be yellow because I wanted our kids to start the day in a sunny space. The bathtub is original to the house — in fact, it was once the only bathtub in the home. We had it resurfaced and brought it upstairs from the main floor.”

A Beautiful Girls Room On Design*Sponge

Rebecca and Lonnie’s daughter’s room. “My favorite space is the reading nook on the left,” Rebecca shares. “The light fixture was a gift from a man I featured in the newspaper back when I worked as a section editor.”

The Pyper Daughter's Room Is A Dream For Children And Adult Alike Tour On Design*Sponge

“The second ‘peekaboo’ window. Ceilings are Sherwin-Williams, Aristocrat Peach.”

The 1936 Tudor Revival Home Of The Pyper Family Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“The gingerbread trim was added well after the house was built,” Rebecca explains. “It’s a weird choice for a Tudor, but we love it and will keep it.”

The Pyper Family's What I love Most From Their Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“What I love most about our home: big trees outside + coziness inside.”

The Tudor Revival Pyper Family Home Floor Plan Tour On Design*Sponge

The floor plan for the Pyper family’s 1936 Tudor Revival home. Rebecca shares her hopes for others seeking a home, “One of my missions is to promote the idea that dream houses do not have to be brand new. We live in a part of the country where new housing is very affordable, but it also isn’t always well built or sustainably planned. The good news is that old houses are plentiful here, full of character, and built to last. The things I love in our house are the same kinds of treasures other historic-home owners discover in their houses. With so many layers of history, uncovering detail after sweet detail is a treat that just makes a historic house feel special and important.”


Living Room
Sofa- Interior Define
Coffee Table- Hayneedle
Neutral Rug- Pottery Barn
Wall color- Sherwin Williams, Copen Blue
Ceiling Light- Overstock
Dining Chandelier- Pottery Barn
Picture Lights In Stairway- Wayfair

Wall color- Sherwin Williams, Alabaster
Cabinet color: Benjamin Moore, Acadia White
Pantry color: Benjamin Moore, Smoky Ash
Faucet- Faucet Direct
Sconces- Wayfair
Pendants Over Island- Rejuvenation
Breakfast Nook Light Fixture- Pottery Barn
Table- Harrow Construction and J. Thompson Workshop
Appliances- Frigidaire
Backsplash Tile- Cement Tile Shop

Rebecca and Lonnie’s Bathroom
Wall Color- Sherwin Williams, Alabaster
Tub Color (Exterior)- Benjamin Moore, Palmer Green
Vanities- Home Depot
Faucets- Wayfair
Mirrors- Target
Rug- Overstock
Wall Tile- Floor And Decor
Floor Tile- Floor And Decor
Showerhead- Faucet Direct

Kids’ Bath
Wall color- Sherwin Williams, Alabaster
Sinks- Vintage
Faucets- Amazon
Showerhead- Faucet Direct
Tile- Floor And Decor, Custom
Sconces- Wayfair
Medicine Cabinets- Pottery Barn

Powder room
Wall color- Sherwin Williams, Alabaster
Trim color- Benjamin Moore, Thunder
Faucet- Home Depot
Sink- Signature Hardware
Sconces- Rejuvenation
Medicine Cabinet- Pottery Barn

Rebecca and Lonnie’s Bedroom
Wall Color- Sherwin Williams, Saguaro
Ceiling Color- Sherwin Williams, Canvas Tan
Ceiling Fixture- Pottery Barn
Sconces By Bed- Wayfair
Bookcase sconces- Discontinued

Girl’s Room
Wall Color- Sherwin Williams, Alabaster
Ceiling Color- Sherwin Williams, Aristocrat Peach
Rug- Overstock
Wallpaper- Hygge And West, Rifle Paper Co., Peonies

Boys’ Room
Wall And Ceiling Color- Sherwin Williams, Canvas Tan
Beds- IKEA

Additional Details 
Contractor- Harrow Construction
Trim- Except where otherwise mentioned, trim is Sherwin Williams, Pure White (at 50 percent)
Interior doors- painted Benjamin Moore, Thunder

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  • I love that Rebecca repurposed so much ‘found items’ in her home, from the hooks and bricks in the mudroom to the sinks in the jack and jill bathroom. My only question is – how does one approach getting their hands on things like that? Is it a matter of cultivating relationships early so when demo/reno time happens you get first dibs? Or just being up front and asking?

    • My mom happens to really have the gift of salvaging stuff, and she just asks! Worst thing they can do is say no :)

    • Thanks for your sweet comment, Nicole. And the answer to your question is, both! I’m never afraid to ask, and I always have a plan. That’s one of the advantages of being patient with a renovation: You know what you’re looking for long before the project begins. That way, when you see something with potential, you recognize it.

  • I’m in love with the yellow tile in the upstairs bathroom! I think I gasped when I saw it. :)

  • Love this so much–the design choices, the respect for history, the classic tile, the colors, the beautiful old beds, really everything. This house and story are the stuff of my dreams! I am bookmarking this post for my future purchase and renovation of the old gem past which I have also been driving for years!

  • I love everything about this! I’ve had my eye on an old home for as long as I can remember. Hoping for a serendipitous ending like this one!

    The opening kitchen picture made me so happy! Love the yellow.

    Beautiful family!

  • What a beautiful, cheerful home! I love the intentional decorating and the personal touches she included in her home. She didn’t just throw a bunch of pretty things in there. Each item has a story. I love that.

  • I love their daughter’s room. It is so cozy. The fact that so much prep went in to this renovation is extremely impressive. Their construction worker looks like he was extremely meticulous, and it certainly paid off!

  • I can see how Rebecca would have been attracted to this house! The outside is adorable. I appreciate the attention to detail in every room of the house. The home owner and the contractor did a wonderful job on this restoration–makes me want an old home of my own!

  • This looks such a happy home and so inviting. I love the cheerful colors she brought in the historical features of the home they highlighted. So beautiful!

  • OMG! I love everything about this home. I’m feeling very inspired.
    Could you tell me where you got the sconces in the master bathroom? They’re simple and beautiful

    • We actually found the secret room adjacent to our daughter’s room; there was a secret locked panel in a small medicine cabinet in the bathroom. We never went in there because of all the dust and insulation, but when our framer did, he found a box holding a bag of marijuana, a pipe for smoking it, and a book for growing it! Makes for a good story. :)

  • Such a pretty home! The use of colour is so lovely and the lights above the kitchen island are TO. DIE. FOR.

  • Lovely house. The use of the word “admits” is strange. Why would she be need to “admit” these things?

    • Vic

      It was an admission because those hooks were taken from the school of the home owner’s son before it was demolished. The implication was that the hooks may have been taken without permission I think…?


  • Everything about this home is lovely. It is sunny and thoughtful and spectacular in an understated way. I wish that i had put this much thought into my renovation.

  • I love the exterior of this house. The colors are so happy? Do you know what paint color was used on the front door and siding?

  • Wow! I love every inch of this house. Nicely done on all of the cool found and repurposed items with a story. Also, good call on the front door window flourish! When you see it in the context of the exterior photo it makes perfect sense. Bravo.

  • Wow! Now it is my dream to have a home like this, and I think after having a read of this post, it will become a dream of anyone. Thanks a lot for sharing this post.

  • Ah I saw the exterior of this house on Pinterest and IG yesterday. I was surprised to see it pop up at the end of this lovely tour – I thought for sure this was going to be a big boxy Victorian based on the light, bright interiors. But of course it all makes sense now!

  • What an incredible renovation! Traditional yet modern; spare yet cozy – I think Rebecca should switch careers and design for a living!

  • Both the house and the story are senSAtional. Destiny/good timing may have played a part in the couple’s purchase, but there is so much hard work that went into this beautiful home, driven by Rebecca’s love, determination, and wise choices. This is a great story for a rainy day (like today) and a strong incentive to shed the last vestiges of attachment to my home state of California, where we are stuck in the Silicon Valley tech trap (high-paying jobs, but unaffordable cost of living and too, too many people).

  • I have loved a LOT of houses on Design*Sponge, but I have to say with ALL honesty that this is probably my absolute favorite. It is so beautiful, bright, and well-designed inside–and when I got to the final photo of the outside–well, it literally took my breath away. It’s perfect in every way. This is the first I have ever commented here because I just had to tell you. Wonderful job! It was so obviously meant to be!

  • I love the Pyper family! I get to look at this charming home every day from across the street….but I have never been in it. I didn’t know the story. Thank you for the tour! It is lovely.
    Love and hugs,
    Debi Nyborg

  • I live in Idaho Falls, and every time I drive by this home, I smile (I adore the tulip shutters on the exterior)….so fun to see the inside via this feature story! Such a charming home that is both intimate and fresh/spacious at the same time. Love all the sunshine yellow tones on the inside! Amazing detail with the remodel and such thoughtful decorating.

  • Such a beautiful and cheerful home. Definitely looks like the kind of home where wonderful memories are made.

  • This feature hits home for me. ;o) I live not too far away in Utah, and have similar thoughts/concerns as the home owner regarding (some!) newer communities. We slug it out in a 1936 Tudor Revival cottage, and though I wonder if I’m nuts at times, we love our small old house.

  • I love love love this article! The master bedroom is so fun with the doors, walls, and trim all painted the same color! I bet her house is beautiful at Christmastime with the snow!

  • I have hunted for a coat tree like the one featured in image 7! Any intel where it came from? Thanks!

  • Wow, your daughter scored by being the only girl! I’m sure her brothers give her enough grief to make up for it ;)
    I love the bright yellows throughout. That must be cheerful on a snowy winter day.

    • Ha, we have a running joke that “what Mom wants, Sissy gets.” And that’s not too far from the truth. She definitely got the lion’s share of bedroom space (and yes, her brothers pester her plenty). Thanks for your comment!

  • Beautiful home! Where is the credenza with the diamond shapes on the drawers from?

  • What a beautiful home. I’m hoping to lovingly curate pieces in the same way for my little 1940 colonial.

    Is there any info on that watercolor of the house? Was it something commissioned on Etsy? It’s so sweet.

    • Yes, my sister commissioned an Etsy artist named Carole S. Poole to paint it for me. Thanks for asking and for your sweet comment!

  • Oh my, I’m in love with this house! Rebecca, you amaze me! Such thought, vision, planning, and work have come together in a beautiful masterpiece. Now to talk you into a personal tour!?