Historic College in Nebraska Has Been Converted Into a Cozy, Rustic Lodge

A house that was once part of the first college west of the Mississippi River is now a single-family home with the feel of a rustic lodge.

The 5,000-square-foot house on Eighth Street in the town of Fontanelle, NE, just outside of Blair, is available for $1.2 million.

And for any lovers of unique lighting fixtures, the focal point of the two-story entryway is part of the sale.

“You walk in, and you’re greeted by two grand staircases that go up on either side of the entryway,” says the listing agent, Michael Maley, adding that there is hand-carved molding all the way around—and a massive antler chandelier.

“The chandelier is so big, it’ll probably have to stay with the house, because it’d be virtually impossible to get out,” he says.

The current owner had to take out a window in order to install it, he adds.

Built in 1896, as part of what is now Doane University, the two-story brick building sits on almost 4 acres of flat Nebraska land. What you see from the exterior doesn’t give any hint of the home’s current aesthetic.

“What surprised me the most when I went in there—from the outside, it looks like this brick, stately kind of house,” Maley says. “Then you go inside, and it was completely unexpected, because it just screams of a Montana lodge.”

Exterior of home in Fontanelle, NE

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Entrance

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Mounted hunting trophies flank the entryway chandelier.

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Historical marker

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Living space

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Living space

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Living space

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

The mahogany front door provides a transition from the outside to the inside, which is chock-full of dark woods and rich colors.

Bedroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Bedroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Bathroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Bedroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Bedroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Master bedroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Master bathroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Bathroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Bedroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

The converted college now boasts five bedrooms and five bathrooms. The current owners have had the place since 2013, and have updated the master bedroom and bathroom to create a modern retreat.

“The bathroom was their most recent renovation, and now they’re actually going to finish the other two bathrooms, so they match, and everything is brand-new,” Maley says.

Kitchen

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Dining area

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Kitchen

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

The kitchen sits near the deck and pool, and a new owner might want to overhaul the space to create a dream kitchen, Maley suggests, since it hasn’t been updated much since the owners arrived.

“It’s a big kitchen, but I would think somebody might want to come in and make some changes,” he says.

Bedroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Bedroom

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Some of the log furniture pieces around the home are also included in the sale price, including the bunk beds.

“They’ve all been custom-made for the rooms that they’re in. Everything was made so you feel like you’re up in the mountains somewhere, and a lot of that stuff is going to stay,” Maley explains.

Barn

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Barn

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Barn

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Near the main house is a separate structure with heating, cooling, and a bathroom of its own.

Designed to look like a big red barn, it has plenty of storage space, as well as a special feature for lovers of live music, since it has often hosted live concerts.

“It is studio-quality sound in there. They have sound-deadening pads that came down from the roof. The speakers are set up perfectly for acoustics,” Maley says. “You can be in the middle of that barn and feel like you’re at a concert at a performing arts center downtown.”

The back part of the barn is currently used for storage.

Fire pit

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Treehouse

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

For family fun, there’s also a pool, a treehouse, and a campsite with a fire pit.

“They set their tents up there, and they roast marshmallows and have fun as a family,” Maley says. “Instead of having to go a campsite, they just have one in their backyard.”

The owners enjoy the fact that they rarely ever have to leave this recreational property.

“The 4 acres is just a ton of room to run around,” he adds.

Exterior

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Exterior

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Maley says the ideal buyer will appreciate the space and amenities, at a premium now, given the number of people interested in having room to spread out.

“This is just a place where you can feel safe with your kids running around outside,” he says.

Exterior

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Kitchen and dining space

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Interior

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

Living space

Snap Photography/ Jenny Gross

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