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Homefront: Fourth time's the charm

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From the front it may look like a church, from the back, a cabin through the wooded hills of Rocky Butte Park, but to Richard and Shirley Dukart, it's home.

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Though Shirley said she just decorates and cleans, Richard designed and built most of the house at 649 Park St. in Dickinson in 1997.

"I laid all the bricks and the rock and did all the interior," Richard said. Adding it took a little over a year to complete the home.

Richard has had plenty of time to hone his woodworking skills: This is the fourth home he's built and he owned Dakota Church Furniture in Dickinson for 47 years. That experience, he said, may contribute to the cathedral look of the home.

The high wood ceiling comes to a peak at the second-story level of the home, featuring wooden crossbeams and accented by tall windows and stone in the front and back.

"Some people think it's maybe a church, but it's not, it's a house," said Richard, laughing. "All I'd have to do is put a cross up there and it'd pass for a church."

That high ceiling also allows for a loft, where Richard showcases some of his hunting trophies.

"We weren't going to make a two story -- actually, all we got is the loft out of it -- but we just raised the roof up and put the loft in," he said.

The loft also expanded Richard's favorite feature of his home, the staircase.

Like all the wood detailing in the home, the staircase is walnut and boasts intricate texturing along the sides and rails.

"I've built a number of stairways, but nothing ever that complicated," Richard said.

The main floor has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room and an open-style living, dining and kitchen area.

Along with hand-built cabinetry and stools, the kitchen also features a faceted block-pattern panel designed and patented by Richard.

The basement also features the patented design on a bar and a special light Richard built accented with stained glass over the pool table. A large fireplace is framed by flint stones from the area.

Additional bedrooms and a bathroom help accommodate company, Richard said.

The large backyard offers views of Rocky Butte and the location on a quiet cul de sac keeps the home from the bustle of many Dickinson streets.

Though rich with hand-designed details, not everything in the home was built by Richard. Shirley also chooses pieces to accent the rooms, including the large kitchen table.

"Every time I go hunting I come home and there's something new," Richard said.

And after all that work, the Dukarts plan to stay put. Richard said his fourth home is his last.

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