When We Met
Loren Haugee walked across the oak floor covered in a fine dusting of dirt. Haugee noted the house’s brownish-green trim and pointed to the high mop floorboards as we toured the home. Haugee said the house, a few miles outside of Kimberly, was built around 1914.
In the living room a small window with diamond-shaped glass panes was aglow in the early afternoon, while three large windows in the living room allowed the stark light to flood the first floor, silhouetting Haugee.
Haugee, the contractor for the Kimberly home’s restoration, comes from a long line of construction workers and carpenters. His grandfather was born in 1878 and came to the United States from Norway in 1883. He then worked as a journeyman carpenter, finally retiring at 77 but still
remodeling homes until he was 85. Haugee said his father was an electrician and a plumber.
“It’s in the genes I guess you could say,” Haugee said.
How You Might Know Him
Haugee is general manager of The Finishing Touch in Twin Falls.
The company specializes in concrete construction and excavating, but during the winter it has started restoring older homes like the one in Kimberly.
So far, Haugee said, the company has restored three homes. The Kimberly home is the oldest and has been the most extensive project so far.
“We had a house mover take it off its foundation. We rebuilt the foundation, put it back on and now it has a basement,” Haugee said.
As Haugee talked, he was quick to note that he likes to work behind the scenes, employing the specialities of others when The Finishing Touch can provide a certain service.
“I don’t do plumbing, I can’t move the house, heating or air-conditioning,” Haugee said. “As a contractor you put that all together to get that done.”
Haugee, 66, is originally from Minnesota but moved to Idaho when he was in his 20s.
“I took a trip here in 1968 to go hunting,” Haugee said. “I just fell in love with it.”
That was also when he met his friend Bill Brackman, the original owner of Finishing Touch, which is now owned by Brackman’s widow, Judy.
“We grew up together you might say,” Haugee said.
The two men along with their families would go hunting, fishing, golfing and vacationing together.
When Bill died, Haugee helped out his friend’s family by taking over as general manager to help run the company. You can see samples of The Finishing Touch’s work at the McDonald’s in Jerome or at the sign in front of I.B. Perrine Elementary School in Twin Falls.
Some of the stamped concrete around town, both residential and business, is the company’s handiwork too. Stamped concrete has patterns in it or looks like stone.
“To me, it’s always been a big part of the business, is to build a good rapport with customers. Bill would have wanted it that way,” Haugee said. “It’s not me, it’s the company, the crew. I feel like a very small part of it.”
When We Said Goodbye
As we walked from the mud room — which is a room with a bathroom and sink between the garage and house — Haugee told me he remembers working with his grandfather as a young boy. The work he had Haugee do involved pulling out nails, something easy for a child to do, Haugee said.
For his grandfather to build a home the size of the one in Kimberly back then would have taken a year. And Haugee still has the antique hand tools — planes, hammers, saws — that his grandfather used in building.