804 N. Kuney – the Soelters’ Home

804 n kuney

Laura Soelter says she doesn’t speak French but you might think otherwise when you go through her house.

Everywhere, it seems, there are posters and objects titled in French. What gives?

“I worked for a French company,” she says. This was a company that sold fabric, which helps explain the many artful objects made from fabric.

Except that is far from the whole picture: in her spare time Laura constructs medieval costumes and is a veteran quilter. So while many people decorate their houses with ornaments from retailers, Laura’s home brims with personal touches, many that she made herself.

It’s an approach well-suited to the home’s Craftsman style, which capitalizes on modest dimensions and intimate spaces.

The home was built in 1920 by Earl and Mable Rogers. The city directory at the time identified Earl as a foreman with Western Merchandise Co., and within a few years he was listed as the company’s treasurer.

Trivia alert: the president of Western Merchandise was A.L. Duckwall. That would be Duckwall, as in Duckwall-ALCO. During the mid-1980s, the president of ALCO was — wait for it — Robert Soelter. Yes, Laura’s father.

Between Earl and Laura, there were many owners of the tidy house, including Charles and Genevieve Kueker. The Kuekers owned it from the mid-1930s until early 1960s. At one point, Charles played professional baseball. And — here we go again — worked for Western Merchandise, as general manager of the warehouse.

While Laura’s tastes and interests are on display throughout the house, she says she has done relatively little to change the house itself.

Take, for example, the kitchen, which is her favorite spot.

“I didn’t change anything,” she says. The space is indeed charming. But there isn’t a great deal of counter space.

“It’s not functional,” she says readily. “But it’s cute.”

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