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The 49th Estate: The woodworker and his workshop

Stephen Nowers,Maia Nolan-Partnow

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The 49th Estate is our answer to MTV's "Cribs," a weekly tour of Alaska homes and interviews with their owners.

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Mark Wedekind and his wife bought their Airport Heights home in 1994, when it was a bright green, one-story home that looked a lot like the other properties on the block: flat roof, low ceilings, dark rooms. A few years later, in 2001, they undertook a home renovation project not for the faint of heart: They added a second floor, planning to expand their square footage and flood the house with light.

They weren't anticipating the rainiest July on record. A blue tarp tied down to the house next door (here's to good neighbors) protected the house while construction progressed.

"We were constantly doing tarp management," Wedekind said.

Today, the house is barely recognizable compared to its original incarnation. Wedekind, a woodworker whose studio is just out the back door, is his own general contractor, and his fingerprints are all over the house -- from the curved lines in the living room ceiling that echo a similar curve in the floor, creating a virtual wall, to the incredible custom staircase that dominates the center of the home.

"It's still not done," Wedekind said. "It's a work in progress."

If you have an interesting Alaska home you'd like to see featured as a 49th Estate, contact Maia Nolan at maia(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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