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Every once in a while you find a diamond in the rough. Last summer a good friend called to see if I would help him bring an old distressed Victorian back to life. I'm always up for a challenge, so we met up and surveyed the property. Whew! Distressed was an understatement. He had already cut all of the overgrowth away from the house so you could actually see it, and I'm not 100% sure why he didn't leave right then.
Removing all the trees around the house gave an amazing view of a house that had been idle for 12+ years. Windows were broken out, the porches were falling down on both front and back sides of the house, the roof leaked, birds lived in the attic, and that was just the beginning.
Inside wasn't any better. The first floor bathroom was missing its floor. Rain, snow and birds had been passing through the second story windows for years, and they had left their mark. The walls and ceilings were crumbling throughout, and those were the good features. But, there was something about that house that had us intrigued.
Strother Adams is a craftsman. Strother and his brother Davey have rescued more than one structure, and this was surely to be a test beyond most. For months after that, Davey scraped paint, fixed windows, repaired doors, repaired plaster, built bathrooms with floors, sealed up leaks and did a hundred things I never saw him do. Strother coordinated plumbers, HVAC contractors, insulators, roofers and others. My electrical company went in and made the old wiring safe while replacing the majority of it with new 21st century circuitry.
The kitchen was completely replaced, one bathroom was restored, one more was added and one was cleaned up. The floors were sanded, plaster finished and walls painted, new trim installed or old trim repaired. New plumbing and a heating/cooling system was installed, and finally it was finished.
This ugly duckling had become a beautiful swan. We had more fun with this property than most we work with. It had nooks and crannies that most houses don't have. You could sense little children hiding in the voids between the walls, and you could see a level of 19th century craftsmanship that rivals the best craftsmen of our day.
I love the whole process of buying and selling real estate, but every once in a while a house comes along that begs for a second chance. I know as realtors, we are in the market to help others buy or sell homes, and that is exciting. But, I also have the good fortune to be an electrical contractor. When a diamond in the rough comes along like this one, I often get to be a part of its rebirth. Then, the buying and selling becomes a second thought, an end result.
The real joy in finding a house like this is seeing it rise from the dust of blight and decay to become a fully restored home where a family will live and kids will grow, songs will be sung and meals will be shared. People will fall in love with all of its vintage 1800s features while enjoying the comforts of our upgrades, and they won't be inconvenienced by outdated wiring, plumbing, heating and cooling systems. No, they will be free to enjoy a piece of history. They can absorb its strength that helped it survive the ravages of time, and they will sense the families that once walked through its hallways. It is a diamond in the rough, and what a diamond it is!