The Fire House was vacant, yet For Sale when I saw it for the first time. There was trash and abandoned children’s toys throughout the overgrown corner lot and a red tag on the front door that officially labeled it as condemned. There was a charred hole in the roof over the laundry room as clear evidence of the fire that had caused the home’s demise and more than one window had been broken, likely by rocks thrown by kids in the neighborhood. When co-workers learned of my plans to purchase and renovate the house, they tried to persuade me to reconsider. It was the ugliest home on the street and people just had a tough time getting a handle on where I'd start and found it difficult (if not impossible) to imagine the place in livable condition. However, I saw a forgotten brick home with potential that would be transformed into an amazing place to live when I was finished.
I borrowed money to buy and renovate the Fire House. My agreement with the bank included a twelve month time limit to complete the renovations and receive my Certificate of Occupancy from the local Building Officials. More than one person advised me that I’d be unable to obtain my CO in that amount of time because I was doing so much of the work myself while working my full time job that occupied the majority of my time Monday through Friday and portions of my Saturdays. In addition, I was peppered with warnings about the smoke smell that existed in the house as quite a few folks thought it was there to stay.
I grew up in the Midwest and had spent plenty of time with my sleeves rolled up shoveling manure, baling hay, and detasseling corn. In addition to that I'd also had a lot of fun on our small farm building tree houses and hay forts. For me, work, building, and fun had been rolled into one for much of my life. I heard what people said when I started to work on the run-down house, but didn’t really understand why they were so full of doubts. I felt confident that the Fire House would look, feel, and be a real gem when I was done. I didn’t sleep very well the night before my first day of work, but it wasn’t nerves making me toss and turn in my bed, I was simply too excited to sleep well.
|The Back of the Fire House where the damage was the most extensive.|
|The Front Corner of the Fire House|
|The Kitchen, next to the Laundry Room|
|The Back Inside Corner of the Fire House. The section to the left of the bay window was a previous addition that added a Master Suite which turned the 3 bedroom, 1bath Ranch into a 4 bdrm., 2 ba. home.|