If you have read the about me page, you saw me mention a bit about my old house. This is the story about how I came to own her.
We had moved from the Florida Keys so my first husband Don could go to school in Tampa. He finished school and started a job driving trucks over the road. That didn’t work out to well and we decided to settle here, near where I had family. We had been living in town for about 18 months, when driving home from my grandmother’s house, I had noticed new, bright orange, signs on a couple of houses in the neighborhood. One was on a house just around the corner from where we lived. I hadn’t really noticed the house until the sign was posted. At my request, Don pulled the car to the side of the road by the house and we tried to figure out what is was for. It didn’t take long to figure out that the house was vacant, so I went up to read the sign.
UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION
Under the orange sign was a bright yellow warning sign and beside that was a form that listed all the repairs that were required and next to that a building permit with the current owners name on it. I quickly read the list of required repairs and then walked around a bit trying to figure out why it was considered unfit. As I peered into window after window, I fell in love with it! It reminded me of Walton’s Mountain and I knew right then and there that it was going to be mine. The sign meant nothing to me… I was 22 and fearless! Besides our family was rapidly out growing the 980 sq foot house we were living in.
It took several days, but, I tracked down the current owner, no easy a task in 1981 (I actually had to use a phone book). To my disappointment, I was informed that the house was not for sale… Oh, did I mention that the house was owned by Martha Stewart and her husband Tom…
Yeah, not “The Martha Stewart” but Martha Stewart nonetheless.
So Mr. Stewart had informed me that the house was not for sale. I guess at that point in my life, I was to young to have a reputation to preceded me… but, I was tenacious, and by July 28, Don and I owned the house.
I look back now and think… a stay at home mom with two small boys, one income and no actual construction knowledge, that just spent almost every cent we had on a house we couldn’t live in… What the H E double hockey sticks was I thinking!
So, yes we were now the proud owners of “My Old House” a one and a half story, Queen Anne style home that was alleged to have been built around 1845, but we will save the history lesson for another time based on reader interest.
Over the years many people had made changes to the home and during the renovation process we found some pretty strange construction techniques… as in, I built better tree forts when I was a kid, than how this was done.
In the next installment of My Old House, I will tell you what happens when you own a house that has been condemned, and how to fight city hall and win!
Until then… Life is simple… Enjoy the journey!