Our house was built in 1881, which makes it exactly 100 years older than me and 101 years older than Bradley. Right after closing, we met a really nice man who came over to turn our water on. He told us that Old Mrs. Thompson owned the house and that the entire area flooded in the early ’70s. That’s all the history we knew about the house. (We also found out that they levied the creek after the big flood, so we’re totally out of the flood zone. Phew!)
Up until yesterday, that’s all we knew about the history of our house.
We dropped by after work yesterday to drop off some boxes & furniture, and to check the mail. We still haven’t officially moved in yet — that won’t happen until we finish the 2 rooms we’re renovating. Anyway, our neighbor Skip saw us lugging boxes into the house and he dropped by to introduce himself. Skip and his wife have lived next door for 30ish years. They moved into what they thought was a starter home, and never left. So cute!
We were so excited to meet him. Not just because we’ll be living next door to him for an indefinite amount of time, but because we had a ton of questions about the house itself. Ever since we got the keys, we’ve been wondering who lived in our house before us. Were they happy there? And, more importantly, whhhhhhy would they paint the walls the exact same blue as the carpet? Or use roof shingles to cover an indoor wall. Or cut a giant hole in a wall and — instead of covering it with an access panel door like a sane person — tape it shut using a piece of cardboard and a giant Mother’s Day card. Yeah. Really. Photographic evidence coming soon.
When Skip dropped by to chit-chat, we finally got a chance to talk to someone who might know. We’re nosy people. We can’t help ourselves.
Skip told us that an old lady owned the house (Old Mrs. Thompson!), and she was a lifer. She purchased the house as a foreclosure during the Great Depression, and lived there until she died. She was 104 years old. The house was already “old” by the time she moved in — it had been around for 50 years!
The nerds in us couldn’t help but marvel at the similarities. We purchased the old house during the Great Recession, also as a foreclosure. Who knows — maybe we’ll live here until we’re 104!
Skip said that Old Mrs. Thompson took great care of the house, and maintained it beautifully. The exterior always looked immaculate. Skip and the water guy never mentioned an Old Mr. Thompson or Little Baby Thompsons pitter-pattering around the yard, so it sounds like she lived there by herself.
After Old Mrs. Thompson died, some allegedly nuttier people moved in and they didn’t take very good care of the house. They put up the half-painted privacy fence. I’m guessing they’re also responsible for shingled wall, the Mother’s Day card access panel door, and the all-blue Smurf room that we’re currently re-doing. And then there’s the all-purple room:
Yup. Purple walls, purple trim, purple doors. And the pièce de résistance: purple floors. At least they held themselves back a little and made the floors a very light lilac. I think our eyeballs would have exploded if the floors matched the dark purple trim. We’ll share all the charming features of the purple room (permanently glued butterfly stickers on the walls!) once we take our hammers to it. For now, we’ve closed the door and are in full denial of what lies behind it.
Anyway, we didn’t learn much about the latest owners of our house, but they weren’t around for very long. Skip didn’t seem very sad to see them go.
What we learned about our house just made us love it more. When we found out that a little old lady lived there and loved the house and took a lot of pride in keeping it beautiful, we got even more excited about restoring the house to its previous level of fabulousness. It’ll be like the purple room never happened.
The fun starts this weekend with our first how-to feature. We’re going to tear down a wall and install French doors and share all the details of how we did it. Whee! Stay tuned.