By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
When their family began outgrowing their home, John and Angie Hidner traded a small house in Daleville for greater square footage in Anderson. A friend, knowing the size of historic homes downtown, recommended one on West Eighth Street that was built in 1912.
“We loved how small and quaint it looked on the outside,” said Angie, a sales trainer for Sales Artists. “But once you get inside, the house just keeps going. We really needed that square footage.”
At the time Angie wasn’t working outside the home. She was homeschooling the children, which meant some living space was needed for academic pursuits. With a finished attic and usable basement, the family finally had all the room they could want.
Not only did the previous owners leave the home in good condition, they had also redone all of the woodwork on the interior. Beautiful thick trim and antique doors lead from one room to another.
“Almost all the work we have done has been cosmetic,” said Angie. “Every wall was wallpapered from ceiling to floor and there was carpet in almost every room. After we were here for a couple of years, the pregnancy nesting urge kicked in and I pulled up the carpet in the dining room.”
“I’m never sure what I’m going to come home to,” said John with a laugh.
Upstairs for a week
Pleased to find that the hardwood floors underneath had been protected by a barrier placed between them and the carpet, Angie had virtually no restoring work to do. She did notice that they were a few shades lighter than the refinished woodwork and eventually restained the floor.
“We decided to do all the floors at once,” said John, who works for Integrated Dynamics. “That was a lot of fun. All five kids — and us — lived upstairs for a week so that we didn’t walk on the floors.”
While the floors became one large project, the wallpaper came down one room at a time. Recently the master bedroom, previously a parlor, was tackled — only to find 12 layers of paper covered the walls. Once the Hidners finally reached the plaster, they found a pencil drawing dated 1912 showing a man in a tux and tails holding roses and a ring.
“There is a rumor floating around that the original owner, who also owned a concrete company, proposed to his wife here,” said John. “I hated covering that up. It was really cool. I did take pictures of it.”
The doorway separating the bedroom from the living room features a beautiful leaded glass transom which adds character to both rooms. The living room, however, is John and Angie’s favorite area.
“This is where we are most of the time with the kids,” said Angie. “We do our homework here and have family game night here. This is where the fun happens. We play a lot with our kids and this house gives us the space to do that.”
“And we both like historic homes,” said John. “My dad was an auctioneer so I grew up around old things. I always wanted an older home.”
“I love going to antique malls and barn sales,” said Angie, pointing out her bench from the Chicago train station sitting near an old ladder that doubles as a magazine rack. “I love being in an older home because you can be very creative.”
Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.