Built in 1934, the house was updated in the early 90’s and was ready for a facelift. The Smiths carefully removed the floor-to-ceiling wallpaper that was present in every single room except the living room.
Church members helped with more challenging projects, such as building a set of stairs from the walk-out basement to the base of the hill in the backyard, adding an extra doorway in the living room wall, and renovating the upstairs bathroom.
“I tiled the floor myself,” said Sarah. “I was pretty nervous about it but it turned out really well.”
When she wasn’t tiling, she had a can of spray paint in her hand. By adding a black coat to all the brass fixtures in the house (including the door to the fireplace), she inexpensively fashioned pieces that look brand new.
“Instead of replacing things that still work, I just update them,” she said.
Not only has the family enjoyed the records of the home left by the previous owner, including pictures from the architect, but also finding surprises at every turn.
“We found a secret room after we moved in,” said Ryan, who explained that a small door in a closet opens to a hall that, once crawled through, leads to a tiny room. “Sometimes we go in there and read a book.”
They also discovered an old safe built into the wall. Previous owners have passed the combination down through the years so that it remains useable. A small inset behind a door next to the fireplace was a mystery until a visit to Connor Prairie. Sarah learned she is the proud owner of a black oven, which was used to bake bread.
“God has blessed us,” said Ryan.
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 email@example.com.