ANDERSON — The rural farmhouse was a Cinderella story in the making.
For six months, Pete and Lisa Bitar were on a mission to restore the 100-year-old treasure back to its original glory, and they’ve done just that — and then some.
“I think you had to have some vision to see what it could become,” explained Pete. “It had the bones and the structure to be worthwhile to remodel. Lisa saw what was possible here — it was mostly her vision.”
The couple started by hiring a local contractor they could trust, Preston Ade of Ade Construction.
“You cannot underestimate the peace of mind that comes from working with someone who is trustworthy,” said Lisa.
No strangers to remodeling, the Bitars have tackled two other home renovations during their 23-year marriage.
“With the other two houses, we did a lot of the work ourselves because it was mostly cosmetic,” said Lisa. “This one required professionals.”
From reroofing and constructing a new upstairs bathroom to completely updating the kitchen and rewiring the electrical system, the overhaul of the home at 977 S. 500 East required a great deal of time and resources.
While most of the large projects were left to the professionals, Lisa spent hours selecting fixtures, finishes, colors, kitchen appliances, cabinets and more, channeling her inner Joanna Gaines (of “Fixer Upper”) to create the perfect farmhouse atmosphere.
“All the resourcing took a lot of time and energy — if you care about budget and design and look, then that’s another layer of care while you’re out scouring for just the right thing at the right price,” she said.
Protecting the historic value of the nearly 3,100-square-foot home, including the original woodwork in the form of built-ins, baseboards, solid doors and floors, also required a lot of extra labor on the couple’s part.
“There’s so much wood in this house,” said Lisa. “Cleaning and polishing up the old woodwork and bringing it back to life was a major time investment.”
One of the fun finds that Lisa chose not to cover up was an etching in one of the bedroom doors.
“The gentleman we bought the house from grew up here. He etched ‘Dick’s Room’ into his door in his childhood handwriting,” she explained.
One of the challenges the Bitars encountered was the lack of an upstairs bathroom, but that didn’t stop Lisa from seeking out a solution. Her advice to fellow remodelers?
“Look for the opportunities in your home. The closets upstairs were big enough for us to put another bathroom in, but it took some work to figure out if we could get a shower and a bathtub and two sinks in. Just a lot of thinking out of the box.”
The Bitars also found that shopping local was essential to their process.
“It’s super important to have local sources because sometimes you just have to go see it, go try it,” explained Lisa. “And I’ve found that our local stores were very, very customer friendly. We tried to do as much in county as we could because we really believe in supporting local.”
Pete agreed. “Shopping local gives you the ability to touch. I think there’s just no substitute for that.”
The Bitars’ hard work on the house has garnered high praise from those who appreciate it most — the neighbors. Several came to the open house to see the transformation.
“All of the neighbors in this area that had been looking at this house for decades were just so appreciative that we had kind of raised it up,” said Pete.
Now the Bitars are looking for a family who will appreciate the house as much as they do.
“It’s really become beautiful again — it feels full of life,” said Lisa. “Now we just want to see it land with a family that loves it.”