Friends! As some of you may know, Sarah and I write this blog and we also own a few other businesses, one of them being Campus Coworking Space. We had just opened our doors on January 1, 2019, and experienced a complete loss after the tornado on May 23rd. We were located in Holly Stitt’s building on Capitol Avenue next to Avenue HQ.
Blood, sweat, tears, you name it. It all went into getting that space up and running and we loved it. Our friends and family spent hours helping us over Christmas and NYE. On month five, our business broke even for the first time.
And then, in a blink of an eye, it was bruised, beaten, water damaged, blown away - demolished.
The insurance adjuster called me the following Monday for a walk through to asses the damage. I laughed and said you can go by there, but it’s boarded up. There’s not much to see. He called later and said, We’ll go ahead and file the max claim. It’s a complete loss.
So what do you do when you loose everything and life gives you the proverbial lemon?
Damn straight. You make lemonade, friends. We all know the drill here.
Slightly out of order, let me back up… Sarah and I were standing on soggy drop ceiling and pulling our beloved artwork by artist Adrienne Luther off the walls trying to salvage things that meant a lot to us. It was the first five minutes of the day we had a chance to even have a conversation. “So what do we want to do?” one of us asked. Our insurance agent, Charlie Christiansen, had just recapped for us what our policy limits were and what we could expect.
Do we rebuild? Do we have it in us? Do we want to put our families through that again? Instead of building-out another place, what if we buy?
“Call Nick. See if he knows of anything.”
On the phone with Nick - he’s not sure of anything available - -BUT WAIT. I know Dan Basel who has been coming to 1 Million Cups just renovated an old house on High St and it’s already zoned for commercial use because they had attorneys in there. Nick said he’ll make the call and find out.
35 days later, we closed on 609 E High - the beautiful home that Dan Basel remodeled!
Dan did such a wonderful job on this house. Throughout all the inspections we had, people who didn’t know Dan just kept saying, “Wow, they did a really good job on this place.” “For being this old of a house, it’s in really good shape.” Those are the things you like to hear when you’re purchasing, no?
I thought it’d be fun to shine some light on this house and who better to tell you about it than the man who has done all the work? Take a minute with me to learn about our building specifically, but also what goes into two years of renovating a house built in 1910 in Jefferson City. Here we go!
1. What made you want to buy this house and renovate?
We were looking for a place to run our business and rent out the additional space. We had a price range in mind and focused on the east side. 609 had good bones, finished plaster ceilings and potentially great curb appeal under the heavy brush and behind the huge sign in front.
2. What was the biggest lesson you learned while renovating this house?
Set a budget and double it. Everything takes longer than expected.
3. This is your 5th renovation. Where else have you renovated houses?
First one was in a Chicago suburb; 2 in Kent, Ohio; 1 in St Louis West County
4. If you could go back and do it over, what would you do differently?
Project wise, I would have walked the house every day for progress and cleaned up. Appearance – I would have sodded the front and had more design in the landscape. I chose the rainbow rock thinking I might have to be the one to mow the steep slope.
5. What would you do exactly the same?
Make the design and decorating decisions with Gina, especially the kitchen.
6. What is your vision for this part of High Street?
Finish upgrading the four houses on the same side of the street. Turn the front office of the house next door to a nice store front and extend the downtown street lights to Lafayette.
7. What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in renovating an old house?
Have the house professionally inspected. Take time to get 3 bids on each project, you learn something from each contractor. YouTube and Pinterest are great resources for DIY and ideas. Take pics of your area to be done. Drop it into a photo editor to predict what it will look like when done. Join the new rehab club within Historic City of Jefferson. Contact: Anne Green, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. What is your favorite thing about 609 E High?
The large white corbels and extended soffits around the house.
9. Anything else you’d like to share?
We are the capitol city of the State. We should be the pearl of all cities. I suggest a new launch for Jeff city to be #JCinvest. Get involved. Be part of the solution. Help your old neighbor. Keep the city clean, clean up the unkept, beautify the unmaintained. Support local merchants.
10. What’s your next project?
There are a couple of places on East Capitol that have my eye. For now, I am focused on my business, Home Helpers, of helping peoples’ parents and grandparents live a better life.
Thank you, dan!
Thank you so much for reading!
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