A NEW Project to Distract Ourselves

You know how hard it is for me to not share when something exciting happens. I’ve had to wait a couple of weeks for this one, and it’s been killing me. Good news is needed these days, and we have some! Let me tell you a story (which I will share on another blog, too, but that’s okay).

Back Story

Once upon a time, last month, Kathleen was taking a back way from the grocery store to the office. She passed by a house with a For Sale by Owner sign on it. Kathleen thought it was really beautiful and reminded her of her grandmother’s house. She kept driving by it, but didn’t mention it to me or Lee, since we are so busy with the Pope Residence project. She did call the seller and got information on it, but never went farther than that.

Look! It’s a cool old house!

It kept tempting her, though. So, finally she broke down and told us about it, the week before we were scheduled to leave on our vacation. She scheduled a viewing, but could only get it for the day we were supposed to leave, because the current owner lives out of town. We debated whether to put off the trip or not, but I really did want to see my family…

Look! It’s the other side’s equally grand entrance.

We were pretty excited by her description of this large 1885 house on over 1.5 acres that had been partially renovated, so we decided to drive over there and at least look at the outside.

Checking Out the Ross House

We drove to the place, and I could see what Kathleen was talking about. Even having been unoccupied for a few years and a bit overgrown in foliage, you can see it’s a beautiful home. There are two main entrances and a gorgeous wrap-around porch, with grounds that can be turned back into a showplace very easily.

View of overgrown shrub and beautiful porch. Note Christmas lights, which are explained later.

We walked all around the building, then did our best to peep inside, taking pictures from the windows. Lee and I reluctantly went back to the ranch, wishing we could go in.

Then! Kathleen called. The lady across the street had seen us looking, and lo and behold, she had a key! I guess we seemed legit, because she let Chris and Kathleen in. From what I hear, Kathleen began crying at the beauty when she walked in the entrance.

This is the dining room looking from the large entry hall. That would make anyone cry with joy.

Lee and I got back in the car and joined them. Oh my gosh. The most recent owner and his wife had restored the whole place other than the kitchen and bathrooms. It’s all painted in Victorian colors, and the woodwork still gleams.

The living room is huge, and contains antiques.

The kitchen and bathrooms have new plumbing and electrical, and just need all the externals (one bathroom does appear to be functional, and it’s PINK).

None of us could stop ourselves from falling in love.

Story of the House

We got all excited when we went into the attic, which was not completely cleared out (and has a cool woodstove in it). We found records of every previous owner, and found that the first owner ran a fur store, though we aren’t sure if it’s furs to wear or ones that got trapped and sent elsewhere. Lots of names you still hear in Cameron lived there, it seems. We found all sorts of interesting old photos and other items to share with the historical museum and those folks.

Then we talked to the lovely woman across the street, who grew up playing in the house and knew the owners very well. We learned that the last owners loved to buy old things and fix them up, which is fully evident in the workroom chock full of old chandelier parts, stained glass, and old ceramic heaters. When the wife died, the widower stopped working on the house, but he still covered the house in Christmas lights every year. He’d bought 10,000 more lights the year he died.

This is in a bedroom. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful. Wonder where they planned to use it.

Of course that made us like the house more!

A Plan

So, we jumped on things and made a cash offer on the house immediately (let’s just say the price was reasonable), and it was accepted! We’re having trouble getting things signed due to the current health crisis, but as soon as we can arrange to meet with someone from a title company at a very large table, we should be able to own the Ross property.

The huge old tree at right shades a lovely garden area.

After we looked at it, a plan came together. There are three additional lots with the house, which is plenty of space to eventually put in some housing for the elderly. The bedrooms in the house are large enough to be comfortable for tenants who need more help, and the attic would make a great office for caregivers. Ooh!

Dining room fireplace and woodwork.

Obviously this is a plan for the future. We are concentrating on Hearts Homes and Hands right now, and need to get moved into that building and building our client base (that will go easier at some point…I hope?). But, the house can be made livable very quickly, which means Kathleen and Chris can have a place of their own in Cameron, with space for the rest of the clan, as needed. It won’t take much to get a usable bathroom and kitchen ready, then we can work toward something nice as we have time.

Front bedroom or parlor with bowed front. Oh boy, free mattresses.

Who would have guessed this would happen? Not us!

Living room fireplace and gorgeous built-ins that match.

I’ll share more pictures later, but this gives you an idea of the place. Wow, huh?

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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