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40th Anniversary Giveaway: Winning Essay

    1895 Victorian houseOur house is a historic 1895 Victorian whose second owner was Utah’s first congressman. We purchased the home from the recently deceased matriarch of a family who raised three children in this house since the 1940s. They loved the home, but it is original, down to its gravity furnace. The house even has a cistern in the attic!

    The family turned away several cash buyers when they learned what they wanted to do with the home. They were looking for someone like us, a modest family who would lovingly restore the home over time, and appreciate what it is. We had been looking for a home like this for seven years, but would only be able to afford a diamond in the rough. Believe me, it is rough: squirrels in the attic, bathroom that looks like it’s out of post-World War II Europe!

    Victorian dining roomI immediately subscribed to OHJ, and it’s been helpful not only in terms of resources, but knowing there are like minds out there. We aren’t alone! The first thing we spent money on was the electrical, but there are very few fixtures left with the home…and it is dark. Bulbs in sockets adorn our home for now, unless we win.

    –Kari Dunn
    Salt Lake City, Utah

    Published in: Old-House Journal October 2013


    Dan Miller August 28, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Are the spaces above the porch original to the house? They remind me of sleepng porches added after Harriet Beecher Stowe popularized them. Our house had one. My wife does the same thing with landscaping. Too much, it hides the house. I hate it. I would love to see the porch. I once ran acrosss a website dedicated to convincing old house owners not to have foundation plantings for that reason.

    kari dunn September 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Dan, I agree about the plantings, there is too much there! We do have plans to rip out quite a bit, but it’s not the first priority. Soon, though, because it is a beautiful house. My anology is that it’s like a pretty girl with a lot of hair in her face. The porch is original. The side is a sleeping porch. The front lattice work, I believe, was added about 30 years ago, but there is the original balustrade and columns. It seems that there is a real polarity in opinion as to whether to keep the lattice or not. Some love, others are more pure and think it should go. The windows on the sleeping porch side are very cool. They drop down and rest in between the outside wall of the porch and the inside bead board wainscotting. They are really neat. I’d love to restore those.

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