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I've Owned the House Twice--Really

Thursday, April 18, 2019

This past weekend, when hosting the granddaughter of the 10th owner, I was reminded of the 4th most often asked question that I get, which is,” How long have you owned the house?”

What question could be simpler to answer? Take this year subtract the year of purchase and that’s the number of years, right?

Well no, not exactly . . .

You see, I have owned the house twice. Most guests have to come back to hear the whole story, but I will share it with you here . . .

I stumbled on st. Louis City while I was in college, renting a flat in the next neighborhood over. I would jog over here and lust after the magnificent mansions just a short distance from the working class neighborhood I was renting in. I always made a side loop around Benton Place as I ran laps around the park. This house called to me even then. And it was for sale for the outrageous price for that time of $149,900 when nothing else at that time had sold for over $100,000.

For months, I would jog by when one day I noticed the price had dropped to $99,900. Though I couldn’t afford it, I figured I could afford to LOOK at it at that price. I called for an appointment.

When I walked in the door, I immediately felt as if I had come home. It was as if the house wrapped its arms around me. I wanted this house! As I went room to room, I didn’t see how awful it had been remuddled, I saw what it could become. The agent assured me the owner was very willing to negotiate and to put in an offer. In the fall of 1981, IF you could get a mortgage on city property, the interest rate was well over 20%. Thinking I was feeling this guy out, I offered him $60,000, with 25% down, with owner financing at 10%. He accepted without countering. I had just “bought” myself a house!

Fast forward, married, with two kids, running a tiny two room bed and breakfast out of my current (tiny) house, we were faced with decision to either quit the business or get a bigger house.

I knew that this house was being rented. I had a real estate agent make contact and learned that the owners were very willing to sell. A deal was struck in October 1991 and on February 14, 1992, the house became mine again!

We bought the house specifically to run a bed and breakfast, (Often asked Question #5), it was NOT my family home (#7). And it did NOT come fully furnished (#8). With two kids in tow, adding on three others, the renovations have stalled out from time to time—those younger three kids were not I the business plan!

Here we are, 27 years later and we have averaged about 0.75 rooms per year. I took Sarah all through the house and she was quite touched that I am lovingly restoring the home her grandmother had loved so much before me.

So when you would like to to see our restored Victorian mansion, be sure to check out OUR ROOMS and AVAILABILITY. You can also take a short VIDEO TOUR and get a little bit of the history of each room.

And be sure to check back--we're adding a 7th room this early this summer!