Patience Pays Off
Years ago, Steve and Patricia Ingram fell in love with a Craftsman bungalow on Washington Street in Valparaiso. They liked it so much they stuck a note in the mailbox, offering to buy the house if the owner ever wanted to sell.
A few years later, the bungalow landed on their radar again when it was ready to be appraised for an estate sale. Steve, who owns an appraisal company, refused the business because of his personal interest in the place, but lost out to another buyer. In 2013, that owner was downsizing, called Steve up, and said, “Do you want to buy it now?”
The Ingrams leaped to buy the brick house built in 1912 that had only three prior owners, families that loved the home and protected its original details, including beveled and stained glass windows, pocket doors made of oak inlaid with walnut, 10-foot ceilings, and a large fireplace.
The couple banished the ‘60s-era wallpaper, uncovering and restoring hand stenciling hidden beneath, and removed carpet to reveal the original wood floors. In the basement, they discovered original light fixtures carefully packed away that they rewired and installed on the main level.
They returned the kitchen to a more period-appropriate appearance, removing a dropped ceiling added in a 1950s remodel and stripping the woodwork. “Whatever we do to the home, we always tread softly and let the home guide us,” says Steve.
In the purchase, the Ingrams acquired Craftsman furniture that was perfect for the house, including an impressive dining room table, handcrafted linens to fit every expansion of said table, and handwritten notes pinned to the fabric about their origins. The den retains a hanging daybed with Moorish décor, a favorite sleeping arrangement for visiting children.
As the couple made the house their own, they couldn’t help but watch and wonder about the future of a Craftsman bungalow next door. They talked the owner into selling the long-vacant house, finding the perfect buyer in their son Aaron and his wife Laura, who have started rehabbing the property using contractors and their own sweat equity.
The young couple plans to keep the cool Craftsman details – built-in bookshelves, original woodwork and hardware, pocket doors, and fireplace – while updating the home to suit their needs. Steve and Patricia are looking forward to the added benefit of having their granddaughter steps away. “It’s a neat house in a great location and we’re excited to bring it back,” says Aaron Ingram.
And here’s where truth is stranger than fiction. Aaron and Laura’s home? It was originally built for Alma and Walter Clifford, the son of the builder of Steve and Patricia’s home, who worked in his father’s construction company, just as Aaron also works in the family business. A century after their construction, these matching bungalows that span one city block are once again all in the family.
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