We bought a house. Not a new house, but a house we will make a home. (It may help to read Home to fully understand the context of this article.) Finding a house in Denver right now is like finding the perfect wedding dress at Filene’s Basement. After we sold our last home, the race was on to find somewhere to land. We landed on a 1950’s ranch in the Sloans Lake neighborhood. We kindly refer to it as our “mid-century modest.” It didn’t look like it had been changed much since it was built- except for some pink soffits, pink shag carpet and some wood paneling. We knew it had great bones and a layout we could work with.
What we didn’t know was that the house had one owner before us- William Seyfer. What we also didn’t know until we closed was that William (we affectionately call him “Bill”) built the home after getting out of the Navy in 1951. At our closing the broker brought us a scrapbook that Bill’s daughter, Sally, gave us that had a photographic account of the build. She also brought a story about the house that she scribed for her dad. Needless to say, I cried at the closing.
We are in the middle of the remodel now. We’ve replaced all the systems. We’ve changed a few walls, and reconfigured some spaces, but for the most part, it’s the same. It’s not fancy. It won’t win any architectural awards. But it has an amazing spirit- a soul. It was evident to Terry and I when we first walked in, but it was confirmed by our dogs who just get crazy happy anytime we stop by. How is that? How does a house get a soul? And how do you feel it, how do you know it? It could be good design. It could be the love that was manifested there. It could have been built on some positive vortex of amazing energy. Who really knows, but you just know. Ya know.
I’ve had trepidation about Sally or her brothers seeing that we’ve ripped open their childhood home to “update” it. As if it were to be held there in all of its 1950s glory- window treatments et al. I hope we are honoring the spirit of Bill as we move through new layouts and fixtures and flooring. I hope the space holds the ‘special.’ I hope that this becomes an example of taking something old and giving it a best new life.
We think it’s important that we unearth the heritage and legacy of places and spaces. Especially the one’s in which we spend most of our time. I hope we do Bill proud in our efforts to restore. I hope we do us proud.