Tag Archives: historic preservation

In my fantasy life…

I would win a huge lottery and have so much money I could pay off all of my debts and buy the Haunted Mansion.

There is a house in town that looked abandoned for years. It is huge and was once owned by Oscar Mayer, yes, that Oscar Mayer the hot dog man. It was covered in vines, had tarps all over the roof and was pitch dark when we drove by at night. It’s not really my style, I like old Victorians and we happen to live in an old Victorian that my husband and I have painstakingly restored over the years. But…there is something about this place that always grabbed my attention and I have always called it the Haunted Mansion.IMG_0548

A couple of years ago it went on the market, apparently by court order. Given the condition, it was severely under market value, but it easily needed a million dollars in restoration. Maisie and I would walk by, I would take pictures and send them to my kids saying things like “what do you think”, “perfect place for the future” and “my next project”.  I was very close to calling a good friend who is a realtor, just so I could get inside and drool for a couple of hours. There is something about an old, run down and neglected home that really gets my blood flowing. Again, let me be clear, this was TOTAL fantasy. A really great fantasy.

I couldn’t get it out of my mind and I had all kinds of design plans. The 3rd floor was a big open space that was originally a ballroom, very common for mansions of the Gilded Age. I would make it the perfect play space for grand-children (still many years away) with climbing toys, a trampoline and shatter proof windows so that the flying hockey puck, lacrosse ball or other projectile wouldn’t cause any damage. For the record, I have restored all of the original windows in my house by myself. I would always choose to keep the original frames, just replace the glass on the 3rd floor only—again, in my fantasy.IMG_0547

It’s 2 blocks from the lake and beach, so even though it doesn’t have a view it is still pretty much a beach house. It is so huge that I could still have formal and casual living spaces. There would be enough bedrooms and beautifully restored bathrooms for as many family members or friends that we would want to invite for a stay. I could even dedicate one to be a bunk room for sleep-overs. (I am planning on entertaining lots of little kids in the future). Best of all, I could create a large dog room that would house the crates, have my dream doggie shower (which we actually did install in our current house, that’s a different post) and a grooming room with a central vac and ventilation to suck up all of the hair. Pretty great, right?

The house is built on a double lot—I would guess each lot to be about 50 feet wide by 200 feet deep. The house pretty much takes up one whole lot, so the yard space is the second huge lot off to the side. This is the best part, I pictured a huge glass solarium with a built-in pool! Heated year round of course, with an enclosed walkway leading to the house. There would also be room for a sport court. As far as fantasies go, I think this is a pretty good one but everyone I shared it with looked at me like I’d lost my mind. I am perfectly aware that this was completely unrealistic but geesh, can’t a girl dream without being faced with a grimace?

View of the back of the house and the large open lot ready for an indoor pool and sport court.

Someday I’ll win the lottery and I’ll show those naysayers. There’s a different house I have my eye on now, it is across the street from the beach with 180 degree lake views. The dog beach is ½ block away and we could watch the 4th of July fireworks from our front porch. Of course I should probably start playing the lottery if I have any chance of making that happen.

P.S. The Oscar Mayer Mansion was purchased by people willing to spend the money necessary to do a pristine, historic preservation. It’s now back on the market, waiting for a family to appreciate this beautifully restored house.  IMG_0348

Here’s a couple of links if you are curious.