Much like Cinderella, all the old house at 335 W. Center Ave. needed was a new dress.
That’s how Shelly Slagle described the house’s transformation from rundown and in danger of eventual demolition to the showplace it is now.
See before photos - and how it all looks now - at the bottom of this article
It took a lot more than just a few upgrades, but the more than 100-year-old home is now sporting a new dress, along with a totally new interior.
Last year, after driving by many times and seeing a two-story house slowly fading away, Shelly and her husband, Jason, made a decision.
They decided to buy the yellow house and breathe new life into the home that dates back to the late 1800s.
The Slagles had some experience in construction. Jason owns a construction company but his experience is primarily in new builds. Renovating an older home was something he’d never done, but he said he was thrilled with the idea of bringing this house back to its early glory.
In March of last year, primarily with his three sons and his wife, Slagle began work on the house, literally taking it down to the exterior walls inside.
Along the way, the Slagles found an extremely well-built house – so well-constructed actually dismantling the interior walls proved to be one of the more difficult portions of the renovation.
They found horsehair inside the walls, used for insulation, and they found many things that told the story of some of the home’s former owners. They uncovered letters with one- and two-penny stamps, newspapers that crumbled at the slightest touch and a piece of woodwork with the date 1905 and a set of initials on it.
And the more they worked, the more convinced they became that saving this house was worth the hard work.
During its lifetime, there were additions to the house, mainly bathrooms since indoor plumbing wasn’t common when the house was built. The house was originally designed in a shotgun style – looking into the front door you could see to the back of the house, Jason Slagle said.
But with the addition of bathrooms and to increase storage, the hallway had been walled off into different rooms.
The Slagles decided to bring back the shotgun style, eliminating all of the walls between the front and back doors, and taking a closet-style storage area and making a powder room.
They also opened up the living room, kitchen and dining area for a better flow through the area. They modernized the kitchen but left some of the old touches in the house. The vent over the area for the stove was made from wood in the house, they said.
Incorporating the history of the house into the new modern home was also important, Jason said. They kept the original hardwood floors, refinishing them.
“ There were a few that were damaged but since the walls were made of the same wood, we used that to replace the damaged boards,” Jason said.
At 4,000-square-feet, the house is a big one. It has five bedrooms, including the downstairs master bedroom.
Upstairs, they carved out a laundry room and put in a new bathroom and updated the four bedrooms.
“ It’s a new house but with an old feel,” Jason said. “You can hear the floors creak.”
All the interior doors are odd sizes and were marked and removed during the renovation. Afterwards, they were put back in place, Jason said.
Shelly picked out most of the design elements in the house, from the lighting to the bathroom fixtures.
The kitchen cabinets are custom-made. “We couldn’t just go to the store and pick out the cabinets,” he said. “We had to work with the house.”
Outside, the house got a makeover as well, and in the yard, there’s a connection to the house’s history. The bricks that form the two walkways leading up to the house are from a couple of chimneys that had to be demolished.
The house is now up for sale, and the Slagles, who poured a lot of sweat into it, said they considered keeping it but that wasn’t feasible. Shelly Slagle said they house seemed sad when they walked into it last year. But now, it’s bright and ready for a new owner to love it as much as the Slagles do.
It took about a year, but Cinderella now is a beautiful princess again.