GREEN: Most people associate the Parade of Homes with sprawling new houses replete with extras.
Don Shultz’s house is different.
Shultz, a custom builder, is showing a compact raised ranch he and his crew recently took from being an eyesore to an asset.
“You know how people refer to rescue dogs? I call this my rescue house,” he said.
Shultz, owner of Today’s Homes by Don Shultz in New Franklin, usually makes his living designing and building custom homes and doing commercial construction. But when he remodeled a house for a friend a couple of years ago, “I kind of fell in love with this little rehab stuff,” he said.
This is his fourth renovation. Rehabilitating houses is never going to be the meat of his business, he said, but he enjoys the challenge of taking a distressed home and turning it into appealing, reasonably priced housing.
He finished the house just in time for the Parade of Homes, which continues this weekend and next. The house, at 256 Lakefront Drive, is for sale for $149,900. You can see a video of before and after photos at http://tinyurl.com/shultzhouse.
Historically the parade has featured new homes, but in recent years a few remodeled houses have been included, said Carmine Torio, executive vice president of the event’s organizer, the Home Builders Association Serving Portage & Summit Counties. That allows the association to spotlight the work of members of its Professional Remodelers Council, he said.
Shultz said the house was brought to his attention by Tom Maglione, a friend who lives in the neighborhood. A credit union had foreclosed on it, and Shultz bought the house at auction.
The property was tired-looking, with a crumbling driveway and plywood covering a broken window. The bathrooms were dated, the carpet was dirty and the kitchen had been torn out, probably in an aborted renovation attempt.
Over about three months, Shultz and his son, Darren, worked to resuscitate the ailing building. They got help from Maglione, a retired teacher who Shultz said offered his assistance just because he wanted to see the blighted property improved.
The Shultzes squeezed the work in among the company’s other projects, so it took longer than it might have otherwise. Don Shultz said he probably spent more time supervising this house than the $300,000 home he’s also building, because a renovation requires more problem-solving than new construction.
The project was also more extensive than a typical renovation, he said, since it required landscaping, retaining walls and concrete work outside in addition to the interior face-lift. Luckily the house was structurally sound, so “nothing was really insurmountable,” he said.
Shultz earned the approval of a handful of neighbors who wandered in to see the progress while he was showing the house to a reporter and photographer last week.
“It’s so nice looking out the window and seeing this,” next-door neighbor Amy Swansiger remarked.
Probably the biggest change to the house was moving the kitchen from the walkout lower level — a common location for kitchens in the Portage Lakes area — to the main floor. Shultz installed maple cabinets, laminate countertops and an island, and he created small dining and sitting areas to turn the space into a great room, with access to a small deck.
The home’s original oak floor was a bonus, Shultz said, since he couldn’t have afforded to install hardwood on a limited renovation budget. The floor was refinished to make it gleam.
The main-floor bathroom got a ceramic tile floor and a new black vanity, with a lowered section at one end to serve as a dressing table. The three bedrooms got new carpet, and the walls were painted in a trendy taupe-gray that contrasts with the white woodwork.
Downstairs, the former kitchen was turned into a family room with a stone-faced fireplace in one corner and a wet bar at the other end. French doors lead to a new concrete patio in the backyard, which is separated from Turkeyfoot Lake Golf Links by a dense border of trees.
Windows and doors were replaced, the siding was painted and a high-efficiency gas furnace and central air conditioner were installed.
The fun part, Shultz said, was envisioning what the house could be. He said he got a kick out of picking out paint colors and light fixtures from a home center to make the house stylish while keeping it affordable.
The house “has issues,” he conceded, such as a one-car garage and no basement. But it has the amenities of a new house at a lower price, he said, in a desirable neighborhood with its own lakefront park.
Ultimately, he said, the homeowner will benefit, the neighborhood will benefit, and he’ll make some money off the house.
“I call this my win-win-win,” he said.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckenridge and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.