During our vacation, we visited my hometown of Gainesville, Florida for a couple of days. I just like to check in on my favorite trees, my old house, and such.
We were lucky enough to be offered to stay at a house one of my friends from high school, Vincent Vesuvio, renovated a few years back and is now using as a rental property. He has two apartments on the ground floor, and a vacation rental (1-2 bedrooms) on the second floor.
He bought the house in a wonderful area full of houses built from the late 1800s to the 1930s, the Southeast Historical District. They had mostly become rundown, but after the house across from my grandmother’s became a successful bed and breakfast, people bought up dozens of houses there, and it’s now called the Bed and Breakfast District, with signs and everything! They are great for parents visiting their children at the University of Florida or people coming in to do business who want a more homey situation.
Renovations to This House
My guess is the house was already divided into apartments before they got the house, but it’s well set up. There were former sleeping porches upstairs, and other lovely surprises, like two fireplaces. We were told that there was a scary bathroom on the second floor, which got converted into a very functional kitchen/dining area, and two new bathrooms were created, one for each bedroom. There are also two living areas, so that they can shut them off and rent the part with the kitchen separate from the other bedroom and living area. Good thinking!
The rooms have picture rails, which are a great historic touch. The original staircase is preserved, though a couple of walls were removed to make the upstairs more open. They trimmed everything out really well, and then decorated the house with comfortable furnishings that remind you of the house’s age. There’s even a “before” photo of the house.
I really enjoyed the old windows, the claw-foot tub they saved from the old bathroom, and the beautiful floors. It takes me back to my childhood!
Vince fixes up and rents out houses, much like we do, so we had a lot to talk about! Vince told us there were a lot of challenges to renovating something this old, but he seems to have enjoyed it. With a house this old, there is always maintenance that needs to be done, too, like some wood going bad in the back. He’s got plans, though!
As it is, this lovely building adds to the quaint character of the area while providing passive income to Vince and his family. That’s a win. You have to be dedicated to renovate historic homes, but he must have done a good job, because we spotted a certificate of appreciation from the city! We are grateful for the chance to stay in such a great place, and to learn from our friend.
How Renovation Helps
This whole area once was rather run-down and sad. People who bought these houses and fixed them up have done well, though. My sister sold my grandparents’ un-renovated 1929 house in 1992 for $69,000. The house has a beautiful room paneled in virgin cypress and huge, elegant rooms. Even the kitchen was huge, especially for the time in which it was build. It is now worth $275,000, if the current owners ever want to sell it. Now, that’s a profit!