October 02, 2018

Our beloved 132-year-old home – a crash course in home repair

Amy Macintyre and Nick Pedersen, new owners of a 132-year-old home in Poplar Grove, pose on their front porch with their dog. They have been steadily working to improve the house and their quarter-of-an-acre yard.  Photo by Nick Pedersen|||| Amy Macintyre and Nick Pedersen, new owners of a 132-year-old home in Poplar Grove, pose on their front porch with their dog. They have been steadily working to improve the house and their quarter-of-an-acre yard. Photo by Nick Pedersen|||| ||||

by Amy Macintyre

The first time we saw our home, we were seated in our living room over 2,000 miles away in New Jersey. The housing market was so competitive last summer, and we had nearly given up on the idea of homeownership by our scheduled move to Salt Lake City in mid August of 2017.

Then, a search on Zillow turned up the perfect house – a historic home on a beautiful property blocks away from downtown.

Nick, who grew up in Salt Lake City, sent his family to see the listing, and they immediately decided this was our future house. With their help and that of our wonderful realtor, Joan Pate, the house was soon to be ours, sight unseen.

Our small Victorian eclectic home was built around 1886, and every renovation reveals a little bit of history from the past 130 years. Behind the drywall are layers of paint and wallpaper chosen by all the previous homeowners, giving us a glimpse into the many eras it has stood.

A home like this, standing after so long in this city, is not just a testament to its architectural integrity, but the love each person has put into it over the years.

As first-time homeowners, a 132-year-old house is a crash course in home repairs and maintenance. As soon as one repair is made, another pipe begins to leak or an appliance breaks down. It’s truly a labor of love (and mild frustration).

Our favorite feature of this home is the quarter of an acre it sits on. We spent many days this spring building the vegetable garden of our dreams. We used the clay-fired bricks we found scattered and buried around the property for the walkways and built raised beds in a unique and functional design.

It is quite the step up from growing tomatoes and peppers in buckets on the roof of our old one-bedroom apartment just one year ago.

The best part of this home is being able to share it with family and friends. Whether it’s having a barbecue in the backyard with our loved ones or hosting our East Coast friends before a mountain adventure, it’s the perfect gathering space.

We also love exploring our new neighborhood. We bike or run on the Jordan River Parkway almost daily, and we frequent the International Peace Garden to walk our dog and get ideas for our garden. We’ve tasted tacos, tamales and enchiladas from each nearby Mexican restaurant, and it’s too hard to pick a favorite. I think we can officially declare that the west side is the best side in Salt Lake City, and we are grateful to live here.