July 09, 2016

Keeping it in the family

Keeping it in the family
By The West View

We were moving back to Salt Lake from Orem in 1996, and my husband Paul’s parents were ready to sell their house on 773 North Catherine Street. Paul spent his teen years in this house in Rose Park and we both loved the charm and character of it, so we decided to buy it.

Paul’s grandfather, Roelof Steenblik, based the design on the homes he saw in Holland where he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The steeply pitched roof stands out among the homes in the neighborhood. For many years the house was painted bright yellow and it was a “signpost” for those driving in Rose Park; quite often people would tell you to turn left at the tall yellow house.

This old house has history. Roelof built the house in about 1932. We found newspapers from that time in the walls. (Newspaper and sawdust were apparently insulation at the time.) He thoughtfully designed the stairs to the second floor with a shorter than normal rise for his wife Dena’s shorter legs. Babies were born in the house, and we understand that one of their teenage boys would shoot pheasants out of his bedroom window, back when there was a field to the west of the home.

There is now a very modern element to our house. We have a shed on our property, and often over the years it would get tagged with graffiti. It was frustrating to have our 80-year-old neighbor painting over it because we didn’t get out there fast enough. We have been fortunate that young artists have asked to paint murals on it. They give us an idea of what they would like to paint and what they expect their costs to be. We pay for the paint and then give them the go-ahead. What a blessing it is to have art covering that large space. We still get graffiti, but maybe there is honor among artists and it doesn’t get tagged quite as often.

When we bought the home twenty years ago, it was in need of some tender loving care. We could see the potential and were up for the challenge. We updated the wiring, which consisted of a combination of knob and tube wiring, as well as some from a later date. We replaced the plumbing and put in a sprinkler system. We replaced a shake shingle roof with architectural shingles. We completely gutted and updated all of the rooms, except the kitchen and the bedroom/bathroom over the garage. We’ve done the majority of the work ourselves, although we had help with the re-plumb and installation of a new breaker box.

Roelof loved this home and we do too! We guess that’s what happens when you build something that means so much to you. It was a great feeling to know he was so pleased with the remodeling that we had completed before he passed away.