Historic home in Bridgeville to be renovated and put on market

By Rachel Farris

The stone house on the corner of Market and William Sts. In Bridgeville, also known as the Trinity House, is getting a makeover at long last - but one to restore its original, historical construction. A before open house was held on Sunday, Feb. 19 to let the community tour the building pre-novations; in addition, participants in the open house were able to offer input in the form of surveys on how they would like to see the renovations done.

The open house was a great success, according to Rachel and Dustin Parker of the Parker Real Estate Group, which will be advising during renovations and marketing and selling the property once it is listed for sale (it will not be for sale until the renovations are complete). Roughly 60 people came through the open house, when a typically only two or three would be normal for an agent in this area. I think everybody really appreciated the chance to see this home because it is one of the houses in Bridgeville that everybody knows and everybody talks about, Rachel explained. The Historical Society was present as well, providing information and photos of the house. Dustin added that they had panels on the wall with color samples for people to vote on, and every attendee received a survey to gather opinions on the renovations and how the house should look. So we got a lot of community feedback on that as well, he concluded.

Built in 1907, the four bedroom, 2.5 bath house got its nickname simply from a trio of people who owned it in the 1980s and decided to call it Trinity House after the three of them. It is a little over 2,600 square feet, with a full basement and walkup attic. The house has some very unique features to it; for example, the walls in this home are 13 inch poured concrete walls; the method of pouring concrete for walls wouldnt become popular until the last 15 years or so, according to Jeff Bowers, the current owner of the house. Bowers flips houses through his familys business, Bowers Group, which used to have an office in Bridgeville for nearly 15 years, and they have been in business for 50 years. They purchase houses that are in distress - the Trinity House was a foreclosure - and fix them to be good looking homes for the neighborhoods theyre in. We did it before it was popular on tv, before HGTV was in existence, Bowers joked. He grew up in Smyrna in a home that was built and lived in by General Allen McLane, which Bowers described as a beautiful, Georgian home. His childhood connection to an old home started the path in his future career: Just growing up in that beautiful historic home, I just had a passion for it my whole life, he explained. So in one aspect of his business, they renovate about four or five historic houses a year, he estimated.

In Bridgeville alone, Bowers has done four or five other homes. Considering his company once called it home, and his wife grew up in Greenwood, he has a strong attachment to the town. We support Bridgeville in a lot of functions with the different clubs that they have there. We love Brigeville and its got so much potential and we just like to continue to give back there, he said. Whenever [Bowers] can, when he purchases a historic home he likes to, as a service to the community almost, try to restore it back to its original state as much as possible, Dustin added, and the Trinity House is no different. Bowers, for example, does not really care for reds, and was initially going to change the colors of the Trinity House, perhaps to gray.

But Trinity House has historically always had a red roof and red trim, he said. When we scrape down below the surface of the four or five coats that are on top, thats all we find is red trim on this home, he elaborated. The block, the stone itself, is sandstone that was quarried right in Bridgeville, and in that quarry they also used whats called a red ribbon stone for the highlight, where the brickwork has red it in as well. When people gave feedback during the open house, most requested that the color not be changed- so Bowers obliged. Though of course, profits for the company are kept in mind, really its about the community that that house is in, Bowers added.

The inside will be brought back to its original look as well, for the most part. The hardwood floors are in great shape, according to the Parkers. The kitchen was remodeled once, and is not currently in keeping with the rest of the homes period. Thats something that will be fixed to the best of Bowers ability- it will be renovated to be a modern, working kitchen, of course, but he plans to make the cabinetry reflect the age of the home, working with a custom cabinet maker for the project, Rachel explained. Also, he has a craftsman that is an expert in plaster repair, and not many people do that anymore, Rachel said. So hes going to bring everything back to the original plaster. It was neat at the actual open house; he took down a piece of the paneling, someone had put paneling up, but you could see the three different layers of wallpaper that had been put on over the course of history, so it was just kind of neat to see the history of the home.

Were really excited to be part of the project, and we really enjoyed that before-open house and meeting all these people that had some sort of connection to the house, she said. We met the lady who used to clean houses with one of the former owners, and her mother installed one of those layers of wallpaper years and years ago, so it was just a really neat community event. Dustin explained that his family has lived in Bridgeville for nine generations, and they themselves purchased a house built sometimes in the 1840s and renovated it. Its an important kind of mission for us as well, he said. Bridgeville has many historical homes that have fallen into direpair, Rachel continued. Its just really cool to see an investor take the time to really bring one of these homes back to life and make it a house that a familys going to love living in again, she added. Were just excited to see the after.

Because an after open house is coming. Those involved with the project are estimating about three months of repair time before the house will be opened up to the public again, probably in May, for its reveal and official debut on the market. The Parkers have worked with Bowers before, and typically have seen the properties sell in an average of three to ten days. So our goal for this one would be to get it sold within two to three weeks, which should be attainable for us, Rachel added.

Though the house is not yet for sale, people interested in more information can contact Dustin Parker at 302-228-5204 or dustin@sellingsussex.com, or.call Home Team Realty at 302-629-7711.

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