Thursday, January 27, 2005
Roger and Lynn Short’s house in Toro Park is their third remodel in six months, two having already sold. These were the Shorts’ first such projects, and they’re aiming for many more. Lynn says she has had an eye for needy houses and a dream to refurbish them for a long time. She recognizes that it’s her passion and that she’s a zealot for creative, dirty work. She confesses that demolition is her favorite part.
“We jumped into this with both feet,” Lynn laughs. “The first house we bought was from family members and, although not thrashed, it had to be completely redone. Then after the renovation—the decorating! I love doing that too.”
Roger’s and Lynn’s preferences are somewhat reversed from the norm. Roger’s passion is cooking and running a happy household, but his long career in agricultural rarely granted him a chance. Lynn’s passion had to wait until Roger retired, which he did around six months ago. That’s when they launched their whirlwind of remodeling successes, and when Roger could also start to cook gourmet food.
At the time they acquired the home from one of their relatives, they also bought a condo in a lovely section of Salinas. The condo was so beautifully redone that they received eight offers in the first week. “I’d love to do a house a week!” Lynn says. “It’s so much fun.” And, one might add, it’s a nice return on their investments as well. “If we purchase in lower price ranges, we’re able to put more into the remodel and that makes it easier to sell.”
Their third house, on Ortega, is an equally remarkable success. The appeal of the property comes in part from being situated in a suburban neighborhood straight out of happy TV sitcom land, with neighbor kids shooting hoops in their driveways, skateboarding or riding bikes around the quiet streets, and with a huge grassy park just down the block where a mother swings her toddler.
The Short house only requires one addition: a family crisscrossing enthusiastically out of the four bedrooms into the airy living room with center fireplace, eating at the granite counter in the kitchen and having dinners in the formal dining room with its glass chandelier and sliders to a huge, private yard.
“Our landscaper, Carlos Furtado, made such beautiful changes,” Lynn says. “There were so many overwhelming trees crowding this house. Redwoods, pines, firs…I think we cut down three of the biggest ones right away.”
Lynn knew this house would get hardwood floors (Australian Wormy Chestnut). She also wanted golden granite around the entrance, a leaded glass front door and sidelights, plus edge-to-edge landscaping.
The former owner, an elderly gentleman loved by all the neighbors, had begun to find the house too much to look after. It was neglected in the way older homes are when they’ve required up-keep that can no longer be provided. “We bought it in late June last year, and it was a labor of love to create,” says Lynn. “Really needed everything.”
Lynn feels their friend and real estate agent, Bill Huber, is a big part of their luck. “Bill is always so ethical and kind,” she says. “He knows his stuff. This house is in the best school district and we could afford to buy it and transform it into something unique.”
Lynn’s dream of more remodels, and Roger’s dream of having his own restaurant stand a good chance of bringing each to the other with continued good fortune and nice dirty work.
Price: $950,000. 2391 Ortega, Toro Park Estates, Salinas. Contact Bill Huber, Huber Real Estate, 424-3282.