Earlier in January, a mother-daughter duo invited the ReStore team for a tour and luncheon at their recently “ReStored” home. Lovingly named “Vita Huset,” which means “white house” in Swedish, Marie (mom) and Kari (daughter) spent countless hours hunting, buying, building, and transforming a home in Corcoran. With a little help from their handyman Ray and items from ReStore, estate sales, and other second-hand sales, they beautifully brought this old 1956 home back to life!
From their printed invitation, the stately home pictured had huge columns and resembled the other White House. The ReStore team was exited to see it in person, to say the least. Staff and volunteers often get to know regular customers and talk about their projects, but this time, we were about to see the final home improvement transformation in real life.
As we walked through the entrance, we were greeted by Kari and a grand staircase with a peacock statue perched at the top named Frank. Frank, or Francis, was a deliberate nod to the home’s past. Francis Crawford originally built the home and at one point even had a peacock farm on the property. We then gathered into the main parlor and had a lovely cup of punch. In such an environment, it was hard not to raise my pinkie during each sip.
As soon as Marie joined us, the story telling began. The home fell into disrepair several years ago, and others were intimidated to buy the property when it was for sale. They were willing to take on the job and with their bargain hunting senses alive and primed, they took on the many projects to bring back the essence true to its architectural style.
As we were guided on a full tour, it was clear that most things were not new. Not meaning old or broken, but items and materials were gathered from all kinds of sources throughout the years. At the top of the stairs, there was as a ceiling medallion found at the ReStore. In one of the bathrooms, the sink, cabinet, lights, and tub were all from ReStore too. Bedrooms were furnished from estate sales and classic linens were used throughout which added so much character and elegance.
“People often say to me, I could never afford a house like this,” Marie says. “But you can fix it up with items from the ReStore,” she says without pause. Throughout the tour, Marie keeps pointing out projects that were aided by what she refers to as her “decorating angel.” It seemed that when a project needed something, she soon found it! When the chimney needed a cap, she soon found it at the ReStore! When they were looking for some flooring for the back section of the ballroom, they found the perfect matching parquet hardwood flooring at the ReStore! That flooring they found was from the 1960’s, never used, and still inside the box. Coincidence or decorating angel? Either way, it was just what they needed!
Kari and Marie, along with other members of their family, spent many hours restoring this old house. They had gathered things they liked over the years in the style they liked. They made frequent stops to ReStore and other sales knowing that there is always something new, often visiting 3-4 times a week. It was a vision in which Vita Huset became their canvas and everything came together like it was meant to be.
The family hopes to use the Vita Huset as a private venue for Tea parties, small weddings, showers, work functions. They love to entertain and want to share the beauty, ambiance and history of the estate. Even while renovating, the family used the space for personal parties & dinners. They said it was so much easier to use the house with it's "ballroom" than use their own homes! Recently, they hosted an open house for the entire neighborhood and were blown away by the turnout. Everyone was positive and excited to see the changes. That same weekend they even hosted a smaller murder mystery dinner party. The family still has plans to renovate the kitchen space and make other improvements before moving in permanently. It’s hard to say when they will stop making improvements. From what I can tell, it’s something they love doing and things will probably only get better and better every year. Our tour ended with a lovely luncheon in the ballroom. It was a blast seeing the method of “ReStoration” and repurpose put to use. It fills us all with pride knowing that not only does this kind of methodology save a ton of money, but it brings items back to life with unmatched character and style!