Victorian Masterpiece in Progress

Victorian Masterpiece in Progress

With a little luck and hard work, gems can be found around St. Joseph.&nbsp; Sometimes sanding and scraping can uncover hidden treasures of the past, but be warned, this kind of treasure hunting is a labor of love.&nbsp; <br>&nbsp;<br><br>
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)  Chris Fleck grew up noticing Victorian architecture around St. Joseph. But, he was hesitant to leap into historic homes given the investment of time and money.

"When I bought the house in the shape it was in a lot of my friends thought I was crazy.  Now the jury's still out, but I get a lot of encouragement from those friends now," said Fleck. 

"Doing an old house is a fine line between a mental illness and a hobby," joked neighbor and fellow renovator, David Kidwell.

One particular house continued to catch Fleck's eye.  He called the owners and saw the first red flag with their response to his interest in the home.

"I couldn't even get the word sell out- [before they answered] yes, yes!  They were ready to get rid of it," remembered Fleck.

Fleck jumped into his 4,000 square-foot commitment 15 years ago. The journey has been challenging, but Fleck said it was all worth it.  He gets a custom home with the satisfaction of revitalizing a piece of history.

"People ask me when the house is going to be finished and pretty much the response is three years ago last October," joked Fleck.

Fleck credited his remodeling success to bargain shopping.  He's paid pennies on the dollar for updates by shopping at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.

"It's totally a labor of love. People talk about how dedicated I am and I say I'm just too stupid to quit," said Fleck.

The support of friends and family and his project's followers on Facebook have also helped.  He is not alone in his love for Victorian renovation.

"Old house people help each other absolutely.  There's only a handful of us that really know what we're doing," said Kidwell.

Fleck plans to publish a book on his project.  He likes sharing his wisdom with others who have been bitten by the old house bug.

"If I listened to every contractor or person with common sense I wouldn't have this house and I wouldn't have it in the shape it's in," said Fleck.

Fleck's third floor will soon be converted to an art studio where he plans to offer art classes and display work.  He said his following on Facebook helps him complete the projects in a timely manner.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus