It took nearly a year to piece things together, but a Glenwood couple has transformed an upstairs storage area in one of the city’s oldest buildings into their new home.
“We worked on this for 11 months, every spare minute,” Joe Edwards said from his family's loft that sits above the businesses he and his wife, Luann, operate at 427 Sharp St. “We’re glad to be in it now.”
Joe and Luann Edwards were living on an acreage near Mineola when they purchased the former LaRue Drug building four years ago.They quickly transformed the ground floor of the 120-year-old structure into its original form, exposing the wood floors and brick walls. Joe operates his Joe Designer business from the front of the store and Luann has a hair design business in the back.
It was on Christmas Day 2009 when the Edwards family began the transformation of the top floor of the building. An apartment already existed near the front of the building, but the back of that floor, all 2,000 square feet of it, was not being utilized.
Joe and Luann had a dream - to transform the space into their new home.
“When we started, we said we were expecting a two-year process,” Joe said. “But, in reality, once you get some money into it, you want to get in. We just kept plugging away at it - kept pushing and pushing.”
It was important for the Edwards to maintain the integrity and history of the building that housed a dry goods store in its early days. Many of the doors and fixtures in their loft came from houses and structures built in the late 19th Century. One of the bedrooms is equipped with a ladder from Glenwood’s old telephone office. They picked the ladder up at the Glenwood Transit auction last June.
“We had people actually give us doors and we just sanded them down,” Joe said. “We used old hardware and brassware.”
Joe and Luann, who have two daughters, Tessa and Sierra, have found the transition to their new home to be an easy one. Even their four dogs have adjusted to their new surroundings.
“We like being close to work and we cut down on our driving. Our gasoline bill is practically nothing and the heating and air conditioning up here are really efficient.”
Joe said he’s hopeful other business owners on Glenwood’s Town Square might consider bringing new life to their history-rich buildings as well.
“We’d like to see other building owners do this, but there’s a lot of time, commitment and cost involved, and it’s hard to recover that,” he said. “But, the potential is there.
“There’s a lot of life left in these old buildings.”