What: The Historic Oakdale Neighborhood Association Home Tour 2012 features 10 homes in a variety of architectural styles.
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Purchase tickets at the hospitality tent at the corner of Rudisill Boulevard and Arlington Avenue the day of the tour. Today, tickets are available at The Friendly Fox, 4001 South Wayne Ave.; Neuhouser Garden and Gifts, 4605 W. Jefferson Blvd.; Antiques on Broadway, 1115 Broadway; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 311 E. Main St.; and Nature's Corner Antiques, 2307 Spy Run Ave.
Cost: Pre-sale tickets are $10; day-of-show tickets are $12.
Walking into Colin and Kelly Daseler's home on a scorching summer afternoon provides sweet relief from the oppressive heat.
The wide eaves on the 1927 prairie-style brick home shade the windows. Spacious rooms and high ceilings seem to diffuse the heat. Wood floors and simple furnishings and accessories lend an air of coolness and calm.
The Daselers' home at the corner of Rudisill Boulevard and Fairfield Avenue is one of 10 on the Historic Oakdale Neighborhood Association Home Tour 2012. The 3,200-square-foot home is historically significant, having been designed by architect A.M. Strauss, who also designed the Lincoln Tower, Embassy Theatre and the Indiana Hotel.
Despite its lofty status, the house had been standing empty and robbed of its copper when Colin started paying attention to it more than five years ago. He lived nearby and kept his eye on it, finally making an offer on it the day it went into foreclosure.
Eventually he made another offer on the property, which by then had been broken into a second time. More copper was stolen.
Colin, a contractor who owns American Renovations Inc., got then-girlfriend Kelly to approve of the extensive remodeling project, which was daunting because of years of neglect.
“I knew it was going to be a work in progress,” Colin said.
In May 2007, the big adventure began, with Colin hauling out 17 truckloads of debris, and that was just from the overgrown yard. It took 2 1/2 years just to paint the exterior. A contractor needed two months to sand all the wood floors. Tile in a bathroom that had been painted over was scraped to reveal the original color. Colin's goal was “to try to get back to as much of the original as I could.”
The Daselers abandoned that theory in the kitchen, however, which already had been remodeled once anyway. They ripped out a huge island, which was too big for the space, and tore out cabinets from the '50s.
Colin completely gutted the kitchen down to the studs, in the process removing a wall to open up an area for a breakfast table and flooding the kitchen with light. A shallow cabinet that once housed an ironing board was reconfigured to be a spice cabinet with the addition of shelves.
The kitchen now rivals any you'd fine in a modern home, with attractive light-wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances.
During those years of renovation, Kelly said Colin would get home from a full day of work and then go over to the house to work from about 6 to 10 p.m. most nights, then put in full days on the weekends.
He averaged about 30 hours a week working on the house. He was in a rush because he was paying rent and a mortgage at the time. He moved in when a couple of rooms upstairs were painted but none of the downstairs was painted yet. Kelly moved in two years ago when they got married.
Some of the work he did himself, and some, such as the plumbing and electrical, he hired out to contractors. Some ideas had to be scrapped because they were just too time-intensive, such as stripping and refinishing the stairs. They got painted instead.
Colin's attention to detail even included painting the radiators, which had to be detached from the wall and moved to the center of a room to paint — no easy feat at 400 pounds each.
The remodeling was a labor of love. “There's so much value in a house like this,” Colin said.
Kelly noted how expensive it would be to build a brick house of that size now.
One of the more recent projects completed was the addition of a new patio in the backyard. Colin did the prep work but hired someone to pour the concrete.
It's a little noisy in the backyard because of traffic on Fairfield, so the Daselers plan to put up a privacy fence to keep noise and inquiring eyes out and keep their dog in the yard.
Despite the noise, they both like the neighborhood's location south of downtown.
“We have a great neighborhood,” Colin said.
“Lots of young people,” Kelly added.
Passers-by often shouted words of encouragement when they were working outside. “People would drive by and say, 'You're doing a good job,'” Kelly said.
They say they have about 80 percent of the work done on the house. The home tour is a “good way to put the final push on,” Colin said.
With most of the major projects finished, “I'm ready to relax a little and enjoy it,” he said.