Restoring a Historic Home for a Family in Need
On September 27, 2014 Five Star Cares National Day of Paint, Five Star Painting volunteers, including myself converged at the George Taylor Jr. House to help Habitat for Humanity of Utah County restore this historic home for a family of seven who are currently living in a two bedroom duplex. Can you even begin to imagine? Our assignment: paint interior doors, baseboards and trim around every room in the house.
Five Star Cares National Day of Paint volunteer painting baseboards in the George Taylor Jr. House
It was a super rainy Saturday morning when I pulled up to the George Taylor Jr. House for the Five Star Cares National Day of Paint project in Utah. Wearing my Five Star Cares T-shirt, I dawned my baseball cap and scuttled inside the house before I got completely soaked. Inside, the smell of fresh rain air mingled with the smell of new wood and paint. Up to this point I had only seen the building in photographs and they didn’t do justice to how big the rooms are nor how tall the ceilings are in this beautiful old house. Even under construction it’s easy to see that this house has good bones and a few stories it might tell you if it could talk.
I was handed some sand paper, spackling knife and spackle, and a caulking gun, given some thorough instructions and then set to work on detailing the trim and baseboards before paint could be applied. I grew up in a 100-year-old farm house and painting was commonplace because my parents are very into DIY handiwork and our house needed effort. However, I can’t help but wonder how much better our house might have looked if we’d had a professional painter take on some of those project instead of us. Not to say that it looks bad, but there are a few details I wonder about after working alongside professional painters.
In all my years of helping my mother paint and redecorate our house I had never once touched a caulking gun before. I had done plenty of spackling work and lots of sanding and painting, but caulking was a new experience for me, and I loved it! Be warned, this stuff does not come out of clothes and my new Five Star Cares National Day of Paint T-shirt now bares permanent evidence that I was doing some handy work with Five Star Painting’s Utah service project. I wear it with pride.
In all we were an army of 14 Five Star Cares volunteers who gave some hours on a beautiful, wet and chilly Saturday to finish and paint trim and doors to make a home a beautiful and comfortable place to live for a family in need. I learned a new skill, got a little dirty, forgot about myself for a little bit and I enjoyed every minute of it.
If you have never experienced serving others, stop what you are doing right now – after you finish reading this of course – and go find someone you can help with something. It doesn’t have to be a big project, it can be helping someone with their yard work, shoveling a walkway or carrying groceries. It doesn’t have to be big deal either, an act of service can be as simple as a smile. Service is a great way to forget your troubles for a little while and make someone’s day better. I dare you to try it.
What was the Project? The George Taylor Jr. House
The George Taylor Jr. House was built in the 1880’s and according to the National Registry of Historic places was built after the Gothic Revival style, with crossed wing-planes and beautiful arched windows and reportedly intricate wood work on the porch and gables. Sadly, I only got to see part of the porch as it was under construction. Originally this home was red brick and underwent restoration in the 1970’s at which time I suspect the brick saw its first coat of paint.
This house was initially only a two bedroom house with kitchen, dining room and parlor on the main floor. A one story addition was built onto the back of the house around 1910 which added two more bedrooms and a closet, and what I believe would have been known as a water closet back then, aka a bathroom.
Who Does This Project Help? A Family of Seven
This project is to help a local family of seven, two parents and five kids ranging from ages 3 to 13 who currently live in an 800-square-foot, two-bedroom duplex. I don’t know how they are managing to raise five children in a two bedroom duplex. That is amazing and I am so glad we had an opportunity to help give them a better situation to live in with two more bedrooms and 1,000 additional square feet of living space than where they currently reside. I can’t wait for the up-coming ribbon cutting ceremony. Hopefully I can share the before and after photos with you once the house is finished.
What is the Next Five Star Cares Project? Fill the Pantry
Five Star Cares decided not to stop at the National Day of Paint and we are now running a food drive to fill this family’s pantry before they move into the house! We are collecting the usual nonperishable items, from anyone who is interested in donating, and will stock the pantry with these donations sometime before the ribbon cutting ceremony.
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