Titusville couple embark on journey to restore historic home
Ever since I was a preteen growing up in South Florida in the 1960s, I have been fascinated by the space program. Aside from wanting to be an astronaut like most kids, I wish I could have lived closer to the Space Center and watched the rocket launches firsthand.
So when I met Connie McGee at a dance and learned that she had lived in Titusville since 1966 and that her father was an engineer for the NASA program through Bendix Corp., I immediately connected with her. rice field.
That was in Gainesville in 2016. At the time she was dating someone and after 3 years we started dating and we started dating. Two years into her relationship, I retired from her 30-year job as a primary care physician in Florida. I always wanted to live on the beach with an ocean view and now I am free to pursue this dream. Even better, water views across from the Space Center.
Coincidentally, Connie was thinking of returning to Titusville to watch over her aging mother. She is also a doctor and works as a medical director for a large insurance company. The fact that she worked from her home made her transfer much easier. Neither of us were used to living on the coast, but we were good at living somewhere on the mainland along the Indian River.
When I first arrived in Titusville, I noticed a sign at the entrance that read “Nature, History, Space.” This he wanted to take advantage of all three.
At first we looked at the condos and actually negotiated a condo in Titusville, but then COVID hit. I saw what happened. After all, the world did not collapse and we resumed our search. But this time I started thinking about houses and lots of buildings.
The only riverfront home on the market in Titusville was a beautiful sale by its owner in the historic district, so we looked as south as Cocoa. But with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths it was really more of a house than we were looking for and a pool we didn’t need. The fact that the master bedroom is on his second floor was another minus for him. That said, it sits on the banks of the Indian River with direct, stunning views of both the river and the Kennedy Space Center.
Surprisingly, it turns out that the house was owned by Betty Hopkins Eigenmann, a former classmate of Connie’s from Astronaut High School. When we went to see it, Betty’s first words alluded to the fact that Connie beat her in 1973 for her freshman Homecoming Princess. Luckily, Betty held no grudge and agreed to sell the place to us.
As part of our agreement, Betty will stay in our home for up to nine months while her new home is being built right down the road and while we are sorting out our Gainesville move. I also had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do with this house. It quickly became apparent that what we thought was too much was actually not enough.
long list of projects
A desirable additional list includes: Add a backup solar power system with storage battery. Bury the unsightly power lines leading from the street to your home. kitchen renovation. Driveway and landscaping overhaul. And add a conservatory.
As for the house itself, we had to combine renovations and extensions to create the desired space while preserving the original house as much as possible. This included setting up the master bedroom suite downstairs. But what made it even more difficult was that Connie and I are avid ballroom dancers, so we needed a ballroom. With a room like this nearly 120 years old, it’s not easy to fit it in his 3,500-square-foot two-story home.
Renovations and additions are certainly nothing new to this property. Alfred W. Lee, who immigrated from England with his Scottish wife, built the original structure around 1904 from Merritt Shimamatsu in the style known as his Vernacular. It has two floors with a third floor attic and a large wraparound porch.
It has a windmill and water tower, and in 1915 a separate tinsmith’s shop was added to the grounds. In the 1920s, Dr. Dallas Adams, who had a clinic in town, bought the house and moved in with his wife and children. No material changes were made during his possession.
In 1948, the house was sold to Clarence Richard “Daddy Mac” McCotter Sr., who owned a local Ford dealership. He closed the internal access to his second floor and added an external staircase so that the floor could be used as an apartment. Most of the exterior wrap-around porch is enclosed, with a 400-square-foot room probably added in the southeast corner of the house in the ’70s.
Betty and Conrad Eigenmann acquired the property in 1995, re-established internal access to the second floor with a central staircase, and removed the external staircase. They also added a built-in pool and a garage where her three and a half cars can be parked. Now it’s our turn.
We take management seriously because we recognize the need to balance modernization and preservation. In fact, we want this home to be a late Victorian homage, incorporating decorating and landscaping ideas that were popular at the time. We are waiting for you to follow our journey.