Victor Price grew up down the street from the Barber-style cottage on Midlake Drive. It was the spring of 1951 when his family moved into the neighborhood. He remembers it being immaculately kept by a couple by the last name of Cook.
Mr. Cook was a World War I veteran and enjoyed dressing in his uniform on Memorial Day. Mrs. Cook gave young Price cookies and Cokes.
So, when Price retired and started looking for projects, it was both a joy and a tragedy to find the house for sale and in not-great cosmetic shape. He bought it, happy to discover that the plumbing, electric and roof were all new, and started renovating it.
“I love Fountain City and I love old houses, and to me it was just a crying shame to see an old house that I’d grown up with in that shape. I didn’t see how it was, I saw how it could be. It’s got such beautiful lines,” he said.
And now that work is getting recognition from the community as Fountain City Town Hall gives the house the Honor Fountain City Day award for residential restoration. The award will be presented May 28, during the Honor Fountain City Day event in Fountain City Park.
Price started the renovation in spring of 2014 and moved in later that summer. The work took about eight months and involved repairing a some water damage and repairing siding and trim. The siding was yellow poplar, but Price used concrete fiber planks that blend in with the wood when painted. He remembered the whole house being white back in 1951, but he added contrasting paint to show off the trim work.
Inside, he refinished hardwood floors, added tile in the kitchen and sunroom, and even found the original sinks and clawfoot tub to return to a bathroom. He added a matching, attached garage consistent with the original architecture.
He and his wife were living in the house, but people kept stopping by and asking if it was for sale.
“I wasn’t buying it to sell and make money. That wasn’t the reason I sold it. I was getting older, and I knew there were a lot of things that if I didn’t watch myself I’d be doing around that house,” he said.
Chad Kiser was the most persistent, stopping by three or four times to ask about the house. He purchased it in the spring of 2016 and has kept it in pristine condition since then.
“Chad apparently has a love and appreciation for old homes, too,” said Price.
Price said he was surprised and honored by the recognition and thanked Chet Oxendine and Bill Gray for their help with the project.