Two young Columbians are close to ending a yearlong journey of remolding their dream home. The couple, Eric and Sara Schafer, who were married in 2009, purchased their nearly 100-year-old home, located within Columbia’s Cosmo Park. They both knew that buying this home would be an adventure, but it was a task they saw worth taking on.
The home, built around 1918, comes with a story . The house’s original location was a quarter mile down the road. By using mules and logs, the home was moved to its current location sometime in the 1930s. In the late 1980s the home was turned into a photography studio and an addition was built. Once again, in 2000, the home expanded to include a large “mother-in-law” apartment. The house, which has had 12 different owners since being built, was sold again and left vacant for five years. Before the Schafers bought it in 2012, the home was significantly vandalized.
“Every surface had to be redone,” Sara Schafer said. “It is fun to rescue a house that would have otherwise been allowed to go into disrepair.”
When they first purchased the home, Eric and Sara could not even turn on a light because the house’s copper wire had been stolen by looters.
The couple knew the challenge they were taking on, but viewed the location of the home as too perfect to pass up. Both Eric and Sara grew up living rural lifestyles, something they have missed dearly living in Columbia. The location of the home, tucked away in Cosmo Park with no neighbors, makes them feel as though they are living in the country, reason enough to take on the challenge of remolding the home to become their dream home.
“I would say it has been about what we expected in terms of work,” Eric said. “We knew going into it that it was going to take a lot of nights and weekends to get it ready.”
There have been a few challenges along the way that Eric and Sara had to tackle, but nothing that made them lose hope. The couple set a one-year timeline and they have gone over by just a few months. The biggest challenges included weatherizing the home and then reinstalling the electrical wiring and plumbing. Eric mentioned that he spent a lot of nights scratching his head, trying to figure out the tricky situations that he encountered.
With just a few more projects to finish, the couple believes they are just about done. Because there are only two of them in a 4,000-square-foot house, they now rent out the addition that was built in 2000. The space has a separate living quarters, something that the couple’s renters enjoy. Often they will have renters for football weekends, and some stay for longer periods of time.
“It is a great feeling to open our house up to others and to share it,” Sara said. “It is so big for just the two of us.”
When they are finished, the couple hopes to have a dinner party with friends and family to commemorate the end of their adventure. With their free time they will also find something else to fix up sooner or later.