We love old houses; that’s part of why we live here. Still, not everyone would be excited to take on a nearly 100-year-old, un-air-conditioned house that needs work. But when new Lathrup Village homeowner Sandy Berris toured the first house ever built in the city, he was immediately smitten.

“I wasn’t even looking for a house,” he said. A longtime resident of Key West, he also has an apartment in Birmingham and a 550-year-old house in France. “I knew from the moment I walked in it just felt right,” he said of his newly purchased home on Bungalow. “It was one of those ‘love at first sight’ things.” He didn’t even require an inspection when he made his offer.

Having built and renovated many other homes, including the one in France and one in Pleasant Ridge, he knew restoring his new old house to glory “would be a whole lot easier. … Structurally, I could tell it was a well-built, steel-frame home.”

The age of the house meant that “there were going to be things wrong with it.” His to-do list includes brick and metal work, refinishing floors, fixing plaster, painting, waterproofing, adding air conditioning and addressing issues with the home’s spectacular leaded-glass windows. “So, there’s a lot of things that take time,” he said. “We’re taking the time to do that.”

The previous owners, who hadn’t lived there long, removed curtains that hid those windows and put in a new kitchen, replacing what looked like the original.

The yellow-brick Spanish Colonial Revival, built in either 1925 or 1926, is the only house like it in the city. It’s documented in a Louise Lathrup publication as one of the first two houses built, along with another Spanish house on Eldorado. The son of the original owners told us at LVHS that it was the first house built.

Sandy said he plans to make his Lathrup Village house his primary residence. “It’s so unique; there’s not one on every block,” he said. “I really enjoy that kind of look.” And, as a bonus, “It’s a very friendly neighborhood.”

4 thoughts on “New buyer restoring city’s oldest house

  1. We moved into our ranch on Rainbow Circle in 1949 and my folks lived there until 1965. My Dad was active as a volunteer with the city finance committee.


    1. This is wonderful news. I lived in Lathrup Village for 40 years & loved it. My sister still lives there …right down the street from this home. We both were very active in the L.V. Historical Society years ago.


  2. I love that people are doing this. I grew up in Lathrup and owned two homes myself. I keep coming back to the old vintage and abandon ones, still to this day.


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