PIQUA — A historic home in Piqua recently received a facelift — and full renovation — thanks to area natives Beth Kazer and Sue Teach.
The home, located at 520 N. Wayne St., was originally built in 1889. Since then, it has gone through its fair share of wear and tear, and most recently, had been rented out as apartments. Through the years, the home was under four different ownerships prior to its purchase by Kazer and Teach last year.
“It was turned into apartments during the Depression because the people who owned it — even though he was a lawyer and a judge — just couldn’t afford it,” Teach said.
The practice of turning large homes into apartments was common during that era, Kazer added, and many homes in the area remain split to this day. Families unable to afford their mortgages often chose to rent out sections of their home in order to stay afloat financially.
Even after the Great Depression ended, 520 N. Wayne St. remained an apartment building. Kazer and Teach decided to change that.
Not only was the home a born-again apartment building, it had also not been updated in quite some time.
“To see a big old house like this going downhill was unfortunate,” Teach said.
“Piqua is so beautiful,” Kazer added. “We’ve loved this city since we were little, so this is just us doing our part.”
Both Kazer and Teach were born and raised in Piqua, each moving elsewhere for extended periods of time, only to return within three years of each other.
Teach moved to Columbus in the ’80s, where she lived until her move back to Piqua in 2012. Kazer, who left the city in 1982, moved just under 40 times due to her husband’s job, only to return to Piqua in 2015.
“Never did we ever think we would be back in Piqua, but here we are,” Kazer said. “It’s been fun to be back.”
Within a year of moving back, Kazer and Teach teamed up to rehab their first house.
“She’s the reason I’m in this,” Kazer said.
Teach, who graduated from Ohio University with a degree in marketing, worked in sales for years. However, she also had a longtime interest in home renovation and real estate, taking classes in the latter during college and rehabbing her first house in 1999 while living in Columbus.
“It was nothing compared to this; it was all cosmetic,” she said. “When my job was downsized, I decided to try home renovation (on a larger scale), but it costs literally 10 times as much in my neighborhood in Columbus than here in Piqua.”
Teach and Kazer’s first home project together was the renovation of Piqua’s 529 Park Ave.
The 1,400-square-foot, one-story home was built in 1920 and has three bedrooms. Compared to the Wayne Street house’s larger-scaled 3,300-square-feet, and three stories, renovating the Park Avenue home was a breeze. Teach and Kazer were even able to paint the exterior of the Park Avenue home themselves, a feat that was not realistic for their most recent project.
“I’d probably say the physicality of it all was the most challenging,” Kazer said about the Wayne Street rehab.
“Just ripping all the paneling off and getting it down the stairs was a big job,” Teach added.
Much of the home’s walls were covered in a brown paneling, suggestive of a decorative decision made in the 1960-70s. This included one wall, which had been built nearly in the middle of the home’s now-open entry way, presumably added when the house was split into apartments.
“Closed in, you can imagine how dark it was,” Kazer said. “The banister upstairs had a wall straight behind it, too. We had the vision that it would be beautiful and open, but it was hard to imagine at first.”
For those seeing the home for the first time, open and spacious, it may be hard to imagine its former-but-not-far-gone days of dark paneling and added walls.
Aside from the tall task of removing paneling, Teach and Kazer tore down several walls, opening up the home in multiple areas.
The now-kitchen was formerly a bedroom prior to renovation, and the two knocked down a wall to open it up to the hallway leading to the front entryway, during which they made a pleasant discovery.
“We found a pocket door hidden in the wall,” Kazer said happily.
“Luckily, it was pushed back when we took a sledgehammer to it,” Teach added.
The wooden pocket door had likely been there since the initial construction of the home. A wall was built around it, presumably during redevelopment of the home into apartments, and if the door had not been pushed open (into its holding place), Teach and Kazer would very probably have destroyed it while knocking down the added wall.
The home now has 11 rooms, including an upstairs living room adjacent to the laundry room, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a generous foyer, an unconventionally lengthy coat closet downstairs, and an impressive walk-in closet in the master bedroom.
Each area of the house has been touched by Teach and Kazer, in one way or another, with no stone left unturned. Fresh paint coats the walls, doors, and molding, new carpet was installed in a few places, the original wood floors have been given a new zest for life after being cleaned and treated, and modern fixtures and appliances have been installed throughout.
Outside, the home boasts a large front porch and backyard deck, along with four off-street parking spaces. The exterior was also painted.
In all, Kazer and Teach took about 10 1/2 months to finish the renovation project. During those months, the two worked eight-hour days, five or six days per week. Although the work was tough, the process — seeing the home transform — was worth the effort, they said.
“I just loved the excitement from seeing the change,” Kazer said. “Our team of people were amazing. We laughed and had more fun than anybody should have tearing down a house.”
The “team” included operatives from GM Builders, of Sidney, Rayner Electric Inc., of Piqua, and Staley Plumbing, along with John Toner, who worked on the home’s drywall.
“They were all really good to us,” Kazer said. “This was sort of everyone’s project, I think; everyone was really invested in this house.
“If it was a really hard day,” she continued, “our contractor, Gary — wherever he was in the house — would yell, ‘Are we lovin’ it?!’ And we’d all answer back, ‘Yeah, we love it!’”
520 N. Wayne St. is currently on the market for a sale price of $275,000, with home warranty available. The home can be found on the Multiple Listings Service, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor websites, among others.
As for any future endeavors, Teach and Kazer have no plans as of yet.
“This has been our full-time job,” Kazer said. “What comes next, we don’t know — it’s up in the air.”
Reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.