The Value of Good Luggage

The summer I was 15 I did very little but read. Some days I would start reading as I got out of bed, break for lunch (I can report with confidence that I had a hot dog, Fritos and orange juice because that was all I ate during this era), then go back to my books until the wee hours of the morning.

I devoured books and I was not particularly discriminating in my choices.

Three things from all those books stuck with me. From F. Scott Fitzgerald I learned repose. When Gatsby criticized the men entering the restaurant for their lack of repose I resolved that I would never flip my hair again. To this day as I enter a room I try hard to remember to be still and confident.

I know that it is a manifesto for serial killers and Unibomber types but I came away from Catcher in the Rye knowing that good luggage is imperative. Perhaps Holden Caufield compels lost souls so successfully because he speaks in such absolutes - I know you won't ever catch me with cheap luggage.

Finally, that summer I checked out most of the books in the library about real estate. I read How to Buy Real Estate with No Money Down and Real Estate Basics. Of these, my favorite was How to Get Rich Renovating Old Houses. The book is mostly filled with photographs of a modest young couple at work on the various houses culminating with a photo of the two of them seated in white wicker chairs in the huge hallway of a Victorian mansion (proof that they had become "rich") which is hung with navy and white wallpaper decorated with lots of ferns. Whenever I look at an old house I remember their dual mottoes - "Always buy the worst house on the street" and "Quality doesn't necessarily cost more."

When Christin and Joe Kane contacted me about a house they are renovating to sell, I immediately thought of my friends in the Victorian mansion.

Christin, Joe and their two daughters moved to Lexington for Joe's job (City Planner and Preservation Planner.) Christin realized shortly after they moved that she didn't like being a full-time stay-at-home-mom and needed another outlet for work. They had renovated houses and enjoyed the process so it seemed a natural leap to make this not only hers, but Joe's profession as well. Last summer they decided to pursue renovation full time.

Joe quit his job and they went to work. Each works a half day while the other watches the children.

The renovation company they started restored a house on Goodrich Avenue, which sold to the first woman who walked through the door.

They built a web site (ownhistory.net) which advertises historic homes for sale around the world including palaces, bed and breakfasts and 733 Sunset, on which Joe and Christin are currently completing renovations.

They chose this house because they only work with houses 50 years old or older, they like the neighborhood, they respect a solid foundation, and because the last house they renovated required extensive exterior renovations (including replacing asbestos siding) they particularly liked the brick exterior.

I have a tendency to speak in absolutes myself and I try to focus on the positive whenever I write about a house for sale, so I generally always say nice things. This leaves me at a loss when I meet people like the Kanes and see a truly outstanding project like this house. I really do only write about houses that I deem worthy on some level but how do I make it clear that this house will be perfect? The Kanes take quality renovation to a level which, sadly, is rarely seen in Lexington.

The kitchen with its maple butcher-block countertops, professional stainless steel appliances, halogen lighting, wainscoting and breakfast bar is of a quality that would be appropriate in a million dollar home. Christin replaced the yellow plastic tile of the bathroom with pale dove gray and while tiles and porcelain rope border because as she said, "Some people think only large important houses deserve to renovated but we think all old houses deserve to be renovated well."


733 Sunset


4 bedrooms; 2 baths

2000 square feet

2 car garage

Contact Joe or Christin Kane 278-0603

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.