Bringing the fixer upper on Cary Court back to life
Photos by AP imagery
Paul and Jenna Curtis were new to home renovation when they bought their fixer-upper on Cary Court. In fact, it was the TV show “First Time Flippers” that inspired their purchase.
“While watching the show, I said to Paul ‘we can do that!’” Jenna recounts. “Within minutes, Paul pulled 1208 Cary Court up on Zillow.”
They scheduled a showing for the next day. The house, which had been listed for almost a year, had bushes halfway covering the windows, but Jenna said she could tell it had good bones.
“As soon as I saw it, I loved the traditional look and more so, loved the area,” Jenna said.
“At this point, we weren’t engaged, hadn’t talked about buying houses and never looked at any other houses, so it was somewhat putting the cart before the horse.”
But Jenna and Paul could see the potential and believed 1208 Cary Court deserved to be brought back to life. A week later, they put in an offer, and it was accepted.
As proud new homeowners, it was time for Paul and Jenna to start planning the renovation.
“We anticipated remodeling in stages, but my parents convinced us to do it all at once while we weren’t living there and to avoid living through the mess,” Jenna said. “This is what established our motto for Cary Court — ‘Now’s the Time,’” Jenna said.
The process was much longer than the couple thought, and about twice as much as they budgeted, but the project also grew (Hence, “Now’s the Time.”). After a lot of deliberation, Paul and Jenna decided to take the house down to the studs, putting a lot of their own sweat and tears into the house.
“There wasn’t any aspect of the house untouched,” Jenna said.
Jenna’s favorite project was design, specifically planning the layout of the house to make it function for modern day living and the design of the kitchen and cabinetry. She worked with her dad, Mike Mitchell, with Masterpiece Remodeling & Restoration, to design every cabinet and vanity in the house.
“Every custom cabinet was designed together and very intentional,” she said. “During the design phase I knew exactly how each drawer, cabinet and counter space would be used. It was fun to work with him and bounce ideas off of each other to make the design truly unique.”
Projects like restoring the floors and keeping original trim took more time, but it was important to the couple to keep the house authentic and charming. They also went the extra mile to add character by custom-building antique furniture and light fixtures.
Jenna said the most rewarding project was the bay window. Although they had no intention of touching it, they found it was actually falling off the home when they ripped the overgrown bushes out of the front landscaping. They took this opportunity to add a copper roof, which was manufactured by Jenna’s dad.
“It is the focal point and the identifying feature of the house,” Jenna said. “It was so fun to see it go on and truly change the look of the house.”
Paul’s favorite project was refinishing all the brass hardware on the doors, a gratifying process of bringing the tarnished brass back to life. But when it came to the design, Paul says this was the most challenging.
“It was a puzzle adding the second bath upstairs. It literally came down to inches in order to make it work,” Paul said, clarifying that the design required moving walls just a matter of inches.
The couple made a goal that every aspect of the home would seem as though it had always been that way, even though the finished layout and design is far from the original.
“No one would ever suspect that the guest bathroom wasn’t part of the original house,” Paul said.
Although the remodel was extremely rewarding, Paul and Jenna said they likely would not do a remodel again, especially to the extent of their fixer-upper on Cary Court.
“After working on the house nights and weekends, it became a second job, which can be taxing over the course of a year,” Jenna said. “We often say, ‘innocence is bliss’ – had we known the amount of work that would have been involved we might not have started the project.”
But they don’t regret it.
“It was a fun experience, and we learned a lot about ourselves and each other,” Jenna said.
Paul and Jenna bought the home before they were engaged and are now married, with a newborn son, Clay. While they admit it is still very hard to believe they are moving after putting so much into the house, they both decided they wanted to live out in the country. Having both grown up in a more country setting, Paul and Jenna want their son to have the same childhood experiences.
The Curtises bought property during the pandemic and now with the hot real estate market, they decided “now’s the time” to sell.
“What had started as somewhat of a joke turned into so much more than we could have ever expected,” Jenna said.
About the Realtor
Ryan Rutman has been selling homes in Owensboro for almost 14 years. He was honored to help the Curtises through the process of selling their home on Cary Court and buying land to build their dream home.
“We would definitely recommend Ryan – and have already,” said Jenna Curtis. “He was not pushy and respected our decision not to sell in the Fall. We originally thought we would sell by owner, and we are very pleased that we decided to use him instead. With a newborn in the house, he was conscious of our family’s needs and schedule. He was quick and responsive when we decided to sell and helped us get top dollar!”
Ryan has grown his real estate team to include his wife, business partner, and fellow Realtor, Chivonne, as well as Realtors Stephanie Hardesty, Katie Drab and Craig Sutter. The Ryan Rutman Group is available to help both buyers and sellers navigate the current real estate market. For them, it’s not about the houses, but about the relationships formed along the way.