- In 2019, Claire Zinecker purchased a barren piece of land with no immediate plans for development.
- After finding the idyllic 124-year-old home on Facebook Marketplace, her plans quickly changed.
- See how she and her partner moved a crumbling home and restored its classic charm.
In January 2019, interior designer Claire Zinecker purchased a 5.3-acre property in Georgetown, Texas, a small town 40 miles from Austin.
Mr. Zinecker, 36, said he had hoped to eventually build a home on undeveloped land, but was intimidated by the scale of the project.
“The land was completely deserted and I wasn’t going to do anything with it for a while,” she told Insider. “There was no electricity, no water, no septic tank.” At the time, she said, the costs associated with developing the land felt financially too great.
But a few months after the purchase, Zinecker’s outlook changed.
In July 2019, her aunt showed her a Facebook Marketplace listing for a 124-year-old three-bedroom, two-bathroom home on East Sixth Street, about a nine-minute drive from Austin’s downtown area. Ta.
“I fell in love at first sight,” she said. “My aunt and I have always loved old and antique things.”
Zinecker wasted no time and made an appointment to see the house the next day. By the end of the day, the house was hers for just $15,000. However, she had one pretty big condition. That meant she had to move it to her own land.
A team of five to 10 people dismantled the house and prepared it for the trip, then hoisted the pieces and trucked them 34 miles to the Georgetown site. Cost: $34,000.
Then the labor of love began. Over the next four years, it took her and her partner Adam Mink, 34, a real estate agent and self-taught construction worker, a further $100,000 to completely renovate her home to make it livable. Ta.
The restoration of the historic building has been featured in Country Living Magazine and on the Magnolia Network TV show “In With the Old.” Zinecker also documented the process on his website and Instagram.
See how a couple transformed a crumbling house and barren land into a country getaway.
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Like many neighborhoods in Austin, a surge in real estate development has transformed East 6th Street, a previously black and Latino neighborhood. Many of the old homes and businesses that once lined this block have been replaced by restaurants and music venues.
Ida needed to be relocated because it was one of the few remaining single-family homes on the block, Zinecker said.
“East Fifth Avenue in Austin is slowly changing,” she says. “Most of the houses are gone.”
“The house was next to the brewery and across the street from the bar,” she added. “I believe the developer had plans to build apartment complexes and retail on the land.”
Zinecker and her partner spent more than $100,000 renovating their home. They made some mistakes throughout the process, including hiring the wrong contractor and overpaying for services, but Ida is their dream home.
They were able to update the home while preserving its original charming features. This is a decision I hope more home remodelers consider.
“There’s a lot of developer-centric thinking going on right now,” Zinecker said. “So many people are buying old houses, tearing them down, and building new boxes that don’t last long.”
“I hope people wake up and realize that not only is it wasteful, but it’s very bad for the environment,” she added. “We hope people will learn how to take advantage of existing structures and turn them into their homes.”