George and Andrea Holt’s first home was a double in Shaker Heights’ Fernway neighborhood. To save money, the newly married couple lived on one side and rented the other half. Their latest Shaker Heights find is a six-bedroom center hall colonial on Shaker Boulevard rescued from foreclosure. Since moving in, the Holts have completely gutted and remodeled the kitchen, installed new windows and floors and waterproofed the basement. The house has turned out to be a great fit for the Holts and their three children. This summer, you’ll find Andrea working on her next project: landscaping.
My dad owns about 40 different properties in the Akron-Canton area. I grew up watching this whole process of renovation happen.
I saw the process of taking on a property that no one else wants and turning it into something beautiful.
I wasn’t afraid of the old homes. A lot of people are like, “They’re so old. There must be a lot of upkeep.” That’s not necessarily true because they were built so well originally.
It was a home that appeared to have just gotten too much for the previous owners.
Once I found it, I fell in love, and it continued to call to me. I kept dreaming of this house.
This was the only house that took effort to get. I say that because a lot of homes in foreclosure, the bank is just ready to say, “Here you go.”
If your heart is set on a house, there’s a way to get it, and there’s a reason you’re being called to it.
If it reappears on the market, go back and continue to negotiate. We did that three times, and finally the third time they heard us and accepted our offer.
I could live in my kitchen. I could just curl up and go to sleep under the island and just live in that space all the time.
There’s a walkway going up to the front porch lined by four cherry trees, two on each side, that appear to be the original trees with the house. [The house] feels like, “Come on in. You’re OK here.”
What I love about Shaker is [its] diversity. It’s open. People look at you and say, “Hello,” and it doesn’t matter if you’re a different color or you speak a different language. Our family, who’s of mixed race, is welcomed everywhere we go.
It’s all in what you want and what you have an appetite for. I love it here.