Home restorations are costly for both time and money. Yet it is something Brad and Lorinda Yates love doing – so much so that they've been restoring homes for over 25 years.
Brad Yates, the president of the Colonial Restoration Group in downtown Waxahachie, stated that not many developers like to get into home restoration because of the investment behind it. Developer Chris Acker himself stated he is only in the business of building new homes – not restoring old ones – because of the extensive effort required.
"Those are big projects - $500,000 and up," Acker remarked. "At that point, those are basically falling apart."
Yet, the challenging aspect was something that completely enthralled Yates himself.
"The new build type of construction doesn't have a great deal of challenges," Yates explained. "The fact that many of the architectural pieces and trim cannot be purchased opens up a whole new area of creativity."
"I think of my projects as being like a '32 Ford going down the highway in August with windows up at 80 miles per hour," he remarked. "Although it looks and feels original, it has modern components to satisfy the conveniences we have become accustomed to having."
The Yates have a home featured on the 51st Annual Gingerbread Trail Tour of Homes this weekend, which features five historic properties that have been restored and updated by the homeowners that manage them. Three of those properties are alongside Kaufman Street – including the Yates' very own home at 626 Kaufman Street.
"We actually have tried to buy the house before," Yates stated. "I think what drew us was the way it sat on the lot and the size of the original lot. I have since replated the lot and built a new house on the side facing East Marvin."
Yates explained that the property was on the tour as an "in-progress" property two years ago, noting that it was technically livable – but he and his wife had a vision for so much more with the property.
"Basically the home is an old shell with an all-new interior," Yates explained. "I think the finished product compliments the original structure, yet brings it into this century."
Yates stated restorations depend on the needs of the home, whether it was structural or architectural. In the case of the 626 property, however, most of the restorations were interior and included insulated windows that retain original glass, foam insulation, heated floors and wireless smart home technology for music, security and lighting.
Yates remarked that each restoration job is different – just like each home itself is different.
"Restorations of this magnitude are quite expensive and many times are more than what the property is actually worth," Yates explained. "Many of these houses are close to being condemned or just in need of a lot of tender love, care and updates."
And Yates doesn't shortchange all of the efforts it takes to restore a home either. It's cost him thousands of dollars and even more hours.
But to him, it's all worth it.
"It is a lot of work to prepare for the Gingerbread Trail, but one that is well worth the effort when you get to meet the wonderful people that come out to tour the homes and take in what our city has to offer," Yates remarked. "I love taking a property and giving it life again. It makes me proud to know that this house is over 100 years old and now will have the opportunity to be around for many more years to come."
The Yates' property can be viewed on the 51st annual Gingerbread Tour of Homes on Saturday and Sunday.