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Financial Advisor Takes On Labor Of Love

Rodden House Remodel

POSTED February 9, 2011 11:15 a.m.

It’s been said there are few things more challenging, more rife for disaster, than the remodel of a historic home. The risks are many, the financial undertaking staggering, and the frustration level epic.

As Kenneth Boone knows — to willfully walk headlong into that gale takes courage, strength, and most of all faith.

Faith that beneath the crumbling plaster, among the twisted and outdated electrical wiring, and hidden within the shell of an aging relic of a bygone era slumbers a glorious lady waiting for the right person to come along to restore her beauty.

For the Rodden house on North Third Avenue, Boone was the Prince Charming with the vision, the pocketbook, and most importantly, the faith to make it all happen.

Originally from the Riverbank/Modesto area, Boone, a financial advisor with 27 years of experience in the business who uses a Nobel-prize winning investment strategy, the decision to move to Oakdale was grounded in his desire to find a community that retained that comfortable, small-town feel without sacrificing conveniences.

“Oakdale has remained a community,” Boone said. “You get a little lost in Modesto.”

The house, which has been physically moved three times and the Queen Anne dome removed, is 100 years old and had been foreclosed on when Boone saw it. He’d been on the hunt for the right house — he’d loved the idea of a Victorian or a cottage-style home for his business — and when he saw the proud but neglected house, he knew the potential for something outstanding was in her bones.

The problem?

Well, nearly everything.

Boone, a man who specializes in evaluating risk and benefit, knew the task would be daunting to transform the house into what he needed.

But the challenge didn’t scare him.

In fact, he and his wife embraced it.

“We were excited about being in Oakdale,” Boone said. “We knew there was going to be a lot of work but the house comes with a lot of history and we spent a lot of time going through pictures of Victorians to find the look we wanted.”

The process to find the right house took two years and multiple local Realtors and once the house was found, it took countless hours of research to put together the vision for the house.

“You have to have a vision of it before you begin,” Boone said. “We were really excited.”

Interestingly enough, the actual design for the house came from Montgomery Wards or Sears because 100 years ago, you could not only purchase an appliance from the department store giants but you could also buy the plans for your home.

And of course, with anything like this the danger of getting in over your head is very real, so Boone kept careful note of the bottom line, keeping to the budget even when he was wooed by the idea of sealing the eaves and putting in decorative corbels as well as restoring the Victorian’s crown, the Queen Anne dome.

“Unfortunately, we’d have to remove the entire roof to restore it so that will have to wait,” he said. “But someday, I hope to put it back. It’s hard to understand why anyone would want to remove it in the first place.”

Hard to say, seeing as the decorative element was removed decades ago.

But even without the dome, the restoration is a show-stopper with attention paid to detail from the mahogany doors, flooring and matching paneling, the French Aubusson rugs, the warm, rich atmosphere created by authentic colors used in the Victorian era, and the overall lovely presentation that greets Boone’s clients when they walk through the door.

The total renovation cost came in at $100,000, shared Boone, adding, “The clients have been very impressed.”

And it’s not only the clients who’ve taken notice.

The house will be featured in the May edition of Cottages and Bungalows in Rob Schweitzer’s column Color Concepts. (www.historichousecolors.com)

“Restoring a house really is a labor of love,” Boone said. “But we’re very happy with the finished result. They did a great job keeping it the way we wanted.”

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