HYDE PARK — Those glossy home decor and architectural magazines certainly provide beautiful photos and helpful how-tos, but nothing beats a personal conversation with a home-owner who has lived through a renovation or made improvements, especially to a historic residence.
The annual Old Hyde Park Home Tour provides visitors just that opportunity from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday at six houses along S Oregon Avenue. Tickets are $20 advance; $25 at the start of the route, the corner of Morrison and Oregon avenues. Tour-goers will see modern additions such as outdoor kitchens, man caves and garages turned into guest houses. They can ask about everything from termites to where to buy period-appropriate hardware and light fixtures, or check out paint colors, wallpaper, window treatments and carpet.
Susan and Todd Heine believe the home they completely remodeled at 907 S Oregon Ave. started out as a Sears Kit model that was completed in 1912.
Patty and Jonathan Pedersen of 1501 Bayshore Blvd. invite guests to see a Tampa rarity in their circa-1913 home: a full basement. The home's three-way fireplace is also pretty cool.
Michael Ragsdale can talk at length about his circa-1918 wood floors and original Vermont green barrel tile roof at 918 S Oregon. The original giant cistern in back is the drain for the entire roof and had piping to the kitchen.
Chip Vogel bought the home at 914 S Oregon Ave. in 1979 for $20,000, despite the hole in the living room floor. Decades of improvements include a new floor plan to create a straight path through the renovated kitchen, new central heat and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical service and insulation. Smart idea: built-in armoires in both bedrooms.
Property records show that the bungalow was built in 1916, and according to Vogel, it has been connected to many "old Tampa" names as lawyers, realtors or investors, including: W. F. Inman, W.P. Culbreath, M.F. Gibbons and Dekle Investments.
Elizabeth and Rich Whiteley maximized every inch of space at 819 S Oregon Ave. by expanding into the attic to create a master bedroom, bath and office in the 1904 residence. They turned a backyard shed into a music studio and added a back porch, where you'll find them having dinner most nights.
"It's such a walkable tour, with incredible diversity in terms of their architectural and decorating styles," said Marylou Bailey, whose Craftsman-style bungalow is only a year old.
Marylou and husband Jim Bailey had lived in Hyde Park for more than two decades when they saw a builder's sign on a spec home at 912 S Oregon Ave.
"We had been discussing whether to look for a bigger home when we went for a drive and said, 'What the heck is that?,' " Marylou said. "A week later we had a contract on it. We were enamored with the idea of staying in the historical district without the incredible maintenance."
The family has worked to "olden up the place," she said, adding antique lighting and replacing every hinge and doorknob with oil-rubbed bronze and crystal as such a house would have had in the 1920s. Another example: the antique glass front door incorporated in the wall between the front room and the dining room came from the house the builder tore down.
Even with all that attention to detail, a new Christmas tradition was required. Since the modern home doesn't have a fireplace, the Baileys hide a special key for Santa under the doormat.