When Bryan Grosse remodeled the old “Queenie’s” house at Washington and Walnut Sts. last year, he learned a lesson. The historic house leaned, and Grosse jacked it up seven and a half inches to make it even.
“Sometimes they can be lowered instead,” Grosse said. “I figured that out after the fact.”
Grosse, who is remodeling his second home in town in as many years, believes the Marion housing market is ripe to “flip” houses for a profit, provided one is willing to do a lot of work.
He gutted the limestone, four-bedroom “Queenie’s” house, re-built the exterior walls, and he and his wife Lindsey said they came out “a little ahead” when they sold it in October.
Now they are taking all their lessons learned and applying to their next residential project: The five-bedroom house at the corner of Lawrence and Roosevelt Sts., which may have six bedrooms when they are finished.
Grosse’s company, Grosse Construction, has been doing contracting work in the area for years.
One of his clients was City Administrator Roger Holter, who stopped by the Lawrence house on Friday to take a tour.
“It’s amazing the work he is doing to save these historic houses,” Holter said, displaying cell phone images of the intricate windows Grosse saved from the house.
Grosse said he hung drywall at Holter’s home at Marion County Lake, which is consistent with the sort of jobs he has done during his contracting career.
However, remodeling the two houses and reselling them is a new and exciting endeavor in his career.
“Structurally the houses have been abandoned for so long they need some TLC to make them home again,” Grosse said.
Grosse, 34, grew up in Marion. He got into the business by following in the professional footsteps of his grandfather, Tom, who died in an excavating accident when Bryan was 12. As a young man, Grosse began working as a heavy equipment operator and was hired as an apprentice.
“I had a knack for it,” Grosse said.
Grosse worked in the evenings and his spare time on the “Queenie’s” house, named for a longtime homeowner who used to rent an upstairs room to railroad workers. Grosse is also finding time here and there to work on the Lawrence St. house. Though the house is white, he plans to paint it a blue-gray color with a green trim and accents.
“He’s a workaholic; he loves to work,” said his wife Lindsey, who plans to open a unique gift and resale shop next to the Grosse Construction office on N. Cedar St. To be called “Dusted Treasures,” the shop will feature some items discovered in the houses her husband bought and is remodeling, including mason jars that are more than a hundred years old.
Lindsey is working to take some of the jars and affix them to old metal wagon wheels she and Bryan unearthed from Bryan’s father’s rural property in order to make rustic chandeliers.
“Anything old and rustic that takes a lot of cleaning up, like jars and reclaimed wood,” Lindsey said. “I enjoy it. It’s also a stress-reliever.”
Lindsey sometimes finds herself asking her husband to do more remodeling work at her shop, but he’s committed to his contracting jobs and working on the Lawrence house. Lindsey understands. She is on board with the flipping projects.
“There’s definitely good money to be made if you want to work your ass off and never be home,” she said.