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Adventures in My Tower Home

A few days ago, I celebrated one year in my cute little Tower District home! It has been quite the
year, with tons of learning lessons (the easy way and the hard way) and many, many fun memories,
dinner parties and remodeling projects. Although I’ve only lived there for one year, my journey to
today has been a long time in the making.

Nearly ten years ago, I went on a Fulton Mall tour with none other than Mr. Craig Scharton himself.
At that point in my life, although being a Fresno native, I had surely never ventured south of Shaw.
Oh, how times have changed! That tour opened my eyes to the beauty of my downtown, and how
much potential it had. Craig spoke with such passion that it could be something great. To be honest,
I’m not sure if I believed him at first. But as we all know now, he was right! Look at Fresno!

After high school, I said “deuces” to Fresno and ran away to Arizona. Like every Fresnan ever, I said I
was never coming back. Ha! 5 years later, here I was. I had landed a job at an architecture firm in
town and wanted to get involved. I joined a church group, and Downtown Academy was
recommended to me by a coworker. What a wonderful program that is! Downtown Academy
opened my eyes to what existed in my city that I had no idea existed. (See my blog post here on that experience).

Two years into apartment living, I saw the buyer’s market and started my search. Lots of lessons
learned there too, by the way. Quick tips: start early, see a loan officer if you don’t know what
you’re doing (me!), and don’t get emotionally attached! As an architectural designer with a tiny
budget, I knew my search would be difficult and limited to older neighborhoods, but that was
exactly the character I was looking for. I narrowed my search to Tower District and the Fresno high
area but it took nearly 9 months to find my home. I even got outbid the first time, only to find it
back on the market a week later. So, I snatched it up quick…and haven’t looked back!

My little tower house is so perfect for this stage of life! The neighborhood is adorable and so
diverse! I love the local businesses, small hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and dive bars. The thing I’ve
noticed about my neighborhood (and life) is that the presence of diversity brings freedom to be
diverse. I love how each house is so different. Some have been added onto, some haven’t. There
are craftsman, ranch, art deco, and bungalow styles all on one street! My initial goal was to not only
create space for myself but cultivate community with my neighbors—a continued work in progress!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my house that’s older than my grandmother. But it has its fair
share of surprises. Some people call it character, but I call it expensive. There always seems to be an
endless list of projects, and not enough money or time to do them all. There’s another blog post on
my first year of home ownership here, but here’s the rundown and some of my favorite remodeling stories.

1) Carpet success… – Before I even moved furniture in, I wanted to get rid of the carpet in the
laundry room. (Um, gross.) When I pulled up the corner, I found gold! Shortly thereafter, I
pulled up the carpet in my bedroom and found the same! Bye, nasty cheap carpet.
Perfect floors

Perfect Floors

2) …and carpet failures – One weekend, I decided to pull up the carpet in my dining room, and
after previous success, I thought this was going to be an easy-peasy weekend project. When
I found nasty black adhesive covering the entire floor, I quite literally put the carpet back
down and grabbed a glass of wine and watched How I Met Your Mother. *shrug* What are
you gonna do?

Nasty Floors

3) Time is money – I recently remodeled the kitchen and added a butler’s pantry to my kitchen
and absolutely love how it turned out. I’m thankful my dad is experienced in construction
and was able to help me (read: do all the work while I supervise and learn). But free labor
has a full-time job so it takes WAY longer than hiring someone. But hey, you win some you
lose some. It was a win in my book!

Pantry Before


Pantry After


Kitchen Before


Kitchen After

4) Leaky sinks – Here’s a fun fact. I love doing dishes. So, one night I’m randomly enjoying some
loud music and a doing bunch of dirty dishes only to feel water on my toes. I open the
cabinet and find water pouring out of the garbage disposal. After a moment of panic, water
was shut off and crisis averted. But that’s when it hit me that I was no longer just a tenant
but a landlord. An expensive repair later, the sink is fine and my toes stay dry. Phew!

Owning a home is a money pit, don’t be fooled! Everyone tells you that but it’s not real until it’s
yours. But it is the absolute best kind. My house has turned into a home, to be shared with friends,
family, and loved ones. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

How was your first house hunt? What did you learn in remodels and homeownership? Share below,
I’d love to hear from you!

About Stephanie Reed

Stephanie Reed is a Downtown Academy Class IV graduate. She is an avid reader, aspiring yogi, and lover of free time and new adventures. She is a perpetual student and Designer at Paul Halajian Architects, and loves studying communities, urban architecture and how people interact with their culture and neighborhood.