By Angie Baldelomar
Richard and Brenda Rude returned to Oberlin in May. After three years of remodeling, they finally finished work on their house at 110 S. York Ave.
They received the house almost free from the city. It would have been more expensive for the city to tear it and a couple other houses down than to give them away, the Rudes were told.
“We just had to pay the back taxes, which were $58,” Mrs. Rude said, “and then $100 for a lawyer’s fee, and that’s it.”
The couple said they worked on the restoration on and off for three years.
“This place was a mess,” Mr. Rude said. “We did everything.”
They said they had to level the floor, which was sinking, put in new plumbing, then
clean the yard. One of the conditions of getting the house is that you have to clean up the yard and paint the outside of the house in the first year.
“We (hauled away) over 60 pickup-truck loads of branches,” Mr. Rude said.
Mrs. Rude said the house used to be a day-care center. A wall in the pantry still had the handprints and names of the little kids.
“We kept that as a history mark of the house,” she said.
They said retired contractor Wayne Goltl helped a lot in the remodeling. He hauled trash out in his truck, Mr. Rude said, and he also fixed the furnace.
Mr. Rude works part-time with Goltl Construction and also owns Sappa Valley Saw Mill on the former Elmer Zodrow property on West Commercial. He said he has built houses in the past and said he builds everything from dressers to entire houses. In his own house, he has built the television stand, kitchen cabinets, a dresser and nightstands.
“In fact, I built two brand new houses here in Oberlin years ago,” he said.
The Rudes said they lived in Oberlin from 1996 to 2003, when they moved to Denver. Many of the things Mr. Rude builds are sold through Craigslist and eBay, he said,
adding that they plan to participate in the U.S. 36 Treasure Hunt sale this fall. They hope to get the word out about his work, so that people can come to him with a project.
Mr. Rude said that he has gotten many things for free from his work remodeling houses. Instead of throwing them out, he took things he needed that could still work at home. He got the carpet and wood that are now part of his house from previous jobs, he said.
The couple said they plan to retire and settle in Oberlin for good now. “It’s peaceful and stress-free,” Mrs. Rude said. “We like it here.”
The story was published on page 9A of The Oberlin Herald‘s print edition on July 27, 2016.