Rehab With a Heart
Close friends Michele Lawrence and Ramona Williams restored a 1950s Carthage Stone home back to its original glory and made lasting memories along the way.
Some friends grow closer by starting a book club or going on weekend getaways, but others simply rehab a house together. The latter was the case for friends of 32 years, Ramona Williams and Michele Lawrence, who dedicated eight months to restoring a 70-year-old Carthage Stone home in the Delaware neighborhood before selling the property to new and loving homeowners.
Before rolling up their sleeves and starting the hard work of restoration, Ramona and Michele spent a significant amount of time sourcing mid-century trim and fixtures to match the original architecture and charm of the 1950s bungalow. Never discouraged by the limited number of period pieces available, they'd take on the challenge of making what they were missing, like a striped awning for the home’s exterior. They also unearthed a vintage trellis in a forgotten corner of the attic and painted it turquoise.
One evening will always stand vivid in Ramona’s memory. She and Michele were out in the backyard power-washing the home’s exterior siding when they accidentally dropped the spray wand. The pressure from the wand uncovered a concrete paver. Curious, the two got dressed for the occasion and continued to power-wash the spot to see what was underneath the dirt and overgrown grass. “We put on raincoats, and really, it was like Lucy and Ethel once we got covered in mud,” Williams jokes. “The only thing left on my glasses was a windshield wiper swipe. I’ve actually had to throw away that raincoat because it was so stained with the mud.” What they found was a large patio on the southeast corner of the house that gets plenty of shade.
The friends can laugh about it now, but they also had a run-in with some poison ivy while trimming the overgrown shrubbery along the fence line, which required multiple rounds of medication.
Regardless, they also knew how to relax and enjoy the process. When things got too serious, they’d proclaim it a day, pull out some lawn chairs and enjoy a cool beverage on the patio they had unearthed. Even on late nights, they’d call each other and chat on their car rides home. And the spirit of the neighborhood also captured their hearts. “We enjoyed bike rides and walks around the area, found friends in the neighbors, got to know the mailman, Eli, and even fell for the lovable bassett hound next door, Quincy. It just felt like home,” Lawrence says.